On the Seaside

Call me nuts, but I’m relearning Smalltalk. And having a darn good time at it too; I haven’t forgotten anything! So, I’ve rediscovered Seaside — looked at it a couple of years ago, but I guess it was too immature, or I was too distracted. But right now, I’m find it to be very powerful.

There’s motivation for this. I’m about to embark on a new application idea, and was searching for an environment to develop it in. Should I keep with Plone/Zope, which I’ve used a lot, but still don’t know much about it? Should I go with Django, which is much cleaner and smaller than Zope, and looks promising? Or, heh, what’s out there in Smalltalk land?

I guess part of the driver here was the Python UnConference. Yeah, everyone’s touting how simple Python is. None of the distracting curly braces of Java, clean syntax, you can start off without knowing objects and classes … etc., etc. But yet, while I was at the conference, playing with the Python plug-in for Eclipse, I couldn’t get a simple script to run … what’s going wrong? Oh yeah, I had forgotten an import statement. Now, just what package to import, was my next question? I couldn’t even figure out how to find what libraries were at my fingertips. More hunting around (Google is my friend; there’s enough Python activity out on the web, that it’s easy enough to search for code examples from others), I finally figure out what to import, and I’m off and running again.

But, why bother? And how is this all so much more rapid than what I’m doing now? Why, even to write a product in Plone, I have to remember to write all these init functions. Ones with underscores in front of them. Is this really rapid development? Why was Smalltalk so much simpler to work in? Oh yeah, it’s about the image. Everything’s in the image.

So, Sunday, I downloaded Seaside. Got a website up in 10 minutes. Cool. Now what? Sunday evening, found a tutorial. Followed it. Very cool. Development simple so far. Found a blogger who has his own custom Squeak image; lots of developer add-ons, without any of the kiddy crud built into the default Squeak image. Now were’ talking!

So, now I’m starting to develop at a lightening pace. Ahh, the good ole days! Seaside is looking good … real good. Let’s see how far I can get, and how quick.

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I'm the founder of Agoric Source, co-organizer of the Houston Python Meetup, director of technology at Newspaper Subscription Services, LP, technology advisor to InstaFuel, active board member of the Houston Area Model United Nations, and occasional volunteer to the Red Cross (during hurricanes or other local emergencies). I'm first and foremost still a software hacker, but with my economics background and business experience, I serve well as a project or program manager, technical visionary, etc.