Monthly Archives: May 2003

design issues

29 May 2003

So, I’ve been wrestling with some design issues, and also wrestling with some time-management issues.

The design issues involve a typical RDBMS-backed application design question: how should I store my objects in the database? On one hand, I could do the obvious thing, which would be to just design the tables the way I want them, and then instantiate my perl objects from that. This is the approach I took when I designed PAESSO , and the path that I’ve started down so far on this project.

I put a lot of thought into the PAESSO design, and in a many ways, I basically recreated a lot of the structure of J2EE in Perl. Which leads me to another approach: adopt whatever has been done to mimic J2EE, which turns out to be P5EE . Sadly, P5EE doesn’t seem ready for prime-time yet, nor is it clear that I’d have any fun traveling that path anyway.

On the gripping hand, I could steal a page from JWARS and store my objects as “blobs” in the database. (Of course, I’d use the Storable representation.) This has a certain simplicity, but I always railed against it in the JWARS meetings, simply because it breaks the beauty of language independence in the RDBMS. For JWARS, only Smalltalk can understand the objects; for my app, only Perl could. Admittedly, in either case, it’s unlikely that many people would want to parse the data with any other language. But there may be some. It would certainly be nice to get at JWARS data from perl. Or C++, or Java…, or anything but Smalltalk.

The time-management issue is my perpetual whine that I don’t have the time to work on these things. This is largely a result of my recent marriage and impending dad-hood. (About which I’m delighted, I must say.) I am a bit melancholy at times that I don’t have the time to really focus on the little projects that I’ve set myself; to include writing this Blog-engine.

Despite a crappy weather forecast for the week, when I left work today it was great sailing weather. But Zette had arranged to go look at houses, which is both good and bad. Over the holiday weekend (last Monday was Memorial day) we went to visit Niagara Falls, as well as her relatives in Rochester. Her cousin Mike has a small sailboat that has been in his garage for the last eight years. Cool as Mike is, I don’t want to be him.


19 May 2003

So, the blog engine is now to such a state that the articles actually show up on the page. Now, as you might point out, I could have done that with a plain ol’ HTML file. And you’d be right. But it does have a RDBMS backend. And it has a Perl front end. And therefore it’s showing promise.

All the perl code is just hack to make sure the module would talk to the database. I have these grand visions of writing my own templating engine. (Doesn’t everyone?) Except that mine will be more of a perl IDE than anything else. But there you go.

Suzette and I started house hunting today. It’s somewhat amazing to be shopping for something that is in the half-million dollar price range. Ah well.

pain and suffering

9 May 2003

So, in terms of writing a blog-engine, I have to admit that progress has been glacial, by which I mean non-existent. Or almost anyway; I’ve done some thinking about it, and I’ve done some research into Mason, which looked somewhat promising, but I don’t think I really like it that much.

Of all the templating engines, they’re basically allowing you to write code in your HTML pages. The problem is I don’t particularly like to write HTML at all; I’d much rather write code. The overall metaphor of templating engines seems to be that they are intended to extend the process of writing web pages into writing dynamic web pages. Instead of that paradigm, I’m more interested in writing applications that happen to use a web browser as an interface.

So I’m tempted to write my own templating engine, which would be more like a source code control system. I can definitely see some utility in having a framework to help keep components sorted out, but I’m not settled on the form I want it to take.

In other news, Suzette and I finally got our wedding bands back from the jeweller that made them for us. They’re really pretty, but we have some reservations about the quality of the work. Sigh. On one hand I appreciate how beautiful the design is, and on the other I can see how much better the execution could have been. The rings we had were cast, but they’re from a mold of a filigree pattern, and it’s hard to get the little details right in a casting. I’m on the verge of trying to learn to make filigree.