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Tools for developing Dynamic Web Sites

Posted on April 2, 2008. Filed under: compigiri, Computer, internet, technology, Web | Tags: , , , , , , |

I started developing web sites about an year ago. When I started out I did not know of any of the frameworks which make the job of developing a dynamic web site easy. I spent a lot of time finding tools which suited my need.

In this post I have listed the tools I use. It may help newbies by giving a reference point to start out their exploration.

LAMP Based

The base infrastructure is LAMP with a little deviation. I use LinuxApacheMySQLPython (instead of PHP).

For the uninitiated this means I run the Apache web server, with MySQL as my Database engine, on the Linux operating system. Python is used for generating dynamic web pages on the fly.

Framework for Dynamic pages

Django is used for generating dynamic web pages. Django lets you build high-performing, elegant Web applications quickly. Django focuses on automating as much as possible and adhering to the DRY principle. Django is very well documented and the online Django Book makes it very easy for anyone to start using Django quickly.

Frontend

I layout my pages using Blueprint. This is a CSS framework which allows you to have a great layout with very clean and simple code. List formatting is done with Listamatic. It provides a easy way to create great looking lists.

And of course there is AJAX. I use the excellent Prototype and Scriptaculous libraries to add Ajax to my site. These libraries make it easy to have cross browser compatible JavaScripts.

Conclusion

Using tools greatly reduces the work required to be done to develop a website. Choosing a framework/tool which suits you is the biggest task. Think carefully about what you want to achieve and what the tool provides. Use the one which matches your style and requirements.

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Django book

Posted on January 10, 2008. Filed under: compigiri, Computer, internet, Web | Tags: , , , |

The long awaited Django book has been released. The book is now available in stores and online at http://www.djangobook.com/en/1.0/.

Django is a high-level Python Web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design. Django was designed to make common Web-development tasks fast and easy. More info about Django can be found here http://www.djangoproject.com/.

Some reasons why you would want to choose Django as your Web framework:

Constructive reasons to use Django instead of Rails

ten reasons why you should use Django

I have been using Django for over six months now and can say that it is really easy to use and can get things done very fast.

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Comparison of REST Vs XML-RPC

Posted on October 30, 2006. Filed under: comparison, compigiri, Computer, internet, REST, Web, XML, XML-RPC |

Some background of the protocols

Rest protocol uses the HTTP GET and HTTP PUT methods to communicate with an application server. For example an API for a typical application would look like

http://example.com/users/
http://example.com/users/{user} (one for each user)
http://example.com/findUserForm
http://example.com/locations/
http://example.com/locations/{location} (one for each location)
http://example.com/findLocationForm

The client typically a webbrowser needs to construct HTTP requests and parse XML or HTML responses.

XML-RPC uses XML protocol to make Remote procedure calls to execute functions defined on objects, over the network.

An RPC application might define operations such as the following:

getUser()
addUser()
removeUser()
updateUser()
getLocation()
addLocation()
removeLocation()
updateLocation()
listUsers()
listLocations()
findLocation()
findUser()

The client needs to construct an XML request and parse the XML response.

Comparison

REST is an HTTP based protocol. Whereas XML-RPC is XML based.
IMO, REST being an HTTP based protocol works best when the client is a browser. XML-RPC on the other hand is XML based. So no assumption is made about the client which is going to use the protocol.
When the client is a browser, more efforts need to be put in by the client to use XML-RPC than to use REST.

An advantage of REST over XML-RPC is that each object has its own URL and can easily be cached, copied, and bookmarked.

Advantage of XML-RPC is that it is client independant. Any sort of client be it a desktop application a mobile application, a mashup using information from your site can easily integrate with XML-RPC.

Overall I think REST has its advantages in the browser world. But as more and more applications are using the web as a platform and accessing it through a variety of methods other than web browsers XML-RPC has and edge over REST.

Conclusion

Web services should provide and XML based interface like XML-RPC. The could also provide a RESTful interface built on top of XML-RPC to support browser based clients.

Web service implementation

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