[OT] Opinions about On-Rev
J. Landman Gay
jacque at hyperactivesw.com
Fri Apr 17 21:21:01 EDT 2009
Joe Lewis Wilkins wrote:
> I have found this whole subject so far over my head that I'm
> embarrassed. Can anyone sight some sort of reference that just "might"
> get me off of my desktop. I am soooo uneducated on this topic. Simply
> stated, what's this for, why is it needed and what does it let us do
> that we can do now? There MUST be others who are just as much in the dark.
It's kind of hard to explain if you don't create web pages or have a
familiarity with how they are written. But in a nutshell, web pages
written in pure HTML are static. Whenever you see a page that does
something dynamic -- buttons with different rollover states, data that
changes depending on live user input, dynamic content of any type --
those actions must be scripted into the page using a second, scripted
into the same page as the HTML code and the server interprets the
scripts and shows you dynamic content.
Up until now, anyone who wanted dynamic content on a web page had to
learn one of those other languages. What has just happened is that
Runtime has figured out a way to allow a web server to work with our
familiar xtalk, and allow that to be embedded into a web page instead of
one of the other languages. This is big stuff.
The server needs to be set up in a particular way to allow this, and as
of now, only Runtime has that setup in place. They have made their web
service available so we can take advantage of this new capability. Their
setup pretty much matches industry standards in terms of features and
capability -- except for this remarkable scripting feature which no one
else has. There is nothing to lose by changing to Runtime's web hosting
service, and everything to gain if you want to write web pages using the
language we know and love.
For years now, the Rev engine has always had the capability to work with
a server as long as it was set up as a CGI service. This is a
complicated and tedious task in general, but once it was set up it works
well. (This method isn't going away, by the way. It will still be
functional for those who want it.) However, with the new HTML-integrated
capabilities, CGIs are no longer needed. You can write HTML and Rev
script in the same web page and your users will see content based on
whatever your scripts do. You don't have to worry about any of the
complexities of CGIs because none of that matters any more (permissions,
engines, Apache installation, missing libraries, line endings, etc. All
Anyone who's had to work with the old-style CGIs will find the new
method liberating. One of the hardest things to do was debug a CGI; it
was very much like working with HC version 1.0 where the only way to
know what a variable contained was to put its contents into the message
box. If you got a script error, it was up to you to figure out the
problem, because the clues were sparse if they existed at all. That's
all over with now. RR provides a live debugger that lets you step
through the scripts on a web page just as though you were working in a
stack. That alone is worth the price of admission for web page authors.
For me, I haven't seen such a cool thing since I was gobsmacked by the
ability to run a stack from a remote server in one line of script.
Jacqueline Landman Gay | jacque at hyperactivesw.com
HyperActive Software | http://www.hyperactivesw.com
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