Jeremy Zawodny with an interesting post about the return of client side web programming. I did my diploma with heavy use of DHTML in 1997. I wanted to do it cross-platform and I stopped to support anything but Internet Explorer after my doctor told me I should try to back-off from whatever I currently do. It wasn’t just a nightmare – it was practically impossible to do and you could become seriously sick trying.
Many years have passed and things look different. The support of DHTML inside the browsers is much better – but that obviously did not really help too much: advanced technical concepts still require a lot of skill to be developed.
Finally Frontier has been released as open source package:
This is a fresh start for the Frontier kernel, the technology under Manila and Radio UserLand, and in the future, possibly many more useful system and network applications. We’re releasing the code under the GPL, the rationale for this is explained in the FAQ and in the audio blog post I recorded about this event.
Frontier is a marvelous concept for a scripting application because everything is integrated in one application: scripts, database, GUI. It is perfectly suited for experimentation and it contains a very easy to learn scripting language (here is another documentation). And because it is open source now it may resurrect the interest of creative developers to enhance the system on a very low level.
If you are curious you could read the “Golden Rules for Frontier and Radio Userland” piece from March 2001. (You need to skip the Parts about Manila. Also mainResponder.root is not yet available – so the web server is there – but there is no logic yet that processes an HTTP request).
Potentially a future version of Frontier will make it possible to develop with scripting languages inside this application.term
I am bootstrapping: The start page of my weblog now renders through a homemade skinning system based on Zope and Page Templates. This means I do not design this pages with the template files Tinderbox uses for the HTML export. For example here is the template of the current start page:
There is still a lot of work to do, but the goal is to use the Tinderbox templates only to define an absolute minimum. I need to get used to this abstraction layer for a while before moving on with the next level: getting rid of the HTML export and FTP upload altogether and importing the Tinderbox file into a database directly.
The ^children(…)^ command will then be replaced with some kind of method that pulls results from a SQL query. I may even consider to have two different Tinderbox files for one weblog: one to author the actual content and the other to design the presentation logic and the hierarchy.
The idea behind this is a) to be much more flexible about the way content is presented, b) to hide the publishing process completely in the background (just save to update) and – most importantly – c) to organize notes and articles in Tinderbox fairly independently from the way it is presented. It can be imagined like working on a creative wiki-style stack of notes here while presenting a weblog and article collections with options for user interactions (subscriptions, comments, RSS) there.
It is actually the first time that I blog about Ruby. I had a look at Ruby on Rails – a web application framework based on the Ruby scripting language. Ruby appears to be a very well designed scripting language (see here) for anyone who loves “quick but not dirty” programming.
Ruby is very successful in Japan, where it has already taken over Python in popularity (see here). Quote: “Ruby puts the fun back into programming.”
Dave Winer —former president of UserLand— convinced UserLand to release the Frontier kernel as open source. Manila, Radio and all web applications built upon that kernel will remain commercial software.
I really hope this will turn out to be a smart move for UserLand. I am using Frontier since 1996 and I have learned a lot from it. It is an application with such a high integration (database, server, scripting interpreter and graphical development environment in one integrated application), that for some reasons it is really a joy to develop web applications with it.
I am looking forward to see what this open source release will look like and if it is possible to integrate it with my own ideas again. There was a rich developer community alive back before Frontier went commercial that has more or less vanished from the stage. I wonder if that will come to life again.
This is a fully featured RSS aggregator with parsing included. It’s scalable to very high numbers of feeds and can be used in multi-client environment through web using Twisted with a little code on top of Nevow, or can easily be integrated inside every app which uses some of the toolkits supported by Twisted.
[via Der Schockwellenreiter]