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Welcome to my blog, which was once a mailing list of the same name and is still generated by mail. Please reply via the "comment" links.

Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

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Lepl parser for Python.

Colorless Green.

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SVG experiment.

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Data access via web services.

Cache rewrite.

Extending OpenSSH.

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© 2006-2015 Andrew Cooke (site) / post authors (content).

Rapid, Full Stack, Web Dev

From: "andrew cooke" <andrew@...>

Date: Sun, 8 Apr 2007 23:07:49 -0400 (CLT)

I had a nice idea for a dynamic web site today.  Since I never have enough
free time I wondered if there was a way of getting something done very
quickly.  So I looked at PHP.  In fact I looked at it a few days ago and
the first example in the tutorial was something like
  if (somefunction(....) != FALSE)
which I took to be bad programming until I started getting deeper into the
docs and realised the function was returning a whole pile of different
types which, together with implicit conversion, made such code necessary. 
I should have given up then.  Instead I spent a long time trying to find a
decent MVC library (the magic search term is "front controller" and
apparently the whole idea is somewhat radical for PHP), finally went with
Zend, and then couldn't get their example to work.

Zend - http://framework.zend.com

I decided to sit down an think more carefully.  The idea needs good
database integration and would benefit from something like Prolog (ie
support for Horn clauses).  Erlang seemed like it might be a good fit (it
has Prolog somewhere in its pedgiree, right?) but the database is kind of
odd, and while I found a web server (Yaws) I'd need to write my own MVC
stuff.  And teh docs weren't that great.

Yaws - http://yaws.hyber.org/

So I decided to look at Haskell again, and was pretty surprised by the
amount of work that's happening there.  HAppS looks like it could be
absolutely amazing, but it also kooks kind of terrifying - while the end
result might be only 100 lines of code, I think I would have written and
deleted many more before understanding what I was doing.

HAppS - http://happs.org/HAppS/README.html

By this point I came across the search term "full stack" which was
relevant - I wanted database integration and templating and everything
inbetween.  And that forced me to look at Ruby on Rails.  I was tempted,
but the documentation isn't that great (the "poignant" guide is full of
crap and *extremely* frustrating if you just want to learn something

Ruby on Rails - http://www.rubyonrails.org/

Then I found Django.  Maybe I am being way too optimistic, but it really
seemed to hit the spot.  What gave me such a good impression was that the
documentation answered exactly the questions I had been asking.  The
tutorial is crystal clear (the DB config, which was killing me with Zend,
looks to be trivial) and chapter 3 of the (free online draft) Django Book
explained exactly what I needed to know about decoupling at the

Django - http://www.djangoproject.com/
Tutorial - http://www.djangoproject.com/documentation/tutorial01/
Book - http://www.djangobook.com/en/beta/

OK, I've not tried it yet, but it *looks* like the best option out there. 
And no new language to learn (I'm getting old...)

One thing I was worried about was popularity.  I went to Google groups to
compare the mailing list (GG isn't beta any more and has some nice
features - I have a feeling that happened a while back, but I just "really
noticed" today) volumes.  Django's is half that of Rails, which surprised
me (I was expecting 1/10 the size).

Well, we'll see.  But if this lets me throw something together in a few
hour's work I'll be more than a little happy.  ;o)


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