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Saturday, June 03, 2006

On web frameworks and AJAX

I recently started working on a new project at home. Its a web application to help out with project management. The two goals were 1) to develop something that I could use for the projects at work and 2) to learn something new. This project was perfect for learning something that I had always wanted to learn more about: Web frameworks and AJAX - both hot areas of Web 2.0 (and yes, although there is a lot of hype around Web 2.0, it is clear that a new web revolution is underway, and it is not just a passing fad).

Given a choice, I prefer to work in Python, so I went around looking for web frameworks in Python (and there are a LOT of them). I finally decided upon django, having heard a lot of good things about it (the fantastic website also helped).

Having worked a bit with it, I can now say WOW. The basic framework for the site is already done and it only took two full days and two nights to get it here. Further, one of the full days was dedicated to designing the look and style of the site, so only a day and two nights were spent on programming. This includes a complete and customised administration area where you can modify any object in the system. Sure, there is still a lot to do, but to still get this far in such a short time has been amazing.

I'm now looking to refine the interface, and that means AJAX. I'm currently looking into the Dojo and Mochikit libraries. I've implemented my first drag and drop using Dojo and in-place editing with Mochikit. That has taken another day. I currently like Mochikit as it is much easier for the beginner to get started with. Dojo looks a lot richer, but its really hard to learn with very scant documentation. Of course, my lack of experience with Javascript (and especially the way OO is done in Javascript) and my familiarity with Python (which Mochikit tries to emulate) may have something to do with that.

After this preliminary experiment, I can say with some confidence that a single person working full time on an application can get a first version out within a month. Capital and resources are no longer major problems. All you need is a good idea. In other words, the next few years will be a great time to be an entrepreneur, much like the years in the late 90s.

1 comment:

Perfekt said...

oogla woogla boogla to you too :-P