Daily Archives: 2004-05-02

Perl web engine (revisited)

At work we have a product called eRoom, which is a collaboration tool/knowledge management system. It’s quite slick, in my opinion.

As an open source guy, I can’t help looking at things and saying "hey, I bet you could do this as free software." And as mentioned elsewhere in my blog, I have this ongoing interest in building a web engine in perl. Why a web engine, of all possible projects? Well, it’s an enabling technology for lots of other projects. Why perl, of all programming languages? Well, I just like it.

So what’s wrong with the zillion existing web engines, many of which are already in perl? None of the ones I’ve played with are particularly satisfying.

There’s a few projects pending that could use a web engine to run on. One of these days I intend to make a better version of Reviews Of This Book. And I built a prototype a webmail engine, but I never finished it. I promised my wife I’d build a web-based playlist editor for my mp3 archive, which is tied into her hi-fi rig. And my blog itself is not finished, in terms of the code behind it; it should have images and discussion forums and whatnot. Megan’s web site is hand coded currently, and could really use some automation. There are probably some additional half-finished or half-conceived projects waiting in the wings, that I’ve forgotten about.

I’m somewhat inspired by Quixote, which seems to focus on web development more as programming than publishing.  That is to say, I’m looking for a framework where I can build software applications that happen to use HTTP and HTML as the user interface, rather than writing web content that happens to have some dynamic elements.

The biggest roadblock, of course, continues to be my lack of free time.  I do have full-time employment, and also have a wife and 6 month old daughter, all of which seem to take a fair amount of time to maintain.  The easiest thing I could do to free up some time is to allocate some of the hours when I’m at work, and consider any such time as self-directed training, which would not be far from the truth.  As a computer professional, most of the skills that I have are largely self-taught, and many are a direct result of working with free software.  (usually both free-as-in-speech and free-as-in-beer)