ENTRIES TAGGED "Frameworks"

How Setting Aside Rails and Picking Up Padrino Might Make You a Better Ruby Developer

Learning languages through frameworks

I love frameworks. I love that frameworks like Rails and Bootstrap, in particular, make me more productive: People smarter than I have taken care of several decisions that distract from the typical goals of my web applications. I spend most of my time developing within the friendly confines of such frameworks, in part because I enjoy building—and delivering—applications I can show off to non-programmer friends (or clients, for that matter). They’re just not as impressed when I show them a Hello World app or a completed kata, for some reason.

Of course, there’s a danger here. With out-of-the-box, “omakase” Rails, it’s increasingly possible to create powerful applications with a rich understanding of Rails, but a so-so (or worse) understanding of Ruby itself. A well-done framework hides much of the complexity of a language, so the developer can focus more on the problem domain. But if and when an application’s requirements deviate from those for which a stock Rails installation is suited, a couple of things might happen for the developer who’s not sufficiently grounded in the language. At best, programmer productivity slows considerably. At worst, dirty hacks and kludges start appearing in the code base, and technical debt mounts quickly.

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The Appeal of the Lift Web Framework

The extreme end of weird (as far as web frameworks go)

Lift is one of the better-known web frameworks for Scala. Version 2.5 has just been released, so it seems like a good time to show features of Lift that I particularly like.

Lift is different from other web frameworks (in fact, I labeled it at the extreme end of weird in the first presentation I gave about it), but people who get into Lift seem to love the approach it takes. It’s productive and enjoyable, which goes well with Scala.

I’ll keep this post short. Just two things:

Transforms

You might be familiar with an MVC approach to the Web, where you have code that forwards to a view, and in that view you maybe use a little bit of mark-up to loop or display values. That’s not how it goes in Lift.

Instead, you start with the view first, and use HTML5 attributes to mark the parts of the view that need transforming. Here’s an example:

That’s valid HTML5. You can view it in your browser, or edit it in Adobe Fireworks, or whatever tool you want. The only part of it that looks a little strange is the data-lift attribute. What that’s doing is naming a Lift snippet, and a snippet is just a class. It might look like this:

What’s going on here? We’re using a nifty DSL in Lift to transform the <p> tag so that it contains the content we want. We’re saying…

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Where are JavaScript and the web going?

The Fluent conference co-chairs look ahead.

JavaScript and HTML5 just keep moving. One day it’s form validation, the next animation. Then it becomes full-on model view controller stacks getting data from sensors on devices and communicating with back-end servers that are themselves largely JavaScript.

Peter Cooper and I have tried to capture some of this power in the upcoming Fluent conference, so that attendees can find their ways to the tools that work for them. We also have an online preview coming this Thursday, April 4th.

Peter and I paused for a moment to talk about what we’re doing and where we see JavaScript and the Web heading. Though we work together on the conference, our perspectives aren’t quite the same, something I think works out for the better.

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Understanding Mojito

Understanding Mojito

Yahoo's Mojito lets you run code where it's easiest.

O'Reilly editor Simon St. Laurent talked with Yahoo's Bruno Fernandez-Ruiz about the possibilities Node opened and Mojito exploits. Yahoo's Mojito is a different kind of framework: all JavaScript, but running on both the client and the server.

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Christopher Schmitt and Simon St. Laurent discuss HTML5

Christopher Schmitt and Simon St. Laurent discuss HTML5

What to watch for in HTML5, CSS, and the open web.

HTML5 author Christopher Schmitt talks with O'Reilly editor Simon St. Laurent about why it's a great time to be a web developer.

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