[Seaside] Seaside vs. Traditional

Philippe Marschall philippe.marschall at gmail.com
Sat Mar 29 15:28:28 UTC 2008

2008/3/29, Rob Rothwell <r.j.rothwell at gmail.com>:
> Hello...
> I would like explore a little further the post "Seaside vs. Traditional" at
> http://www.lukas-renggli.ch/blog? because:
>  1. I was a sound bite! ("As a new Smalltalker, I couldn't understand
> Seaside.") Kind of embarrassing, huh?!
>  2. This post did not fully help me understand the source of my inabilities!
> Even more embarrassing!
> The two basic statements I am [mostly] referencing are:
>  1.  I've experienced this many times while giving dozens of tutorials on
> Seaside. There are always some people that have a very hard time to get
> their head around Seaside, mostly because they think in terms of TRADITIONAL
> WEB FRAMEWORKS (my emphasis).
> 2.  On the other hand, Seaside is AMAZINGLY SIMPLE (my emphasis) for people
> without MUCH (my emphasis) prior web development experience.
>  Well, unfortunately, I have NO prior web development experience.  And I
> mean NONE.  Look at me, I have copied and pasted from another site and now
> have indents (likely due to HTML that I don't understand) that I can't even
> get rid of in the Gmail editor!
> Anyway, I completely skipped that part of the 21st century, much to my
> current dismay.  I have Assembly Language, FORTRAN, and Visual Basic
> experience.  I am the classic [boring] example of "Why does the world seem
> inside out in Smalltalk!"
> Nonetheless, I became enchanted by "a better way," and have stuck with my
> attempts to learn Smalltalk for nearly four years, most of which has been
> spent "building images" with each new Squeak release and staring at an
> "empty browser."
> I have a degree in Physics, I have been "programming" since I was 11, and I
> was a U.S. Army Airborne Ranger Medic.
> Smalltalk has been the first thing in my life that was ever hard for me!
> So...fun! But...frustrating, because I wanted to get real WORK done with it,
> and kept going back to obviously "lesser ways" just to get something done.
> Ok. Enough background. The point I am trying to make is that I tried. I
> googled. I would meet a couple of guys once a month or so that CAN
> Smalltalk. Seaside made sense...when they were doing it! Then, I went back
> to the empty browser.
> My impression is still that you need to have a certain level of
> accomplishment in Smalltalk itself before the...elegance...of the framework
> as at your disposal. This isn't a bad thing, although it does leave me
> feeling a little incapable, but, hey--the number of objects at your command
> when you open a Squeak image for the first time are simply overwhelming. And
> "overwhelmed" would be how I would describe my experience with Seaside to
> be, because it "looks so easy," so why can't I figure it out? Which,
> coincidentally, is EXACTLY how I feel watching an experienced Smalltalker do
> So, I agree with you. Seaside IS harder for those with a "traditional"
> background. But I think traditional includes standard static language
> programming to produce basic client applications for typical operating
> systems. And from THAT point of view, I feel like I don't understand web
> programming ENOUGH to even lay things out on the screen where I want them to
> be, or get images into my application (yes, basic stuff like that).
> And so then there is Aida as well, which WAS easier coming from a
> "traditional" (my definition) background.
> Now, I do not want to be thwarted so easily and will surely continue to try
> to understand Seaside because I think that will help me continue to
> understand Smalltalk.
> But WHY was Aida easier for me? Is it because it is "less powerful?" "More
> procedural?" Because I CAN lay things out on the screen quite easily "the
> wrong way" with tables? Is it more "concrete?" These are all "negative"
> phrases as if I should assume somehow that Seaside has the upper hand in
> some way I do not understand.
> I obviously don't have the answers! I didn't even know Aida existed until
> Janko posted his benchmarks on the Cincom site and because I was struggling
> with Seaside I gave it a shot. I DO think that after spending some time with
> Aida, I will be able to understand Seaside better, which is MOST
> interesting, because somewhere in that thought lies the gap between my own
> process capability (my ability to simply use Smalltalk) and the capability
> demanded by the system (Seaside, Aida, or any set of classes for that
> matter), which is the classic gap inherent in any system implementation.
> Anyway, if I can figure this out better, I may be able to help others
> succeed where I have struggled, because I am obviously missing something.

Yes that would certainly be helpful especially if you could point more
concretely out what troubles you about Seaside besides missing
layouts. I know this can be hard, sometimes you simply like or don't
like something and can't exactly point out why.


> In the meantime, keep up the good work! I am intrigued by the "meta"
> abilities of your solutions with both Seaside and Magritte and their
> apparent ability to act as an elegantly abstract layer for Content--which
> could be useful in appropriately complex situations. Unfortunately, I don't
> think I'm ready yet. Maybe someday...when I grow up, and can handle that
> level of abstraction!
> I hope this doesn't sound like the beginning of another "Us vs. Them" post.
> I've had enough of that with LPGL vs. MIT! I just want to understand...what
> I don't understand!
> Anyone going to the Smalltalk Solutions conference? I am trying to position
> myself to go...maybe in the shear presence of mastery I can pick up on some
> of the stuff I am missing!
> Rob

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