[Seaside] Starting out

Tony Giaccone tony at giaccone.org
Thu Dec 18 00:56:44 UTC 2008


I read your posting and I had to laugh a little.  I work full time  
during the day building web based applications in Java with a  
relational database supporting the storage and delivery of data. I  
work in about as corporate and conservative an environment that you  
could imagine. Security is key, reducing risk is key, standards are key.

Our management believes that using standard industry accepted  
technology keeps them safe, and secure and minimizes expenses.

We use JBOSS as our application server. "Why?" you ask.  Because we  
can get a support contract from Red Hat for it. Never mind what we do  
would more than adequately be supported by Tomcat, but we take the  
safe route with corporate support.

We're probably a bit extreme, but not as bad as some of the other  
places, I've worked.

The possibility of bringing in Seaside and Smalltalk in our  
environment, is about zero. Not for any of the reasons you mention.   
Professionally I think what seaside brings to the table could easily  
be a huge advantage in many of our smaller projects. Quick rapid  
prototyping of a sophisticated application in with a development  
environment that, mostly, works with you  not against you (ask me  
about my frustrations with eclipse and maven sometime).

Where's the support contract? Where's the industry acceptance? Where  
can I hire 5 experienced Seaside developers in the next week.  How do  
I scale a Seaside application? How do I manage multiple instances of  
Seaside integrated with BigIP? Where are the articles in Information  
Week about successful deployments with Seaside?  All of those are  
barriers to entry for Seaside in Corporate America.

Seaside does not stand in your way of getting work done. It may not  
give you all the most sophisticated widgets and doo dahs' to ease your  
development tasks, but I am extremely certain that it will not get in  
the way of doing the work you need to do, and that once you've built  
up a library of your own gadgets, you'd be able to go from  
requirements to finished web sites  very quickly.

But I think the biggest issue is that currently you have to be  
motivated, good at what you do, and a step above the average  
programmer in CA to see the advantages of Seaside, and be successful  
with it.  Seaside at this point is not visible enough to pass the  
Corporate America Risk test. (Are my peers using it? Have I read  
enough about it? Am I risking my career by choosing it?).

The current situation with WebDevelopment is a Big Ball of Mud.  
There's a thousand different possible solutions, all in varying states  
of sophistication. In order to do real sophisticated web development  
you need to know a bunch of different technologies, HTML, JavaScript,  
XML, SOAP, CSS, AJAX, are probably the basics, but then you can go way  
beyond that as well.  For example start looking at the differences in  
the implementation of the HTTP and CSS specs by each browser, and how  
IE differens from Firefox. (oy vey).

I can almost certainly guarantee that if you're building web pages  
with Oracle Forms, then Seaside is not in the near future, if ever,   
going to be a suitable replacement for what you have.  in the same way  
that you'll not likely replaces Visual Basic programs with XWindows/C+ 
+ programs.  Oracle Forms glosses over many of the grungy details,  
which you don't want to know about and probably don't care to know  

Enjoy Seaside and understand that it has strengths and weaknesses.  If  
you want to really understand the HTTP Protocol, the details of how  
data moves back and forth between your web browser and your  
application, you can discover that with Seaside. If you want to just  
build something cool and avoid most of that you can do that too with  
Seaside, but you won't get the hand holding that Orcacle can provide  
because they have 1000's of your dollars in licensing fees and product  

Now, having said all that, I know there are companies that support  
seaside, I know that there are people using seaside to develop  
sophisticated applications used by the general public. I know that  
some folks are making a living doing seaside development work. It's  
all possible, but you have to work in a very open environment and not  
the typical corporate american IT world to live life on that edge.

Tony Giaccone

On Dec 17, 2008, at 2:14 PM, Michael Atkisson wrote:

> Imagine you are a business programmer, although you have heard of this
> exciting new environment called Seaside.
> You would like to create forms that operate like the ones you do at  
> work
> such as in Oracle Forms.  On further investigation, perhaps you manage
> to make it through the tutorials. But when you go to do something  
> real,
> behold you discover that some of the most basic components such
> displaying a datagrid from rows in a table are missing.  Something  
> that
> you probablydo on at least 50% of your forms in Oracle
> Next you read the mailing list to see if anyone has a solution to the
> problem. You discover that some people are decidely against putting
> anything like that in the core because of their purist inclinations.
> Others are simply say to go learn one of the javascript libraries
> and do it that way. This is also a dilema as you don't know which one
> would be good and this stuff isn't all that understandable to you.
> You don't know much about html, javascript, css, ajax, etc. and you
> probably don't want to spend a year figuring it all out.
> All you want to do is solve problems like the ones you have at work in
> as straightforward a way as possible.
> How much further do you think that person is likely to go?
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