Saturday, February 04, 2006

TurboGears - It's all in your head

Turbogears is absolutely, positively, definitely, unquestionably completely amazing!

I started out with very rusty python (I haven't coded in it for more than a year and they've managed to sneak in new language features in the meantime) and only a cursory knowledge of SQLObject, CherryPy and Kid (the three main components of the stack). Around 4 hours later, I have an almost working Todo List web application and a grin on my face that could eat a banana sideways.

The only reason it took me 4 hours is because of the ramp-up time associated with learning any new technology. I had to stop every few minutes and read the docs, scratch my head a little and then continue. And the only reason the application is 'almost working' is because I've decided to extend the capabilities significantly and so I'll be re-writing it.

But pause to consider what I've just accomplished. I've got the canonical 'Hello World' of web applications up and running (well, almost) in less than half a working day and I'm so charged up about it, I'm already thinking of version 2. A whole SDLC compressed into half a working day! And the size of the code! The entire file is smaller than the Hibernate XML mappings I'd have had to write to get something similar in Java.

But the most important part of the experience is the pythonic characteristic of TurboGears.

You can hold it all in your head.

With most Java frameworks and ORMs, you're running to the docs every few minutes, every time. With TurboGears, now that I've done it once, I really don't have to go back to the docs at all; at least for the bits I've worked with. That's a real source of satisfaction and a major cause behind the speed boost.

Time to complete my next app of the same size and complexity? I'm guessing 45 minutes :-)

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