Forum OpenACS Q&A: AOLserver/openACS and other scripting languages (besides Tcl)

Request notifications

I am wondering, can you use other scripting languages with AOLserver/openACS? I realize that only Tcl will be compatible with the awesome templating system openACS has, but I'm wondering, if in the future, I need to hire people to work with me, it won't be very likely to find people who know Tcl... So, basically, the question is, is AOLserver compatible with PHP, Perl, Javascript, etc...
The language you choose is a little importance. Tcl itself is very small.

http://tcl.tk/man/tcl8.4/TclCmd/contents.htm

Tcl has around 88 commands.

The OpenACS core has 2187 procs.

All OpenACS packages have 7553 procs.

So you can see that learning Tcl is a 1 day project, while learning OpenACS taks a lot more. The APIs of the libraries you use are what you need to learn.

Yes you can use other programming languages with AOLserver besides Tcl and C. However, no one much bothers. AOLserver's integration with Tcl is excellent, so that's basically what everyone serious uses for development. There are people running out-of-the-box PHP apps with AOLserver, and probably others doing the same with Java, but that's a different sort of thing.

Whether the programmers you hire already know Tcl or not is close to the last thing you should be worrying about. Any good programmer can and will reach basic proficiency with Tcl in a few days, and true expertise in a few weeks (or perhaps months). This is not hypothetical, I've seen that myself first hand.

Actually, I've also seen people I wouldn't be willing to hire as programmers, because they weren't really good enough, also learn enough Tcl to do basic OpenACS work within days. Tcl simply isn't that hard.

And Dave is exactly right that when it comes to learning OpenACS, Tcl is the quick and easy part.

when you get developers to work on a Web Development Framework (specially with so many abstractions and concepts around like in OpenACS), the scripting language is not the first issue, is more important to get to know other stuff, like the basic API, basic object / instances concepts, the user & permission system, etc, etc.

Many developers are just lazy to learn new stuff besides of the scripting language they already know, that'll be very first trouble you'll get.