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From Tony Collen <colle...@umn.edu>
Subject Re: Cocoon: Language Babel -or- Database Development Platform ?
Date Wed, 28 Apr 2004 16:08:30 GMT
Comments inline...

Derek Hohls wrote:

... [snip] ...

> But many still spoke up, saying that Cocoon was but one Framework among
> many and so insufficient on its own to deliver Real Applications.  And
> so a great Babel of other languages and tools were taken up and other
> approaches, based on the Old Ways of Templating Languages (up to now,
> considered a heresy amongst the Cocoooners), were incorporated.  Few now
> understood the Great Cocoon Universe and many were confused.   And the
> Users wondered why Developers spent all their time learning these many
> and arcane Ways and why applications took so long to deliver... 

Hmm, as far as real applications go, see:

http://wiki.cocoondev.org/Wiki.jsp?page=Testimonials

I'm sure Ugo, as well as other people on the lists can relate some real-world success stories
about 
using Cocoon.

> OK - aside from the rather poor parallel to the original, I guess I am
> beginning to be concerned about how much is seemingly required to get
> going and __keep__ going with Cocoon-centred apps.  

Getting up to speed with Flowscript took maybe a week for me.  YMMV, but it's not all that

complicated.  Have you read http://wiki.cocoondev.org/Wiki.jsp?page=GettingStartedWithFlow
?

... [snip] ...

> I am now at the point where I am faced with the possibility to design
> and deliver a large, complex, long-term, database application via a web
> front-end (as opposed to a traditional client-server front end, written
> in a RAD GUI, which is what I have done up to now).  I believe that a
> web-based solution is the correct long-term approach, even if some of
> the technology seems a little clunky right now.  To date I have been
> content with using XSP / ESQL for small, interactive DB apps, and I
> _had_ thought that I should now have to learn Cocoon Forms (or Woody)
> and Flowscript, xReporter and, possibly, Java Beans for logic - somewhat
> of a learning curve for me but also not impossible.   However, recent
> discussion on this topic shows that some developers believe a whole slew
> of _other_ technologies (outside of Cocoon) need to be learnt and
> incorporated before one even starts with the design...
> 
> 
> So, my question is:
> 
> *** Which solid, well-documented approaches, using primarily
> Cocoon-based mechanisms, exist to create complex database applications? 
> These approaches need to be at least documented in a detailed article
> and, preferably, in a well-written tutorial/guide.

What exactly is you use case?  Are you writing a traditional webapp, or do you need to do
more of a 
data analysis type application? (Or neither?)

Ugo Cei has claimed that all you need is Flowscript, CForms, some sort of O/R mapping (Like

hibernate or OJB), and the JXTemplateGenerator and you're set.  I tend to agree with him,
but I have 
no practical experience to back it up with :)

I agree that this needs to be much better documented than a bunch of loosely-related HOWTO's
and 
Tutorials.  Maybe a free book like Dive into Python is what we need.  I have some ideas about
how 
Flowscript can parallel UML system sequence diagrams that I would love to get a chance to
expand on 
given the time.

> ** My observation is - if such does not exist, and I still want a web
> front-end, should I be abandoning Cocoon and going for some old-style,
> template-based approach, using other frameworks such as Struts,
> Hibernate, Velocity, PHP etc. etc. [and, of course, the same question
> applies here - is there something well-documented which lays a solid,
> detailed foundation/guide for taking a developer through all this?]

Of course you shouldn't abandon Cocoon if such an approach is not well-documented! ;)  It
just means 
there's an opportunity for someone to blaze a trail into uncharted territory.

> * My last thought is - if there is no well-explained answer to either
> of the above, does this mean we are on the cutting edge when it comes to
> this type of work... because then I will at least know where I stand and
> can, hopefully, decide accordingly!

The fact that I've heard Struts developers speaking of pulling out pieces of Cocoon for their
own 
use seems to indicate that we are on the bleeding edge.  It's tough, but it's also really
fun :)


Regards,
Tony


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