Wednesday, June 29, 2005

SISCWeb -- Initial Thoughts

Just spent some time playing with SISCWeb and I'm really impressed. Not only was I able to get their demos running in just a few minutes, I was able to fairly easily talk to a Postgres database and have a small application run queries against it. In fact, the hardest part of the process was getting my servlet container to load the Postgres JDBC Driver - I was bit by a classpath issue, of course. I think SISCWeb has done a great job of giving you an environment where you can author continuation based web apps. I would be very surprised if in 5-10 years from now we didn't all our web apps in this way. Once you've seen how easy it is to reason and develop a continuation based web app, it's hard to go back to the old fashion ways of maintaining state yourself. What's nice about SISCWeb is that it glues together a bunch of very cool packages so you end up with a really powerful environment. You get:
  • Everything that comes with Java, from the standard JDK, to JDBC and any other Java API you would want. The whole thing runs great under Tomcat, though I would assume it would run fine under any Java Servlet Container.
  • A fully compliant and sophisticated Scheme interpreter. The whole standard is implemented, so you get it all
  • Useful utility classes for generating HTML, talking to a JDBC databases and other utilities that are useful in a web environment
  • Access to all the SRFIs
  • Ability to make use of SISC's advanced features, such as generic/oo programming and a nice module system
  • Interactive development through a REPL, no need to restart servers, just redefine the code you wish on the fly
I'm still trying to appreciate some of the above features - but there's no doubt it's a useful environment.

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