[aida] Web framework or Web Application Server?

Nicholas Moore nicholas.moore at tsr-i.com
Tue Aug 19 23:12:47 CEST 2008

 From a marketing perspective there is probably some benefit in 
positioning AIDA as a web application server because that offers so much 
more - a complete integrated development and deployment environment, 
facilitating rapid prototyping and testing. Simple web frameworks are 
relatively obsolete!


Janko Mivšek wrote:
> Jimmie,
> Thank you very much for your thoughts and they are on the right 
> direction, at least from my viewpoint. I'll use your questions below for 
> my ESUG presentation to show the vision of both Aida and Scribo. Well, 
> I'll try to show and let discussing the vision here as well if time will 
> permit.
> About question from subject, let we therefore stay with Smalltalk Web 
> Application Server.  Technically it is much more appropriate as you and 
> Nicholas pointed out, while me and Nico had some worries from marketing 
> standpoint. Also on Wikipedia we are among Web frameworks, there is even 
> not a serious page for web app servers!
> Best regards
> Janko
> Jimmie Houchin wrote:
>> nico wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> Of course I also understand Jimmie's point. But I still think that it's
>>> a mistake, at least for marketing reasons.
>> Understood. :)
>> However, there is no clearly defined use of the phrases "Web Framework", 
>> "Fullstack", or "Web Application Server". The definition unfortunately 
>> varies depending on the tool to which it is being applied. Which is why 
>> I believe that on the "About AIDAweb"... page(s) that a good description 
>> as to whatever expression we use means.
>> With regards to marketing. Who are we marketing to? What marketing 
>> battle do we hope to win?
>> If Seaside v. AIDAweb/Scribo, then I don't think it is a problem. Each 
>> are different and distinct with different personalities. And with regard 
>> to Framework v. Application Server, Seaside is in the same boat as us.
>> I believe that with regards to marketing we have a lot more to overcome 
>> than ambiguities between Framework v. Application Server.
>> Why use Smalltalk?
>> That is the first barrier to entry.
>> Once that is overcome, then we have somebody who can listen and 
>> understand the whys behind Seaside or AIDAweb.
>> We will never win with people who come to AIDAweb who are looking to 
>> swap in and out there favorite pieces and parts and tools for the job. 
>> Its hard enough to talk to the Seaside community and they are one of us. 
>> Janko posts on the Seaside list about adding a feature to Swazoo and 
>> gets blasted. Why add this feature? We have Apache? (All bow down to 
>> Apache)  Ugh!
>> One thing I love about AIDAweb is Janko's vision for a complete 
>> Smalltalk stack for web development. Turtles all the way down, as Avi 
>> says. Nice!
>> We are getting closer to offering a good and reasonably compelling tool 
>> for the developer. I would love to see us get to a better out the box 
>> experience for those who aren't programmers (yet) but are very good with 
>> computers and software and we can enable them with quality software and 
>> a good web UI to get the job done.
>> The app I am currently working on is currently implemented in 
>> SharePoint. Yuck! But it was chosen (not by me) because it enabled a 
>> certain set of people to get a job done. AIDAweb/Scribo as of yet 
>> wouldn't quite enable them in the same way. But it can, and I hope it 
>> will soon.
>> Out of the Box experience is the one thing which has so strongly tried 
>> to pull me to Plone. Being the end-user of an application (CMS) instead 
>> of a developer with a CMS is very appealing. It is very enabling.
>> I am very much a power user. I very much prefer using an application, to 
>> developing the application. I am hoping that Scribo will reach the place 
>> that it enables people like me. I know Scribo isn't there yet. And that 
>> I might have to help to get it there. But if there is no desire for 
>> Scribo to enable application users. Then I may be in the wrong place and 
>> need to go to Plone who very much does. But I care about the back-end 
>> technology also which is why I currently prefer AIDAweb/Scribo.
>> Any way, I believe marketing to people looking for a Framework will 
>> frequently draw people in only to see them leave when they learn that we 
>> don't embrace or enable their favorite tool. They will see our vision as 
>> too narrow and non-inclusive. Whereas I find it liberating to not have 
>> to worry about all that other technology and what to pick and how to 
>> assemble and get working together.
>> A quote from the Seaside list:
>> "It took me at least 3 times as much time to get Apache up and running 
>> with Seaside as it did to actually write the Seaside application."
>> So the question really is:
>> Who are we marketing to?
>> Who do we want to become a part of this community?
>> What is AIDAweb?
>> Who are its users?
>> How do we get the word out to them?
>> Regardless of which phrase gets chosen, it will need to be well defined 
>> for the context of AIDAweb.
>> To me, we want people who are:
>> Opinionated :)
>> They love Smalltalk, or are at least open to learning and loving Smalltalk.
>> They love Turtles all the way down.
>> The more they can do with the chosen tool, the better.
>> The less they have to look elsewhere to solve the problem, the better.
>> And the nice thing is ...
>> That if you want to put Apache in front of AIDAweb, you can.
>> That if you want to use PostgreSQL for persistence, you can.
>> Nothing stops you. Nothing even slows you down.
>> It just isn't the required path of the tool.
>> You are fully enabled without such tools or requirements.
>> Nothing else is required out of the box.
>> So what is our vision statement?
>> Who are we?
>> What do we want to be?
>> Who do we enable?
>> What do we provide?
>> Where do we want to go?
>> The better we can answer all of these questions the better we can choose 
>> who to market to and how.
>> One of the fantastic things to watch about the Plone community is how 
>> they choose to organize themselves. How they go about deciding a vision 
>> for the future of Plone. A vision for Plone, its development, its users, 
>> its community.
>> I know the AIDAweb community is small. But we don't have to think small. 
>> Without a vision the people perish. Without a vision, no one can come 
>> alongside and become one of us. With a vision clearly expressed and 
>> written down. People can come alongside, take a part of the work and run 
>> with it. Without such, people are only somewhat walking in the same 
>> direction. If their works happen to complement the whole and help the 
>> community, great. If not, oh well. No common vision. No common goals. No 
>> common achievements.
>> I am not a strong developer. But hopefully I can be a strong motivator 
>> and help where I can. But without the vision, I can't say that AIDAweb 
>> is going the direction I want to go. It currently isn't at a place I 
>> want to be. But can I help it get to where it wants to go? And do I want 
>> to go there also?
>> If I can't answer those questions, then I am better off with Plone even 
>> if the back end development is a little harder. Because of community, I 
>> will have much less of it to do. Only those content types which aren't 
>> available out of the box.
>> My apologies for such a long email.
>> I am just trying to exhort this community toward creating and moving 
>> towards a common, well written vision as to who we are, what we are 
>> doing, where we are going and why you want to join us in this adventure.
>> Jimmie
>> _______________________________________________
>> Aida mailing list
>> Aida at aidaweb.si
>> http://lists.aidaweb.si/mailman/listinfo/aida


*Nicholas J Moore*
+33 555 092 140
+33 682 904 357
*TSR International
*Thought Leaders in Communication & Complexity

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