18 Jul 2005
“RAD Framework, Dude!”
Building a database-driven web site from scratch in something like PHP or ASP can be mind-numbingly tedious. Not only do you need to construct web pages to display information, but you usually also need some kind of admin interface for managing the data. All those repetitive database queries and forms with validation are a pain, so developers tend to accumulate their own tricks and code to help out.
At the other end of things, technologies such as Java and .NET promote higher-level abstraction and a certain amount of automation, but carry corporate baggage and don’t feel quite right to many perfectionist web developers. .NET, for example, shows little regard for basic markup semantics (yeah, I know .NET will soon be XHTML-compliant, which is great, but you can bet it’ll still twist markup to suit its way of doing things).
Upstart programming languages Ruby and Python have always looked equally interesting. Ruby on Rails has been around a while and, although I’m unsure about some aspects, it’s certainly set the standard for open-source web application development.
Now Python has Django, a nifty RAD framework announced by Simon Willison. You get simplified database access, clean URLs, a templating system, caching, automatically-created interfaces for managing data, and lots_of__underscores__. It looks really promising (apart from the underscores).
So now I really do feel compelled to ditch my home-made PHP systems, but which way to jump? I’m currently leaning slightly towards Django; perhaps I’ll give it a try for a small project or two and see how I get on…