inessential by Brent Simmons


Eric Soroos suggests that CERT is channelling Frank Zappa.

Scott Hanson, on getting Frontier running with WINE, says It worked... better than you said it would!

QubeQuorner: Week in Review.

***More about .asp pages and Linux

Karl Martino responds to my comments yesterday about scripts embedded in HTML files stored on disk. "ASP, on it's own, is definitely not a content management system. But you can build one with it," wrote Karl.

Jay R. Ashworth also responds. (Scroll down to the Tradeoffs... headline). I think this may be a sort-of religious issue. My experience tells me that putting everything in a scriptable database -- text, templates, prefs -- is necessary for an excellent content management system that serves dynamic pages. Jay disagrees, prefers to store at least some content as files in a file system. There's alot of middle ground here, by the way: some of our Manila sites store their picture files on our Apache servers -- since Apache is super-good at serving static files. Another example: Scripting News is edited via Manila, but the home page is written to disk and served by Apache running on a Qube.

When Jay talks about choosing the underlying platform, I'm not sure if he's referring to the OS or the webserver, or both. If you follow this weblog, you know that we're working on a Linux version of Frontier. You probably also know that Frontier is itself a webserver -- but you may also know that it's capable of running behind other servers on Mac and Windows. Will it, like Zope, be capable of running behind Apache on Linux? We haven't investigated yet, but it's of course a possibility. So imagine a possible future: you're running Frontier on Linux behind Apache. By Jay's criteria, I think you've got the right platform. However, you're still storing your pages in a database, not as files on disk -- and I think that's the crux of the issue, not UNIX vs. NT vs. Mac or Apache vs. everything else.

Update 7:42 p.m.: Jay Ashworth asked me a very good question via private email: with Frontier running on Linux, how do you use RCS for version control, tracking changes, etc.? (Or: how do you use any UNIX tool x that understands the file system but doesn't understand Frontier databases.) That's an excellent question. The short answer is, you don't, unless someone were to teach RCS how to read Frontier databases. But then there are lots of other tools that would need to be taught the same thing.

But here's my counter-question: What if I'm a Mac Frontier user, but the server's running Frontier on Linux? Yes, there are Mac clients for some things (maybe even CVS), and there's always telnet. But if I'm using Frontier, it's as easy as putting my cursor on the object and selecting Check Out from the WebEdit menu. You don't even need to know what OS the server's running.

So Jay's title "Tradeoffs..." makes sense to me now. There are trade-offs involved in running on Macs, Windows, and Linux machines.