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Re^2: Tiny Frameworks

by Ovid (Cardinal)
on Sep 30, 2007 at 16:52 UTC ( #641783=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Tiny Frameworks
in thread Tiny Frameworks

While I knew my post would be controversial, the distinction I'm not seeing from people is the dividing line between "library" and "framework" (in the same way, perhaps, that many cannot define "pornography" or "enterprise code"). Perhaps I'm being a bit slow, but the only significant difference I see between our definitions of "framework" is that yours is more verbose. There's a certain irony there :)

In my case, the "class of applications" this code provide a defined architecture for is "all OO applications." I'm not limiting myself to Web apps, ORMs, or something similar. So using less code to support a greater range of applications than most frameworks support somehow makes it not a framework? Believe me, I did my reading on this and I'm convinced that the word "framework" is misleading the hell out of people. It's a buzzword I want to smash under my foot.

So I provided what I refer to as a "tiny" framework. Imagine at some point that someone comes along and provides better method validation. Someone else comes along and adds integrated exception handling. Someone else comes along and adds a persistence mechanism. Someone else comes along and calls it a framework. At that point, some people jump on the bandwagon and some people sneer.

If the mere act of calling something a framework makes it a framework, then my code qualifies. If it doesn't make something a framework, then when in the above sequence of events did it become one and why? There's nothing magical about frameworks. There is no minimum size/complexity/buzzword requirement for them. However, it seems to me that in the back of people's minds they seem to think that a framework must somehow be big and restrict the scope of things that can be worked on -- of course, mine doesn't do anything for non-OO code, so maybe it qualifies? :)

Oh, and thanks for actually providing your own definition, unlike the Anonymous Monk above. I appreciate that :)


New address of my CGI Course.

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Re^3: Tiny Frameworks
by tye (Sage) on Sep 30, 2007 at 17:04 UTC

    Is pointillism a frame? Pointillism is a technique to use when making paintings. A frame gives you a structure to put your painting inside of. It is not a coincidence that the word "framework" contains the word "frame". BrowserUK's definition was not just "more verbose". It was also certainly less vague. It made great points about the type of structure a framework is.


    I'll either somewhat disagree with or somewhat augment what BrowserUK said by saying that his definition sounds like what I would call an "application framework" and there certainly could be a "library framework". But a "library framework" would need to define the "outer shell" and over-all structure of the library and provide ways for people to put different guts inside of that. And the term "framework" as applied to software is most often used to mean "application framework" (IMHO, of course).

    I'm unsure whether using "framework" for non-application frameworks is desirable / useful terminology. Certainly, people shouldn't be afraid of developing software in a structured manner, though.

    - tye        

    1 Update: Ooh, that could be taken quite harshly; like I was saying Ovid is worse than an idiot. That certainly wasn't my intent and I apologize. I certainly don't belive Ovid is an idiot. I think Ovid should re-read BrowserUK's description. And I made note of the fact that one anonymous reply re-stressing part of the distinction that I think Ovid may not have fully appreciated.

      In making the distinction between application framework and library framework, I can see the best counter-argument to what I've put forward. However, I still don't particularly see when something "flips the framework bit" from library to application. Had I merely posted something like HTML::TokeParser::Simple and claimed this was an "HTML parsing framework", people would have rightfully laughed at me. That would definitely be something I would call into.

      With what I posted, it's clearly a "frame" which constrains code. It seems to me, though, (correct me if I'm wrong) that the key thing you two suggest for what makes a framework is that there is a particular target application type the framework is designed to support. As a result, since my code is designed to usefully constrain Perl 5's somewhat simplistic OO model in predetermined manner, are you saying that someone unlimited scope of the code is what makes it not a framework? I would think that flexible constraints are what is desirable in a framework. After all, how many times do people complain that their framework of choice limits them too much?

      Mine (again, being a toy example), satisfies BrowserUK's definition "that it provides the structure of an application and leaves the application programmer to fill in the details of the specific application." I'm just stepping back and a bit and widening the class (no pun intended) of applications for this this structure is provided. As I asked elsewhere, if someone else adds integrated exception handling, someone else adds multi-method dispatch, someone else adds persistence, at what point can we call it a "framework"?

      (I see where this is going, though. Most people seem to think that if I don't have a specific target application type in mind, I'm not allowed to use the word "framework".)

      Update: And no worries. I didn't take the "idiot" comment as a personal attack :)


      New address of my CGI Course.

        Like others have said, this is not about definition, it is about commen sense and your willingness to back down after a bad mistake.
Re^3: Tiny Frameworks
by Anonymous Monk on Sep 30, 2007 at 17:41 UTC
    "controversial" means argurable, in this case, you don't have a point at all. By the way, BrowserUK didn't provide his definition, as that's everyone's definition, oh not yours obviously.

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