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CODE4LIB  September 2005

CODE4LIB September 2005

Subject:

Re: webapp development speed

From:

Jeremy Dunck <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Jeremy Dunck <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 26 Sep 2005 14:43:14 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (65 lines)

On 9/26/05, Daniel Chudnov <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Maybe more importantly, it seems like these new tools are being optimized
> for web2.0-style data publishing concurrent with and sometimes seamlessly
> alongside for-human interfaces. Though that kind of thing is fairly
> easily backported to 2002-03-era web frameworks it seems radically simpler
> in the 2004-05 ones.

Tangentially, ajaxian connection profiles mean a different kind of
scalability is needed in web servers. This has a reasonable
discussion:
http://www.mortbay.com/MB/log/gregw/?permalink=Jetty6Continuations.html

Put another way, rediculously small overheads per connection are
needed, and heavy-weight web servers need attention in this area.


> Has anybody out there jumped on one of these new toolkits?

I've played with both Django and Rails, and am a .Net developer by day.

>If so, am I
> just being distracted by the shinyness of the new stuff?

Yes and no. ASP.Net has a nice design/state management system, but
does not include an ORM, unless you count viewstate + DataSet binding,
which I definitely do not. ASP.Net has the honking framework class
library. It has legions of developers, and Google has the answer to
all your questions. It also largely has static typing, which I
consider a large negative (discounting Iron Python, since basically
none of the .Net legions use it).

I think that Rails and Django are technically at least as good as
ASP.Net, and outside of corp-IT world have the advantage of gratis as
well as good community. Inside corp-IT, MS crushes these puny
frameworks. ;-) Corps suffer from risk aversion, which means they
miss the best of the good stuff. Ah, well, we have new startups
coming.

Of course, it's a venn diagram with some common core functionality,
and each framework has distinct neat features. Which ones are most
important? I think that depends what your app does.

Greenspun's Panda Ch. 10 and 11 outline the distinctions well. Django
is a CMS first. Rails is an app platform first. ASP.Net is a kitchen
sink with squeaky knobs. ;-)

>Or are you
> seeing the kind of development-time speedups these things (and the fawning
> hype surrounding them) promise?

You mean like "10x more productive"? Well, just an ORM will go a long
way to saving time, and model-from-DB or DB-from-model are both nice
approaches. And the culture of unit testing is also a force
multiplier. But see here for a strong rebuttal:
http://fishbowl.pastiche.org/2005/03/11/catching_a_silver_bullet

> Also, as I don't pay much attention to
> the .NET stack and tools like coldfusion, is it possible that my Free
> Software blinders have me believing these "new developments" are just
> catching up to where proprietary toolkits have been for years?

Living on soft money will do that to you. ;-) Actually, you can do
ASP.Net for free (assuming you already have IIS); it's just that the
IDE-with-codegen mindset is so strong in MS-land that no one bothers
with the command-line compiler.

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