Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.
Re: Demystifying Frontier
Author: Tom Fuerstner Posted: 4/22/1999; 2:13:07 AM Topic: Demystifying Frontier Msg #: 5182 (In response to 5176) Prev/Next: 5181 / 5183
Hi, I think it is more than necessary to demystify frontier, especially frontier 6. Because its new power resulted in a new complexity.I have been using frontier now since version 3 ( about 6 years ) i built automated prepress solutions for austrian and german newspapers, built several cd-roms with frontier functionality implemented inside so the apps could do remarkeable things. I built my very personal frontend to frontier first with Hypercard than Supercard and finally SK8 and used frontier as my personal online information desk for years.
So, i can say i know how to programm usertalk. But to get used to frontier 6 took me 6 days. frontier has become even more powerful than ever and more complex than ever. the last day i was muddeling through the complete main-responder code, the very many prebuilt parametertables and so on. this was a completely new experiance for me: not beeing able to understand the new frontier verbs, scripts and structures right away from the beginning.
many problems arose from the fact that i work behind firewalls and proxies and that i am sitting behind a computer in europe. I had and still have so many broken downloads, especially corrupted downloads of the new server-guest-databases. The real bad thing is that most of the time i even don't know that i work with corrupted root-files. They just lack some tables but beside this the work fine. this drove me mad.
another thing is that even though dave's prooven dislike of object-oriented datastructures, frontier with its main-responder-classes and its very proprietary outline-driven-inheritance has finally become an object-oriented database with scripting functionality. now i am wondering wether it wouldn't be the right time to further develop usertalk to an OO-language.
As used from smalltalk development i found myself jumping from the members-root to the discussion-root to the htmlinterfaces-root templates, examing their builtin code, jumping again to the mainresponder-verbs from their back to the members-root looking for some code fragment. then further along to the mainresponder-root studying the setcookie-verb, wondering where the cookie parameters might be set, later traveling deep down the outline ocean to the tcp table to find a way how to deal with my proxy-problems.
Yesterday in the evening i found myself sitting in front of my screen, a little bit tired but happy that i mastered the new frontier. But i was also thinking about how to make the power of frontier more haptical (touchable)and less geek-ish.
last year i worked together with hannes wallnöfer to combine frontier with OODBs under unix and WinNt. i think this year i will make usertalk objectoriented and give it a new direct manipulation interfaces.
how beautiful it is to have a tool that challenges you and makes you more productive at the same time.
thanx and by, tom
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