[Laszlo-user] IDE4Laszlo status
circlecycle at gmail.com
Thu Apr 19 20:36:30 PDT 2007
I'd like to add something about architecting a UI solution. I've
spoken on this before. Sorry Sorry (really!) if it seems like i'm
going over the same stuff as from my other posts! I'm interested to
see what steps someone would take to actually generate the code from
the UI, really. This seems like one good way.
it seems like model view controller in the normal sense is stretched
between server and client. That is, the view is the rendered page
(say, in HTML) while the controller is a server side script and the
model is the Database.
In laszlo, it seems like the view is a set of laszlo views (combined
functions, and the model are datasets. All the rest of the prior MVC
apply, but are logically separated from what it takes to build a UI.
It seems to me that if an editor is made, it would distinguish
between laying out master views (of which event attributes only point
at "controller" functions) which would be graphical in nature pretty
much like we are all thinking about. The controllers would always be
invoked by passing it both the view the event is for -- designated by
"self" or "this" or "here" -- and the classroot of the master view --
or just "classroot". The model would be any datasets declared
globally, which is handled in a separate editor pane.
However - these three pieces, view <-> functions <-> datasets
individually make up one "pane set" - such that recursion allows
each pane set to be looked at and edited individually.
Different "modes" of the application would deal with visualizing
these three parts of application composition, so that a final
application is described by a project saving a list of views and
functions called from those event handlers (this would be
automatically generated and passed the right values at runtime), and
datasets that would probably be either straight XML or a URL with
arguments expected to be passed (that is, wrap a call to a dataset by
a function and formalize the function in the UI).
The editor would seem to have three parts, or "panes":
1) A graphical layout for the views
2) something that opens and edits code associated with an event
(stored in logical fashion such that each event is specified by a
eventname and classroot.x.y.z pointer),
3) a dataset editor
Then, "compiling" an application from this point would entail only
going through each section described (views, functions, and datasets)
and pretty much just spitting out the associated LZX in a flat way. I
think this approach may render the code more readable overall from an
automatic generation standpoint too, if you were aware of how events
were linked to functions (hopefully descriptive by the name used),
and allow for building structures between classes (by recording the
master views' relation to canvas in a top down way).
new classes could simply be normal <class> tags put inside of a
<library> tag in some file, such that recompiling the UI application
would then offer the new class in a palettetized way. Interestingly,
once a master view is made -- aka turned into a useable class in
laszlo, it might/could be reused in yet another projects "master
view" recursive style, and the inclusion could or could not bring in
The question i see is, can you make an editor with every bit of
flexibility as handwritten code? Maybe not. Would automatic UI layout
for forms and data driven interfaces and the sharing of subclasses of
things in new projects be enough to satisfy?
What can't you do with such a setup? Anyone want to poke a quick hole
in this? What I mean is, I would help to start a project like this IF
the illuminati on this list didn't think it was half-baked. I want to
see a graphical editor as much as anyone, and would be open to
helping anyone else's idea too. If it's worth the while by being a
flexible "correct" solution, then i'll help.
thanks for the reading time,
On Apr 19, 2007, at 10:50 PM, Simon Cornelius P. Umacob wrote:
> Well, if anyone out there would take the initiative of architecting
> an OpenLaszlo IDE, I'm pretty sure that interested programmers out
> there would pitch in during their free time.
> I, for one, would volunteer as long as there is a write-up on how
> first-time contributors can join. A write-up would really get us
> up to speed. :)
> [ simon.cpu ]
> Geoff Crawford wrote:
>> I know I'm late to this thread, and I'm also just
>> starting to get to know the OL platform as we're
>> just about to try a proof of concept for the first
>> time, but perhaps my experiences are relevent.
>> We're application developers by trade, mostly
>> non-web based. We already have done the project
>> to get an existing client's ERP app on to web
>> services given their existing platform. That's
>> pretty well a requirement to preserve the
>> investment in their application code.
>> But the UI is totally different, and we started
>> doing some simple AJAX without really finding
>> any good tools out there. Laszlo wasn't on
>> the first go round of looking at tools before
>> a few tests with plain AJAX against the SOAP
>> back end. We found our share of small widgets
>> and that helped but did little for building
>> a DHTML UI by hand.
>> There are a bunch of products out there today
>> in the big Fortune 50 world being written up
>> in the Computerworld type venues. All of them
>> are geared to companies going to throw 200-500
>> programmers at applications. And also scales
>> of UI that are web sites, not full ERP systems.
>> Those products like Backbase, SmartClient or
>> and JackBe are all US$ six figures and up.
>> For a single project and require royalties for
>> apps like ERP. Not to mention they're not
>> geared to small learning curves with 200-500
>> developers the client is supposed to do that. (!?)
>> We found Laszlo after hearing about it before,
>> but not really giving it a thought as the
>> impression it was only for delivering Flash
>> content. Well 4.0 has changed all that, and it
>> has got some very satisfying pieces technology
>> wise. The whole ERP modernization is to get
>> into things like Model-View-Controller, and
>> having those things be defined in XML is right
>> there where we wanted it. Not only was the
>> back end logic and data already made that way,
>> it's being delivered XML via SOAP to the front
>> end we want.
