[aida] Some comments on AIDA documentation

Mark Roberts mroberts at cincom.com
Tue May 29 11:02:40 CEST 2007


As requested, here are some editorial comments on the AIDA documentation.

Best regards,

M. Roberts

An editorial revision of the introductory page:


AIDA/Web is a web application server, which means it is also a 
framework for building dynamic web applications.

An application server has the following general requirements: it must 
handle user identification, access control, manage user sessions and 
provide a security policy. It should provide developers with a proper 
environment for fast and simple web site building using a familiar 
language. It should not bother them with all the details of HTML.

AIDA/Web satisfies all of these requirements with a strong framework, 
built using the Smalltalk language. The language is object-oriented, 
therefore each Aida web page is an object, constructed of 
sub-objects, such as web page elements. These can be combined into 
components that may be re-used for many different pages. Thus, Aida 
scales an object-oriented approach when building web pages and 
applications. The framework is also helpful for managing details, 
such as connecting web pages with hyperlinks. For example, it creates 
those links automatically, because the web link for Aida is just a 
reference (a pointer) between objects in the Smalltalk object model. 
Aida makes it possible to show each object as a web page, and links 
between objects become links between web pages.

Aida allows the separation of software dealing with presentation from 
software in charge for the functionality of an application. In 
Smalltalk, this approach is known as MVC (Model View Controler), and 
it has recently been adopted in the world of Java (i.e., Struts). By 
organizing an application following the MVC approach, we can separate 
(and thereby simplify) the functional logic of the system from the 
introductory level, which is in many cases is more complex and 
demands more code. Without this separation, the functional layer gets 
mixed with the presentation code, which aggravates maintenance and 
development in the future. These problems are typical when building 
pages using ASP, JSP or PHP.

By way of a conclusion, we'll dedicate a few words to the use of Aida 
in the field. Aida was developed in 1996 and has since been running a 
number of public and internal web sites. One of the first was a 
mountaineering site, called Gore - Ljudje, using Aida since 1999. 
This site includes both static and dynamic (Aida) web pages, 
including discussion forums, a browser, real time statistics and 
more. Because of its dedication to highly dynamic web pages, Aida has 
been used in many business applications on company Intranets. Some 
examples include: Gas Billing System (AIDA/GBS), Gas Management 
System (AIDA/GMS), Logistics (e-logis).

Aida is available under an open source license, at 
<http://www.aidaweb.si>www.aidaweb.si. Since it is written in 
Smalltalk, it can be run using various operating systems, including 
Windows, different Unix systems, and Linux.
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