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From "Mike Cannon-Brookes" <mcan...@internet.com>
Subject RE: best practices (follow-up to the roadmap thread)
Date Tue, 26 Dec 2000 14:35:46 GMT
> > On 24 Dec 2000 14:46:16 -0500, Joseph B. Ottinger wrote:
> > > The bottom line is: How do we see JSP being used in the future? Are we
> > > targeting people used to workarounds like PHP, enabling
> people who think
> > > HTML is an able programming language, and helping web designers create
> > > their content? Or are we implementing a tool for application
> designers,
> > > creating loosely-coupled components geared at helping enterprise-level
> > > designers focus on their problem domains rather than on the
> rudiments of
> > > transformation of data, creating items aimed at proper design?
> >
> > Look at CFML programmers -- there are thousands of them.  They are
> > sought after in the Web world job market.  CFML is no more difficult
> > than HTML, except it's all server-side, dynamic content generation.  JSP
> > tags are a direct rip-off of CFML, in my opinion.  There's a big
> > audience for JSP tags composed of people who don't have or want to have
> > the skills to write the tag libraries.  One of the very functions of the
> > JSP tag library JSR is to solidify a common suite of  standard, robust,
> > useful tags that every compliant JSP container must support.  If the JSR
> > is successful, we shouldn't need too much skill to use JSP, because a
> > strong base of useful tags will be automatically available to everyone.
> > That's if it ever gets off the ground -- it hasn't yet...
>
> I'm one of those CFML programmers, and stopped after scalability issues
> was murdering a project. CFML's nice, and the tag generation is
> okay... but I don't see that methodology lasting in Java. The cultural
> dissonance is too great.

This is total BS IMHO. The tag generation is great in CF, granted it could
be improved but so could JSPs.

I still see people trying to pigeonhole JSP programmers. If someone wants to
use JUST the servlet 2.3 spec to write applications (and not J2EE - ie
anyone using just Tomcat) they're writing applications in a very similar way
to CF... therefore we should give them equivalent powered toolsets. If
someone wants to go J2EE with EJBs etc, good for them. Doesn't mean everyone
should be forced to go this way.


> > [snip]
> >
> > > Want to
> > > store your data in resources? Great - but *I* use a database,
> and since I
> > > do, that's what I gear for. What other example is there other
> than aiming
> > > at specifically what *I* do instead of what I *might* do?
> >
> > You'll use some sort of standard SQL tag set provided by the taglib JSR,
> > which will include functionality for using JNDI data sources, retrieving
> > results as XML, using stored procedures, etc.  Much like the JRun Tag
>
> Ah! But an SQL resultset is not for your average HTML dummy. It implies
> the person knows how to loop, knows about datatypes, knows about
> databases, has access via a username/password, etc., possibly even more
> than your average CFML programmer knows about the system configuration,
> because CF configures data sources more transparently (currently, and
> IMHO) than JSP does. An SQL taglib, and an XSL taglib, too, by their mere
> existence are targeted for slightly more erudite people than you're
> talking about.

Ahh, but your 'average dummy' isn't programming web apps. There is a modicum
of intelligence required to even program HTML. Assuming you write a SQL
taglib, they will need to know SQL too (otherwise everyone is screwed). If
they know SQL, you can write a tag to loop through the results - and voila!
Mr Dummy uses RecordSets without knowing them. I think people undersell CF
programmers as 'base'. JSP can configure datasources in exactly the same way
CF does (you only know the name). Same goes for XSL, 'mere web programmers'
are learning XML/XSL, if we can make their job easier with a taglib, why the
hell not? ;)

> > Library currently provides, and like CFML has provided for several
> > years.  If you're skillset is HTML with a little JavaScript, maybe a
> > little PERL or PHP, you'll love it.  If the implementation sucks, you'll
> > go with a vendor who has a better implementation.  I'm not saying you,
> > Joseph, will do this.  You might be more likely to write your own SQL
> > tag library and sell it or something.  But there's a huge audience who
> > don't want to do that, or can't, or are too lazy.
>
> I wouldn't write my own SQL taglib. If I was going to, I'd have done it a
> long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away - If I need db access, and
> I do, I use EJBs or wrap the access up in a bean.

*shrug* I used CF for ages, I found the 'model' of accessing a database
quite palatable. Certainly better than using SQL coded in BEANS (didn't you
get taught anything Ep? ;)) which need to be recompiled. (You're spoilt by
Orion's autocompilation of beans!) As for EJBs, they're fantastic but don't
work in servlet containers.

> > > Bottom line: I think that aiming tags at generating HTML
> *like* HTML isn't
> > > a brilliant idea.
> >
> > No argument.  I just think it should be easier and better than having to
> > resort to nested tags because the technology wasn't thought out ahead
> > far enough to provide a nice, clean expression syntax for tag
> > attributes.
>
> I'm trying to urge for orthogonality, so that once you know JSP's basic
> (and current, for that matter) syntax, you don't have to keep working out
> alternatives. ("You do it this way, except in this case, where you do it
> THIS way, except in this other special case, where you can do it this way,
> this way, or this way... and here you use a pointer." <-- exaggeration for
> the point of illustration. You may remember what this is called. I don't.)

"waffle" ;)

> > > JSPT is a neat idea... but I think you can see my thoughts:
> It's geared
> > > towards generating content, which may be fine but is hardly
> all I see tags
> > > doing. JSPT only cured part of the problem.
> >
> > You're not being generous or sympatheitc enough in your reading of the
> > idea (IMHO).  Like I said, Mike presented one thing, but the underlying
> > idea was more generic: dynamic tag handler generation.
>
> Hey, I'm not a generous or sympathetic person! And I know what Mike was
> talking about; I also have some ideas as to how it could be addressed in
> the real world. I'm playing the role of technocurmudgeon, remember? The
> advocate of the priesthood, the guy who looks at handing fire to the
> masses and says, "You know, people are going to manage to set their caves
> on fire."

JSPT is not geared towards generating content, it's geared towards
generating HTML. And as I stressed MULTIPLE times, it's not ALL tags do, but
it's a large part of what they should do. Not all HTML is included. At the
moment tags that produce HTML are fugly, show me your solution. (That
presumably is bounded by not having to compile, and having very little Java
code if possible ... JSPT?)

-mike


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