RailsConf: Mike Pence - Laszlo on Rails
Posted by Nick Sieger Wed, 28 Jun 2006 15:00:00 GMT
Mike Pence, professional web surfer, and Java free since March 15, talked about Sex, drugs, rock and roll or Laszlo on Rails.
Where are we going on the web?
- Google Maps, Yahoo Music Engine, Google Spreadsheets -- the web is looking more and more like a desktop application.
- “Web two oh” -- attention to design and more attractive interfaces
- User customization a.k.a. “Pimp my site”
- Use of rich media on the web, e.g., YouTube. It’s an expectation of the next generation of users that the web will be content-rich and an entertainment experience.
- The Holy Grail! Applications that require no downloads, are instant/automatically updated, are distributed.
- Pandora cited as an introductory example
- Mike gave a 10 minute overview of Laszlo using the Open Laszlo Explorer.
- Laszlo explorer shows you standard widgetry -- canvas, text, buttons, windows, forms
- The power of Laszlo starts to show with data sets, with convenient data binding utilities, an extensible object model, and a declarative style. Mike showed 10 lines of code with a checkbox that controlled the visibility of a window, without having to attach an event handler to the checkbox.
- http://www.openlaszlo.org/ has the 10 minute overview (explorer) and many other demos including LZPIX, which Mike demoed.
- The newest version of Laszlo has DHTML support that allows a flash app to be served as DHTML instead, with little difference. Laszlo gives you the power of one runtime that rises above browser incompatibilities.
Laszlo on Rails
- Install # install laszlo gem install ropenlaszlo rails laszlo-app && cd laszlo-app ./script/plugin install svn://rubyforge.org/var/svn/laszlo-plugin/tags/openlaszlo
- More info at http://laszlo-plugin.rubyforge.org/
Pros & Cons
- Pro: Rich possibilities
- Blogbox -- cross-site window
- Publish and subscribe for chat and collaboration, event-driven updates
- Pro: deep API
- Pro: in-browser development, like Seaside
- Con: Consumes resources
- Con: Accessibility, printability and searchability are not its strengths
- Con: mature, yet requires experimentation
- Con: performance can be an issue, especially on some older platforms
Store it away -- Laszlo is a promising technology, it’s free and open source it’s here today, and it appears to be getting good at serving standards-based interfaces. When combined with Rails’ increasing support for RESTian interfaces, the task of building compatible, dynamic applications should only get easier.