[Catalyst] Why scaffolding? Validation and Learning

Zbigniew Lukasiak zzbbyy at gmail.com
Thu Aug 17 17:59:59 CEST 2006

Dear all,

First I hope Matt shall excuse me for restarting the discussion here - but
I'd like to  reach more Catalyst users then the limited number of IRC

I would like you to imagine you in the position of a developer that has some
idea for a web project, thinking about trying a new web programming
framework.  There are many to choose from, or he can also go the simple way
and use CGI.pm or develop something for his own - how would you decide?
Every framework is lots of code, lots of documentation so it's not an easy
task. After reading those mountains of manuals you can discover that some
limitations make the framework not really fitting to your project (some
related thoughts in http://www.artima.com/weblogs/viewpost.jsp?threadˆ26).
This is that risk that scaffolding mitigates - you generate your application
with minimal effort and you have a working example tailored to your database
schema. You don't need to think if a example from the manual can be adopted
to your data structures - you have it adopted automatically.  This is the
first advantage of scaffolding - easy evaluation.

The other important advantage is that it helps in the learning process.  You
get a non trivial working example.  And again this example is based on your
database schema - from the starting point you at once know much about the
program.  You don't need to internalize some the business rules of some
unfamiliar application - the business rules are yours - so at once you can
start and play with it.  And a good scaffolding will give you much space for
simple but meaningful modifications to tweak and play with.

Of course there are also disadvantages to code generation. It is impossible
to come with a good schema to update the generated code when you release a
new version of the generator and we don't want the programmers who use the
scaffolding to be stuck forever to the version that they used the first
time.  One solution can be to limit the code generator to really most
trivial part and move all other logic into traditional libraries that just
happen to cooperate with the generated code - and this is what I try to do
with InstantCRUD.

Zbigniew Lukasiak
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