>> The UI look and feel Laszlo is deliver is top
>> notch enterprise class. Of all the products
>> we ever looked at, only SmartClient is delivering
>> something of this quality, and that's so far
>> out of the price tag reach it's not funny. Not
>> to mention the whole rendering engine technology
>> they use looks similar.
>> The only piece missing is making our UI designers
>> as productive as possible. To me just an editor
>> with code completion is no "IDE". An editor is
>> still just an editor no matter how much color coding
>> and completion it has. I tried getting IDE 4 Laszlo
>> working, and haven't gotten there yet. It seems to
>> me to have just been abandoned at a time where you
>> probably have to back grade all your versions to
>> make it work. I followed their instructions of
>> downloading an old Eclipse kit with supposedly
>> all the pre-reqs bundled together. It does
>> actually install IDE4laszlo with that config
>> (my latest 3.2 Eclipse wouldn't do that) -
>> but no pallette comes up, the editor will not
>> start at all after complaining about a missing
>> class in the WST kit. And certainly no Design
>> window to do the visually based layout.
>> Spket showed up in the forums so I got that
>> right away and had a bit of trouble trying
>> to get the latest as an Eclipse plugin, but
>> the standalone worked immediately. As code
>> completion and editing goes, it's just great.
>> Sure anything that can read a DTD (or translate
>> the DTD into some other grammar via any number
>> of tools) can do that, but it's still very good
>> at keeping it simple. It does the context of
>> where you are in the doc better.
>> I was somewhat disappointed Spket didn't have a
>> bigger set of code snippets because that's part
>> of what we need Laszlo for - SOAP and the grid
>> in an ERP system is huge. But Laszlo editing is
>> not difficult, I can live with code completion
>> and the kind of drag and drop Spket has got
>> to help programmers fill in the blanks.
>> But without that design view to visually layout
>> everything, we're going to be at a disadvantage.
>> ERP screens aren't just an Amazon site where there's
>> plenty of data but little data entry. We need
>> our layout to be precise, and it's the one thing
>> I'm thinking is going to bite us going this
>> Now put together Laszlo's recent 4.0 announcement
>> to get us into the DHTML delivery with another
>> timely announcement - Borland now has Delphi for PHP.
>> It's got some interesting components for windowing
>> and tab containers that are interesting. But not
>> nearly as complete as Laszlo, and certainly the
>> rendering isn't even a close contest. But what it
>> can do is visually lay it all out, dragging and dropping
>> the components from a pallette - and then tying
>> events to the components you dropped. Borland
>> has both excellent compiler technology, and IDE's.
>> They are the one source of proprietary IDE's outside
>> of Redmond that survives. Their Delphi for PHP
>> just plain doesn't get it when it comes to web
>> delivered data, so we disqualified it as a possible
>> tool. But if you just wanted to drag some fields
>> around into some tabs and windows, well it had
>> that in spades.
>> If you had that visual tool for Laszlo, it would
>> really lead all Web 2.0 systems. It's the one
>> missing piece we're after. I'm not thinking
>> Spket is ever going to be a Borland, but let's
>> face it - the basis of everything you need is
>> there. There just need to be some additions.
>> *All* the components including the incubator
>> ones need to be on the pallette. In fact there
>> should be an easy way to add your own components
>> to that snippets area. (maybe there even is, but
>> it wasn't clear right out of the box if so)
>> But then there needs to be a "Design" window
>> that you toggle back and forth with the "Code".
>> That's the way all the Borland products work,
>> and what's missing here.
>> Code editing - already exists
>> Image creation - as mentioned before, also many tools
>> and it's unlikely to be done inside a Laszlo IDE
>> Animation - would be nice, but just a bit of bonus, and there
>> have been attempts to duplicate the many pieces
>> of Macromedia Flash/Flex/etc. I think *integrating*
>> to other tools would be much better.
>> Visual layout - that's the problem. That's *exactly* the biggest
>> need. If you could get what I saw of the IDE4laszlo
>> I saw on a video clip working inside of Spket
>> it would be enough of a start. And I'm not
>> worried that DHTML via J/S isn't going to show
>> in design mode. I compare to a Visual Studio or
>> Borland product where programmatically changing
>> a widget's X/Y coordinates (for example) don't
>> show until run time either. That's par for the
>> course and not a problem. Just make sure the
>> visual editor can right click on a widget in
>> design mode and get to the associated code,
>> particularly the handlers and methods.
>> Those are my recent experiences. I hope that helps
>> explain at least one person's needs. Any and all
>> comments are welcome, and I can go into more detail
>> if need be.
>> (and I wouldn't say no if a kind soul fixed my IDE4Laszlo
>> issue so I could see what it really can/could do. But
>> given the comments I see around, I don't think I'm the
>> only one with issues)
>> Geoff Crawford Phone: (973) 361 - 4224
>> Innov8 Computer Solutions, LLC FAX: (973) 537 - 6946
>> 711 Route 10 East, Suite 204 Email: geoff at innov8cs.com
>> Randolph NJ 07869 Web: http://www.innov8cs.com
>> Progress Blog: http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/database/progress/
>> Take a Step Up to StepUp Accounting
> And /usr/games/fortune futurama says:
> Calculon: I've seen plagues that had better opening nights than this.
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