[Seaside] thoughts on Seaside 3.0

Avi Bryant avi at dabbledb.com
Mon Jul 14 17:29:28 UTC 2008

On Mon, Jul 14, 2008 at 10:10 AM, Jared Hirsch <jaredhirsch at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Consider that RoR was written by a guy who works with graphic designers all day; he was aware of this fundamental web dichotomy. I think that most smalltalkers come from a very different background (traditional non-web programming), with a very different set of assumptions. I'm not attacking or judging these differences, only pointing out that critically analyzing them is crucial if seaside is going to be useful in commercial web development. Right now, it's not.

Regardless of where most Smalltalkers come from, the developers of
Seaside all come from a background of professional web development,
and learned web development first and Smalltalk second.  So whatever
else you want to attribute this to, a lack of experience with the web
isn't it.

For what it's worth: I was primarily responsible for Seaside's move
away from templates towards programmatic HTML generation, and I work
in Seaside with a professional web designer of exactly the stripe you
describe, every day.

In practice, the way it breaks down is this: the web designer hand
codes the HTML, along with the CSS, in a mockup.  He is responsible
for the specification, essentially, of what HTML will be generated,
and he cares, as you explain very well, about the HTML being

I translate this to programmatic generation, refactoring as I go - I
am responsible for implementing abstractions that match his HTML.
Very occasionally, I will change his HTML in order to make *my* code
more beautiful, ie, to make the abstractions simpler.  But this is

The longer we work on the same project, the faster this translation
process is: a new mockup for a different page may have very different
content and CSS, but the same basic patterns will appear in the HTML,
and I can reuse the abstractions I already built.

The CSS is also iterated much, much more frequently than the HTML: he
might commit tweaks to the CSS several times a day, but is unlikely to
ask me to make a modification to the HTML more than once a week.

Maybe this workflow isn't for everyone, but it may help you to
understand where Seaside comes from: not from a lack of understanding
or respect for the web designer's craft, but just from a different
approach to the problem of coordinating these two very important
aspects of web development.


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