Hey, That's Pretty Jifty, er, Nifty

by Curtis Poe

These days it seems like everybody and their dog wants to create something like Ruby on Rails. While there are a number of competitors out there, the only one I have any experience with is Catalyst, written in Perl. I had a commit bit on that project once and it looks really promising, but it's "some assembly required" (or at least, it was last time I checked). It has an overwhelming number of options and tries very hard to not tie your hands at all. It has a great dispatching action, but in the end, if you're new to Catalyst, or worse, new to Perl, the number of different options and how to hook them together can seem daunting. Once you get them working, though, Catalyst is pretty fun.

For various reasons, I've moved on from that project, but the idea of "just get it done" is very appealing to me. Since I'm primarily a Perl programmer nowadays, when I saw that Jifty had been released, I was pretty excited. I know Jifty's primary architect, Jesse Vincent, and have a lot of respect for him, so that helped me be excited even though Jifty is yet another web application framework. (It's also worth noting that Jifty is put out by the makers of RT, a very popular request tracker, so these folks know a good thing or two about progamming.) However, Jesse might not like me mentioning Rails and Jifty in the same blog post since Rails isn't even mentioned in the Jifty docs. To be fair, Jifty is not a port of Rails and doesn't pretend to be. It's just your basic AJAXified full-stack continuation-based Web Application Platform. Hmm, how can I make this not boring? I know, I'll write this blog entry while I work through the tutorial. Something has to break, I'm going to do something stupid, or some other problem will arise.


2006-08-19 20:04:10
After reading this article I gave Jifty a try too. Very nice indeed. I absolutely love the easy model setup :)
The only thing I don't like so far is the mixing of markup and programming in the templates (and the Mason syntax is making my eyes bleed).
2006-08-22 19:34:40
Sadness! I wanted to try also but ...
$ cpanp -i Jifty
Installing Jifty
WARNING: This key is not certified with a trusted signature!
Primary key fingerprint: AB4A 62CF 1A1A 119A 0462 39D6 122F 5DF7 108E 4046
Not in MANIFEST: doc/._jifty-dispatcher.graffle
==> MISMATCHED content between MANIFEST and distribution files! <==
[ERROR] Signature check failed for module 'Jifty' -- Not trusting this module, aborting install

Error installing 'Jifty'
Problem installing one or more modules
I had to build and install Jifty by hand. How archaic ;-)

2006-08-23 15:24:16
I recently tried out Jifty and decided I was not ready to use it for anything real (awesome name though). Here are my main complaints.

1. Had a hard time installing. Didn't try CPANPLUS, though.

2. I was getting a rather cryptic error message when trying to customize the tutorial templates. Turned out to be the $m I had created. Apparently $m is used for the Mason handle, or something. Bad form, IMO.

3. The automatic creation of *Collection modules bothered me somehow. Just a little too AutoMagical, for my tastes I guess.

4. I wanted to do nifty stuff like Autocomplete but couldn't find any understandable documentation.

2006-08-26 01:58:25
Inspired by perlcast i would have liked to try out WebGUI from plainblack. On OS X i was unfortunatly unable to install it with the wre.
I tried out ***** "ready to use" for OS X and was up and running in no time.
I would readily go back to perl but for the time being things seem to be simpler and faster with other solutions. Especially for the installation/configuration department.
And i hate to say that.

Furthermore i don't like that "the other guys" will be on the standard installation of leopard, while "we" will have to struggle to even install an up to date version of the basic language.

2006-09-17 10:15:33
Liked the model setup too.
The installation was "somewhat painfull" :-(
The documentation was "somewhat lacking" :-|
Concerning the Mason templating... well.. the less said the better!

All in all an interesting project but not quite ready for prime time.

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