Saturday, June 04, 2011

The days of templates are over

When I first started to work with web applications, it was just servlets and then came JSPs. At the time, I didn't like JSPs (and to this day I still don't). They seemed like a necessary evil that got the job done. The thing I found repulsive about them was the mix of server and client code together. The switching of contexts just made both look ugly and hard to maintain. But, it was easier than generating pages directly from servlets by hand. Of course, there were other solutions that I looked for, but nothing got away from the horrid markup. Then, I fell in love with Seaside which did away with markup and generated content through a custom DSL. It felt better to me and loved it until I realized that it was only for the developer, not the web page designer. It made their life harder. Now, we all know we should use minimal content and have CSS do the layout. But, in this modern world, you need folks who are experts at web page design. You can not and should not alienate them.

Fast forward to now. Currently, I've been using Javascript frameworks and working mainly from the front-end. The project I'm currently working on is pure HTML/Javascript/CSS for the front-end with RESTful calls to the backend. I must admit, I had my reservations about this arrangement, but after working with it; it is the right thing to do. No more ugly markup. The separation of concerns is well in place. And finally, the web designer is allowed to concentrate on making a rich user experience and the developer to concentrate on business logic. Perfect.

My feeling is that the days of template engines are over. It's a waste of time and all of them are a pain to debug. A pure Web 2.0 AJAX solution allows each to utilize their tools and do things separately. To me that is exciting and I will gladly leave ugly code behind.

App Dev Today

I'm pleased to announce the start of a new venture. It's a new company to launch new mobile applications. The ball is just starting to roll and exciting times are ahead. We have some cool stuff up our sleeves and will be showing soon.