Forum OpenACS Q&A: Re: Evaluating Web Publishing frameworks

Posted by Ian Kallen on
OK, so you caught me. I had a blatant bias against tcl (sorry, it still isn't my favorite, but that's the way it goes), all of the tcl code I'd had to work with had always been really messy (about as bad as a lot of the php code I've had to work with).  A few years after that, I worked with some tk/tcl code that didn't suck as much. But hey anyway, language wars are dumb, people have proven time and again that they can write crappy code in any language ("and some of my best friends use OpenACS"). Perl certainly has a reputation of mess-making as well (all of the "free CGI script" sites of the 1990's gave Perl a bad rap, IMO) but I've found that creating well structured and legible code in  a collaborative environment is something I can easily support and lead on.

So, I wrote that stuff in the summer of 2000 when I was at Salon (I left about 3.5 years ago) but the basic premise that "content that can be materialized as mark up, should be" still stands. To this day, too many sites needless roundtrip to their databases to perform redundant operations to render mark up on the fly. Assemble components as early as possible into the most basic reusable parts, bind late only as much as dynamic presentation requires it.

At the time, rebuilding the infrastructure there with HTML::Mason was the right thing to do (and they're still using the same CMS and basic production server configuration, so I musta done something right). If you're interested, the CMS technology eventually saw another incarnation as Bricolage (see

Posted by Mark Aufflick on
Wow - talk about the horses mouth!

Thank's for your comments Ian. In retrospect my message should have been structured more as "how are we going to attack this common perception" rather than "the author missed something".

I have been using HTML::Mason quite intesively at both a major Australian telco and an investment bank.

While language wars can be dumb, tcl (and especially tcl under AOL Server) can be clumsy with namespaces etc. (at least it has name spaces cf. PHP) and has even weaker OO support than Perl (whose OO I quite like).

But in the end the language is only a part of some whole. Perl may not be a better language than Python, but Perl has CPAN. I vastly prefer Perl over tcl, but OpenACS is written in tcl and OpenACS gives you a lot. etc.

Bricolage is very interesting as is Maypole.

As you are obviously involved with Web-based content delivery I would be interested in hearing your current project and views on the state of play in the online world, if you have time.

Posted by Andrew Piskorski on
Ian, having personal biases or opinions for/against particular programming languages is ok, and making recommendations based on those opinions is also ok. But making up nonsense in order to obscure the fact that your recommendations are, in fact, based solely on a few such personal opinions is not ok.

E.g., "We don't agree that Tcl is the world's greatest language", and all the rest of your statements about ACS quoted above, are simply irrelevent nonsense - straw man arguments that have nothing to do with any of the real issues you were actually discussing, and never did. In fact, you actually said nothing relevent about the ACS whatsoever. Not good.

If the truth is, "Based on my past experience I don't like Tcl, and other than that it uses Tcl I don't really know that much about the ACS or AOLserver, and don't have the time or inclination to investigate it.", then say so. Don't make up BS instead.

Please try to achieve a higher level of honesty and rigor in the future.