Web App Dev
November 21, 2007 10:19 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a fairly simple database driven web application environment / framework. Thinking of Turbogears.

I need to develop a web application that allows one to input professors and their publications and projects (within various categories), and returns many different views: General (with totals and averages), per professor, per year, per publication category, etc. Graphs would be nice, too. The whole thing should only be visible to logged in users (i.e.: admins or profs).

My first instinct is to roll my own using a framework, and I am learning Turbogears for this as I already know a some Python. However, it has crossed my mind that this is probably a fairly standard type of application, and there might be some more point-and-clicky sort of web-accesible database design environment that could save me a lot of heartache.

Does such a beast exist? Is there some other clearly easier / better choice?
posted by signal to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I'm pretty sure you could do this with Drupal, and a little tom-hackery.

Rolling your own using a framework might seem like a nice idea, but when you actually get down to it, you're still going to have to do heaps of coding. Not as much as building it from scratch, but still heaps.
posted by ReiToei at 10:43 AM on November 21, 2007


If you already have some experience with Python then take a look at Django. It doesn't get much better than that when you're talking about frameworks.

Do not write your own. I did that years ago and the amount of time I've wasted maintaining it when there are much better alternatives out there is very upsetting.

One of these days I'll switch, just a lot of work involved.
posted by purephase at 10:57 AM on November 21, 2007


purephase: what specifically would you say makes django better / easier than Turbogears?
posted by signal at 11:02 AM on November 21, 2007


Rails is another option; it's another web framework built around the whole MVC pattern.
posted by chunking express at 11:11 AM on November 21, 2007


It sounds like bug-tracking software or support software could be adapted to this purpose quite easily.

Trac (an enhanced Wiki, as I understand it) has good reporting tools and as it's really just a record of categorised work being done by various people, it has a lot of the features you need.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:58 PM on November 21, 2007


what specifically would you say makes django better / easier than Turbogears?

signal, the automatic admin app saves you a lot of work. It basically takes care of the whole back-end of your CMS for you, assuming all your users are trusted with every object in the database. If that's not the case you'll have to write a more-limited admin for those untrusted users that only gives them access to what they're allowed to touch, so it's not as huge of a win. "Admins and profs" sounds like the definition of "trusted user" to me though, so it seems like it'd be a pretty good fit.

Also, I hate the way TurboGears is in (seemingly) constant, alarming churn/flux. It seems like every month it's "now we're using this other template language" and "now we've changed ORMs".
posted by evariste at 3:18 PM on November 21, 2007


However, it has crossed my mind that this is probably a fairly standard type of application, and there might be some more point-and-clicky sort of web-accesible database design environment that could save me a lot of heartache.

Does such a beast exist? Is there some other clearly easier / better choice?


Oh ya totally. But I'd still rather use Django. But check it out, maybe you'll like it. It is free. Oracle Application Express
posted by evariste at 3:26 PM on November 21, 2007


signal, No real experience with Turbogears but quite a bit with Django and it is all positive. There are a bunch of comparisons (a search turns up a bunch) and no real clear winner.

Django is "point-and-clicky" friendly so it might be worth looking into. If you're willing to looks at another language then there is Ruby on Rails (for Ruby obviously) and CakePHP and Symfony for PHP.
posted by purephase at 5:18 PM on November 21, 2007


evariste: "assuming all your users are trusted with every object in the database. If that's not the case ..."

Unfortunately, profs should only be able to edit their own records, not everybody else's. So not all users are 100% trusted.

But check it out, maybe you'll like it. It is free. Oracle Application Express

That's sort of what I had in mind asking the question. I'll take it for a spin and see how it handles. Thanks!
posted by signal at 6:41 PM on November 21, 2007


signal, you might also be interested in DabbleDB. (This link is to the features page). It's a little more Web 2.0-feeling, and less "Enterprise-y", than the Oracle thing. One month free trial. 7 minute Demo.
posted by evariste at 6:58 PM on November 21, 2007


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