[Seaside] Should I become a Seasider?

Norbert Hartl norbert at hartl.name
Sat Apr 9 09:09:02 UTC 2011

Hi Ralph,

there is little to add for me. The ones that wrote before me did a pretty decent job. I just want to add one dimension on decision making. You can read between the lines in most of the responses written so far. There is some distinction in what you call "web development". Nowadays I separate web development in "web presentation" and "web application". The difference I like to make is where the focus in development lies. 

A solution for a "web presentation" site focusses mainly on the design. Here you will have a designer that designs "pages" in photoshop. A common way is to create templates that bring the photoshop design to the web. You concentrate on pages and usually you need a lot of markup in order to come close to the photoshop design. Seaside does not fit perfectly into this scenario. But I would assume that a lot of your customers just want a "web presentation". 

A "web application" focusses more on the flow of actions between the pages. Thus the individual components a page is made of become more important. This is the area where seaside excels. You can realize rather complex application easily. On the other hand it complicates the handling of CSS. In a template scenario web designers often use things like absolute positioning and such to make the web page look closer to the photoshop design. In a component based scenario CSS should work more independent of the surrounding markup. I think this way will become more popular but a lot of web designers have problems in getting it right.

So to me the decision is where you are aiming at. If you don't have that much customers and therefor cannot chose which one you take it seems possible there will be a lot of customers of the "presentation" type. Taking seaside for this kind of development could cause you more pain than it gives you benefit. If you like to have customers from the "application" type than seaside can be a lot of fun. The decision to aim in that direction is indeed feasible. There are not that many web developing companies that are capable of doing complex web apps. And in my opinion this will grow. 
I don't know what avi said and why javascript lowers the need for seaside. But in my opinion you can focus on the server in a relaxed fashion as long as the majority of browsers support ECMAScript-262 and not ECMAScript 5. One reason for this is that javascript does not have any security model and HTML has only cross domain security. So at the minimum you realize security issues over the server, etc.

hope that helps,


Am 08.04.2011 um 23:53 schrieb Ralph Boland:

> This post is about making a living as a web developer using Seaside.
> I am an unemployed software developer in Calgary (1,000,000 people),
> Alberta, Canada.
> I have used Squeak for years but I have found no Smalltalk work in Calgary
> and in fact know of only one small company in Calgary that uses Smalltalk.
> I know very little about Seaside.  My impression is that websites
> developed using
> Seaside are somewhat slower than with other web development tools and that
> Seaside uses more memory (I assume on the server side) than other web
> development tools.  Nevertheless there are web developers using
> Seaside successfully.
> Are these impressions correct?
> What I am wondering is should I learn Seaside and then attempt to sell my web
> development services in Calgary?  My impression is that:
> 1)  No one in Calgary has ever heard of Seaside so selling my services
> would be difficult.
> 2)  Since I should be able to develop web sites faster using Seaside I
> should be able to
>     offer my services at a discount and hopefully be able to find
> business that way.  But
>     since no one but myself (at least locally) would be able to
> maintain the web sites,
>     potential customers are going to be very shy.
> Are these impressions correct?
> Lets assume I decide to become a web developer (something I know
> almost nothing about)
> using Seaside as my competitive edge. To my knowledge I would be the
> only Seaside
> web developer in Calgary.
> 1)  How long (starting basically from scratch) is it going to take
> before I am competent;
>     or at least competent enough to seek clients?  Assume I am a
> competent Squeak developer.
> 2)  Which version(s) of Smalltalk should I use?
>     I know Squeak and have used Visualworks in the distant past.
> 3)  How screwed will my clients be if my ticker stops unexpectedly.
> Can Seaside developers
>     from outside Calgary pick up the slack for my hypothetical clients?
> 4)  Is there any areas within the web development would that I should
> concentrate on or avoid?
> 5)  Is there any additional software/hardware that I would need other than my
>     home computer (running Ubuntu) and Squeak/Seaside?
>     My resources for investments is very limited.
> Are there other questions that I should have asked?
> Starting a business is generally a tough deal so please don't butter me up
> with glowing reviews of Seaside.
> Regards,
> Ralph Boland
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