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Re: [dist-obj] Why use Application Servers?
Stu Charlton writes:
> - I disagree with his larger argument that "you don't need application
> servers", but I somewhat agree that "application servers today are often
> more trouble than they're worth". This isn't to say I don't prefer them,
> just that there is more innovation needed in this arena.
This general comment is a couple of years old and in the context of
building database-backed web sites. One of his goals was to separate
the web content from the data content. And one of his points was that
application servers tie you into building pages with their tools.
Now, with Java Server Pages, it is possible to get the separation
Greenspun found lacking in earlier Java application servers. But I
agree that more innovation is needed, and more maturity in the tools
and the specs, etc.
> - Greenspun addresses technical issues well, but I think he's
> missing one of the more important problems with the
> "mod_perl+Apache or ASP+SQL server" vs. Application server
> approach. That problem is "the balance of flexibility,
> maintainability, and dynamism".
BTW his technology of choice is AOLServer/TCL/Oracle.
> Here's my beef: Rolling your own solution with mod_perl+Apache or
> ASP/SQL Server is fast up-front, but is hard to maintain. This is
> often due to the paradigm of development: Hard-coded SQL
> statements, hard coded business rules, messy design, etc.
In Greenspun's case he's got a huge library of TCL code. Not as
modular as Java, but a pretty dynamic environment where it is easy to
build and test. (And it doesn't have the EJB deployment cycles, etc.)
> The real cost of using these systems is time to market. The
> frameworks are young and buggy, they don't really add a lot of
> value on their own, and it seems that more and more experts are
> needed to get these systems up and running.
This was a large part of Greenspun's argument. He's got a small (but
growing) band of smart MIT hackers, a dynamic, an open source tool set
(AOLServer/TCL), and a fast, reliable RDBMS (Oracle); and is making a
ton of money with this combination. He's making so much money with
this combination that he cannot afford to stop to adopt bleeding-edge
technology! His web site is fascinating reading.
Patrick Logan mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Voice 503-533-3365 Fax 503-533-3220
Gemstone Systems, Inc http://www.gemstone.com
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