Yet another Web Framework for Smalltalk

September 19, 2008

Did this back in 2004-2005. Web framework prior to even knowing about then evolving web tech in Java, Ruby, PHP,.Net or any others.. Down the last two years realize how far the work I had done, had the concepts of  XML configurations/ Ruby on Rails like folder/code generation etc all these platforms have evolved on. Deep regrets, I did not dive in deeper, work smarter, push this into the world of open source then itself, limited as I was then by Visualworks licensing.  In Smalltalk, seaside unfortunately never has made it mainstream it deserved to be.

Plugin a workflow / Rules engine it could be different tool altogether. Modify the complexity of external XML configs to more code oriented debuggable configs. Work around the limitation if any of depending on smalltalk ssps,  re-engineering the original concept that was contemporary to Ruby RoR and much before the Groovy Grails.

The need is for a more drag and drop composition with minimal code intervention, yet fully debuggable as a code when required. Least and the essentials in XML configs, a folder structure to obtain flexibility of image, css, js handling.. Ah for the regrets of not sticking on with the drive I had then.. but even now, I still see in web tech gaps in reaching these goals fully. The cheese has not moved dramatically as yet, though RoR and Grails have their niche..



Re-visiting VM Plugin in VisualWorks

September 19, 2008

Hope to sometime soon revisit this VM plugin in VW ported from Squeak..  Posting this on to kick me to pick it off sooner than later..


Use a Smalltalk framework to write a code that gets converted to a C code , recompiled and pluggable back optimized to your Smalltalk code for those 10% of the code optimization you require…

OOPS: Revisiting it for a lec-dem

September 19, 2008

Having been asked to hold a lec-dem for the freshmen of IT unit, I realize there is always a huge gain in revisiting the basics.. For records I thought I better most this here..


Think of Architectural CAD:

  Started with the  Procedural lines, circles, arcs.. ,  added the capability of blocks and finally has gone Object Oriented with walls, windows, doors et als to visually display the simile in transition from procedural to object oriented and beyond..

Fun with Objects if you understand them well..
What is OOPS and what is not OOPS..
Specifications and structure of OOPS: a lil bit of history..
Evolving  OOPS for your needs:
    –Trapping requirements
    – Designing with OOPS
Visualizing and representing OOPS
     – Writing the code
     – Debugging and testing OOP code
     – Delivering OOP code..
Practical OOPS tips.. The best way to be a Zen master at OOPS..
     –All that you should do
     –All that you should avoid…
     –Somethings you can get away with.. Occassionally..
Is OOPS the cure-all methodology.. Alternatives and their terrains..
      –The way ahead to succeed with OOPS.. And meld it with other techniques..

The Banking Meltdown

September 19, 2008

I guess it is obvious turnaround for the rapacious financial institutions, which have created the artificial veneer of business operation based on derivatives, paper instruments, bloated remunerations for unreal world of financial juggleries.  The ripple effect now threatens to be the worst situation to be in for years known in the past. How far would this boil down to a jobless market across all segments, all industries is going to be visible in 3-6 months. Global impact would be equally severe for those who have seen massive growth in the last 3-5 yrs in any part of the world..

Old world order of low risk, safe bets may seem to be paying off for many in the world. For a connected flat global world, the effect is sure to be immediate and deeper than ever before. There is lot more to speculate on how many more companies will go under, how many jobs will be taken off… the pessimists and the optimists can vary largely on it only on the volume but agree on its going deep south.. well and sure. “Bears” in the corporate world that can see benefit in this new world order would have a new drum to beat and work with..

Go back to the basics, less jargon, keep it simple ( a la google.. or apple), work through to service/offer what is essential to the target consumer/client.  Being agile and be able to move and twist to the turns that are going to be the need to move ahead of the crowd in the next 3 yrs. Or stay put in an inertial mode.

IT world too has basked for too long on gains from personnel replacements with automation to reach a point of no signficant gains to offer than the “instantaneous” internet is already reaching for. It will have to work towards the manufacturing industry like longer cycles of investment, products offering something more than just workflow optimization. Whither to for IT services industry beyond 2010-2013 at best, till when the current contracts should expire.. Deep Think.. to survive beyond 2011.. Lots that can be done and still a long way to go before it can be really called a crisis in a real sense. Despite optimized efforts and least cost, the industry struggles to survive. Right now it has been an easy a travel to make its 30%+ growth and profits even till this year past.. down from highs of the past. How many of the unrealistic brainstorming, conferences, jargons, useless sales cycles can be dumped, is to be seen through the year and three ahead. Leave the assumptions of the past, and see the future as it is; significantly different than the past.

XSD based XML Exports Framework

September 10, 2008

For nearly all projects now it is a requirement to export all outputs as XML. Schema is well defined and has to be adhered to for the exports. In all but the current project requirements pre-existing or additional formats as in csv, fixed file formats too are required. If the schema defined is a known superset of the formats of output it would be easy to rake up a meta framework code that takes the XSD file as an input and creates the comprehensive scaffolding of the export code and leave a minimal section of methods to be filled into for the runtime data values and custom changes for exports in other formats being the only intrusive effort from development.

This is a basis for something like the servingXML project too a lot more generic and comprehensive dependent on a XSL like template being filled in and used.

In the context of a Smalltalk based application there is an attempt to work through this meta framework that yields a benefit of over 60x (execution time) over basic and amateurish attempt to construct XML nodes at runtime to export the XML file.

Rules Engine

September 10, 2008

There are now a galore of Rules Engines starting from the very basic  a_squeaky_rule_engine.htm   to the Microsoft’s, Sun JRules or JBoss, iLogs and the other 300 odd initiators of rules engine ( including in many cases the workflow). 

How about the need for a lean rules engine, simple/sequential that converts business decision to table based rules in its own native language integrated to the application rather than as a standalone process. For normal execution has a flow of value calculation through the Rules objects and for performance intensive operations is compiled and executed as a method once the server is up and running. Invocation first time penalty being a very minor charge for the efficiency of maintainability, scalability. This contrasts to maintaining a special Rules Engine server despite their optimizations will require overheads of performance even most enterprise applications cannot support. Why not have a lean rules engine that can support nearly all of the rules categorized as:

 * Business logic

 * Application logic

 * Workflow logic

 Yield an optimization that is integral and dynamically compiled to the application delivered and not standalone linked, unless it is a severely large enterprise application.

  Some thoughts that lead to this Lean Rules Engine development in Smalltalk… Comments and posts are welcome..

Business or management is bit like a poker game..

September 10, 2008

Try hard to know the opponents cards or guess if you can, for so little is governed by any logical or predictable knowledge base.  In no more than the simplest of a transaction, would logic, intellectual argument be the cornerstone of an agreement. All that goes into the mix that defines a deal, is everything about situational, logistical and above all a whimsical sense of reality (of the decision maker). How far the whimsical reasons are cloaked is an art the best of manager’s practice and at the highest level euphemistically calls it “intuition”.

But rarely has anyone won a game of poker with any sense of logical game plan.  It is a gamble with a good grasp of cards, its permutations and the psyche of the players and to that extent reasoning needs to be used but no more.