[Seaside] newbie questions

Micheal Cooper cooper.me at gmail.com
Mon Dec 17 08:35:46 UTC 2007

I have been looking for a language and a web application framework to redo
the db app that I manage. I am also looking or a language and platform to
really grow into and call my home.

The app I maintain was constructed with ERW,  by Sebastiano Vigna, which is
a very early PHP framework the real value of which is in the Java database
optimization tool ERTool. ERW is not viable because of the PHP, but ERTool
is really neat, and Vigna is a genius. However, my predecessor, the creator
of this app, had to do some big-time hacking to get Japanese working on it,
and he left before everything was done. The result is that now the app
itself is spaghetti PHP, and it is getting harder and harder to get through
the day without wishing death on the db.

I have narrowed down my choices to Seaside and Django. I know little Python
and less Smalltalk, but I am itching to get away from PHP and Perl. I love
the philosophies of both projects, so I am just trying to decide based on
which meets the needs of my job.

All of my work must be bilingual Japanese and English, and while I know that
Oshima-san has created a multilingual Squeak, I am hesitant to invest time
in a framework that relies on  a programming language the i18n of which is
tacked on. I had enough of that with PHP.

Is anyone using Seaside with multibyte characters?

I also wonder about document generation. Is there  a PDF or
OpenOffice.orgdocument generator that can be used with Seaside apps?
My app is a college
administration and info management system, and I have to dynamically produce
printable documents in both English and Japanese. In fact, everything in the
system has to switch between J and E.

Relational databases: I have a database with lots of data in it, and I need
to accommodate that relational DB. Avi has said in several interviews that
he doesn't like relational db's, so does that mean that Seaside doesn't work
well with them? I can't imagine that would be the case, since he wrote
DabbleDB. With Django, relational db's are the main thing, and you can
either define everything in Python and generate the DB or work backward from
an SQL data definition file and generate the Django webapp.

Lastly, I wonder why I couldn't get Seaside to work this morning on my Tiger
OS 10.4 machine. I downloaded the Mac dev package by Cassou and followed the
directions, but when I try to open Seaside, I get a "a primitive has failed"
error. I get the same when I try to open the regular Squeak 3.9 image and
then try to install Seaside through SqueakMap or Universe when it tries
"Installing DynamicBindings version 2.7" after I click "Install Selections".
I can't even figure out how to copy and paste the error messages into this

I was really interested in the way that Avi talked about how the VM allows
the app to be more portable, but it seems that, from my experiences so far,
that is not the case.

Technically, from what I have read and heard on podcast interviews, I am
inclined to choose Squeak/Seaside, but the lack of documentation and
brainshare is daunting. Django is really taking off, and it is a
get-things-done kinda framework, which also appeals to me. While Seaside
sounds like geek heaven, my first impression is that, with the extensive
Python libraries out there, Django might be a more practical and productive

But when I think about joining a community, I am pulled to Seaside. Lack of
docs is a big drawback, but I am pretty good at documentation and writing,
so I might be of more help to Seaside as a documentation-writing,
evangelizing community member, if I can ever get over this learning curve.

Miyazaki, Japan (GMT+9, no DST)
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