Forum OpenACS Q&A: Response to Article on ACS x Zope

Posted by Don Baccus on
Well, this last example is no win over the AOLserver/Tcl/Adp environment.  The  level of abstraction's the same.  As it happens, the ACS doesn't abstract out the SQL, but that's a design/business decision not at all dependent on the environment the toolkit runs in.

So regarding which environment provides a superior database abstraction, the answer is "neither".  But the ACS per se flunks in this regard, something the OpenACS folk bitch and moan about daily.

Ideally, in the Zope world, you deal with Zope objects, in which case you needn't concern yourself with how stuff's stored.  That's good.

The direction the ACS is going is to split presentation and computation issues in such a way that for a large percentage of sites programming won't be needed at all.  At this surface level, I suspect DHTML and Adp pages are going to look a lot more alike, than different.  Most users won't need to poke "under the hood".

It's different for us OpenACS porting folk, of course.  As it would be for a Zope implementor porting Zope for use with a brand-new RDBMS.

Is the OO paradigm and the set of available Zope objects better for the "under the hood" design that should mostly be the realm of the developer, rather than user of the toolkit?

Well ... the RDBMS/thin-layer approach taken by the ACS has certainly led to the development of a large set of modules, many quite comprehensive and all of the useful.  I'm in a results-oriented mood at the moment ...

I'm kinda tired of comments like this:

"OpenACS (and ACS) people know far more about RDBMs than most Zopers ever will...[SNIP]...
    Zopers and other OO experts know far more about abstraction than most RDBM experts ever will. "

There's an implication here that perhaps OpenACS folks don't know much about the OO paradigm because we're RDBMS experts.

For starters, I'm no RDBMS expert.  Picked up "SQL for Smarties"
about 15 months ago, that's pretty much the extent of my expertise though I must say I've gotten rather good at writing queries.  For seconds, I'm hardly unaware of  OO principles and of the value of this paradigm for decomposing a large set of problems.  The fact that I'm working on a toolkit which wasn't designed using OO principles doesn't  mean that I'm ignorant of, or unskilled in, that paradigm.

This broad hinting that those who don't necessarily buy the notion that the OO paradigm is the best paradigm for web site development do so out of ignorance is a cheap substitute for substance.