[plug] Web / Database advice sought

Ben Keith bjkeith at gmail.com
Thu Sep 1 17:10:48 WST 2011

To add some other options for Brad to consider:

Django:  https://www.djangoproject.com/

This is a python based framework.  Haven't used it myself but seems quite
popular.  Would let you leverage your existing python knowledge.  Pretty
sure they will be some Django gurus floating around PLUG(?)

Ruby on Rails:  http://rubyonrails.org

Playing with this at the moment.  Having come from a Java Desktop
development background I'm finding this reasonably easy to get something
functional.  Rails goes with "convention over configuration" which makes
simple stuff easy but may make complex stuff a little harder.

Spring:  http://www.springsource.org/

Prior to trying Ruby on Rails I had a decent look at the Java options
(Struts, Spring etc) but found the learning curve quite steep.  Getting
things to work took me more effort than with Ruby on Rails (YMMV).  Spring
Roo helps a lot to get basic CRUD going.  Spring goes with "configuration
over convention" which explains the steeper learning curve but provides a
lot of power and flexibility.  If you decide to go with Spring, checkout
their customised Eclipse IDE.

Hopes this helps,


On Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 4:50 PM, Alexander Hartner <alex at j2anywhere.com>wrote:

> Hi Andrew,
> Sure, no problem. For websign I used standard Java 1.6. Apache Tomcat as
> the web container to process the JSP pages. In addition to the JSP framework
> I also use JSF as I wanted to design my pages in xml. The signature is
> captured using standard java script features included with HTML5. To
> generate the PDF I used FOP from apache.
> Java Server Faces :
> http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javaee/javaserverfaces-139869.html
> Apache Tomcat : http://tomcat.apache.org/
> Apache FOP : http://xmlgraphics.apache.org/fop/
> I forgot to mention that Java has good support for different databases
> include PostgreSQL.
> Alex
> On 01/09/2011, at 16:43 , Andrew Cooks wrote:
> Hi Brad
> I believe Python is the most valuable tool you mentioned (regardless of how
> much I personally dislike it) and there are multiple web application
> frameworks to choose from if you decide that a browser based interface is
> preferable. Keep in mind that building dynamic browser-based applications
> involve combining many different components and it can be hard to find and
> absorb all the information you need. You'll be looking at HTML, Javascript,
> python and depending on the framework, an object-relational mapper, a
> Model-view-controller architecture, an AJAX toolkit, etc. My point is simply
> that it can be hard to determine what the simplest solution to the problem
> is when you're overloaded with buzzwords.
> On the other hand, a cross-platform python gui toolkit, like pygtk or
> wxpython will limit the options just enough so that you can focus on the end
> goal while at the same time making the information easily discoverable in
> the api. If you envision hundreds of simultanious users, scattered over a
> geographical area beyond Perth, then a web-based application is definitely
> preferable in my opinion. It all depends on the current scale of the project
> and the expected growth path.
> In response to Alex's suggestion to use Java, the major drawback I see is
> the learning curve. I would prefer Java to Python, but like web frameworks,
> it's easy to spend weeks looking at all the potential building blocks and
> trying to find the perfect future-proof design, given all the different
> frameworks out there.
> Alex, what tools did you use besides the JDK and would you mind linking to
> them?
> Andrew
> On Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 9:35 AM, Brad Campbell <brad at fnarfbargle.com>wrote:
>> G'day all,
>> I'm playing with an electronic component catalogue / stock / label printer
>> idea. At the moment I'm using Postgres as the back end and Openoffice Base
>> as the front.
>> I've bumped up against some fairly ugly sharp edges in Base and am
>> contemplating moving to something browser based.
>> The label printing part uses a Windows based package from Avery (running
>> in an XP VM) which happens to work incredibly nicely with a Postgres / Linux
>> back end.
>> I'm stuck in that the only tools in my toolbox are Pascal, Python & Bash.
>> I'm perfectly willing to learn another language, the question is which one?
>> This is a simple forms based database front end. What I don't want is page
>> reloads every time a control changes, so I guess I'm after something with a
>> little bit of smarts in the client.
>> The other option is a really good cross-platform database front end
>> (something like the old Foxpro). I could knock it out in FreePascal, but I
>> think it's time I learned something a bit more browser oriented (as you can
>> see, my tool cupboard is sparse at best).
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