Thanks Fernando! I really appreciate the time and effort you have put in
answering my query. My personality sides with Python but my hosting provider
does not support Django or Zope.
As you mentioned, if I have to use mySQL, isn't it better for me to go with
PHP+mySQL - easier to learn and deploy? Can I just start out with a framework
like Symphony instead?
In the future I'll have to use either Python or C/C++ for my business logic and
math. But the focus now is to get a prototype out, and if I'm doomed to change
everything later I might as well start with the easiest and most obvious. Is
this a viable starting point compared to what you have suggested? Or am I
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 2011 13:28:36 +0100
CC: n...@syndicat.com; email@example.com
Subject: Re: [Zope] Help in deciding approach to Web App
On 12/04/2011 09:52 AM, Sareesh Sudhakaran wrote:
Niels. Just to clarify:
my particular instance fall under an OODBMS model or a RDBMS
model (with ORM if necessary)?
Data modelling is a bit of an art and probably you could tackle your
problem with any approach. I think the important is for you to
figure out which model suits more your personality. No kidding.
I would personally start with the RDBMS approach considering only
the information you provide. Also, you can easily use zope in
combination with a RDBMS. When you read the book, beware that zope
has been changing from a "through the web" approach, to a typical
file system based approach, which is a loss, but it seems to be what
suits the needs of the zope developers.
The approach I use is:
zpt page -> (one) Python Script -> (some) ZSQL Methods ->
The zpt defines the layout of the pages, the ZSQL Methods retrieve
the data needed and the Python script massages the data to make it
suitable for the ZPT page. Or the other way around, from user input
in a form to storage in the database.
The advantage of the relational approach is that it is a very well
understood model and although different people will still come to
different models there are sufficient objective guidelines out there
(e.g., the normalization rules, and then criteria for when to
denormalise) to help you along. Furthermore, there are lots of
people in db-related forums that can help you.
Also, RDBMS provides you with a "standard" query language, SQL,
which plenty of systems and tools can use. In general, RDBMS gives
you the safest approach to keep your data and not loose it when you
need to migrate either the front-end or the back-end. This language
is very powerful and can avoid you a lot of low level programming.
However, plenty of people can not deal well with SQL because it
follows a paradigm so different from the classic imperative
programming. With SQL, you specify the "what", with the other
languages you specify the "how". The advantage of the "what" is that
you can do a lot of data processing in a few lines of code. The
problem with the "what" is that because you don't know the "how" of
it, you feel you don't have control and you are led to say the
language is "obscure" or "unreadable".
However, even if you are not comfortable with the "what" (you have
to try to know), you can still rely on an library like SQLAlchemy to
keep you a bit in the comfort zone of the "how". So instead of
learning SQL, you need to learn the API of a specific library. Your
choice. I recommend the first by far.
The real main issue with Relational is that it is a highly
structured data model. It allows you to keep high quality data but
if you don't get it right soon enough in the development cycle, some
later changes can have a huge impact in the application, requiring
rewrites. Furthermore, it works the best when you have many objects
with the same properties. If you have many entities all different
from each other (the tools in your case, maybe), then maybe a OODBMS
might be better. But here, there is no standard language, or
standard whatever. Perosnally, I would avoid as much as possible to
put data in something like ZODB (I use it merely to store and manage
The problem with your specific case is that it does not seem to be a
typical case of books and authors, which might be a risk for someone
without experience. The issue "Tool A might have only three fixed
rpms - 100, 200 and 500, but Tool B might have rpms from 20 to
2000", is indeed tricky. I suspect in general the needs of your
system will be too specific to be able to rely only on SQL queries.
You would need to put a lot of intelligence in the data (really
highly structured) and it might become unmanageable or not scalable.
I guess you will need to put a lot of intelligence in the Python
Script. So, the ZSQL retrieves the relevant tool data and then makes
the tool choice. The knowledge of the meaning of the attributes is
maintained in programming.
I should say I am not totally sure the Python Script is the best
approach here, in terms of management facilities. But Python is
surely a very good language due to its readability. However, you
might need to use External methods or a more typical file-system
based Python approach.
Or maybe you actually need to create a Domain Specific Language to
encode the intelligence needed for your tool selection process. If
your python code becomes repetitive, with patterns showing up, then
a DSL might be a good approach, but this might be too much
engineering for you at this stage. It looks like you are in a
typical CIM scenario and I remember handling a similar problem 20
years ago. I vaguely remember at that time to use custom graph
structures in C and the the intelligence was coded in Lisp/Scheme.
So, there is a big range of solutions to try out :)
If you have time, then the simple approach
zpt page -> (one) Python Script -> (some) ZSQL Methods ->
might be a good starting point. You should not need to spend much
time to implement a prototype using this approach. In the worse case
scenario it helps you understand better your problem and what could
be a better approach with little investment. Essentially you try the
classical approach and if it does not work well, either you are
doing something wrong, or you have a better understanding of your
needs and where to go.
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