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minima: noSQL + noHTML + noJS

Traditional web frameworks comprise of an ORM layer over a DB, a templating engine and some HTTP dispatcher and session management. In my view, the first two are relics of the past and we can (and should) do without them, and the third should be greatly improved. Luckily, modern minimalist frameworks like flask get us closer to that, but there's still way to go.

The Vision: Snakes all the Way Down!

  • Websites should be service-oriented, exposing APIs instead of generating HTML pages on the fly. JSON API calls everywhere, by default.
  • Templating is a stupid thing: it's basically very limited, cumbersome, and impossible-to-debug form of function application. A template takes parameters and generates HTML: it's a function!
  • An HTTP server is ultimately a degenerate form of Remote Procedure Call (RPC) - it dispatches function names (URLs) to concrete functions, extracts parameters, and generally alleviates your code from the mess that is HTTP. It's time to realize it and think about it the way it realy is.
  • HTML is too low-level for us to mess with; we ought to be talking at a much more semantic level, that renders itself as HTML plus the required JavaScript.
  • JavaScript is a horrible language and we should strive to avoid any contact with it. We do this by putting as much of it as possible into the framework. Semantic elements may generate their appropriate JavaScript when they render themselves to HTML, but the product should be pure.
  • ORM and SQL suck. A document-oriented database (e.g., mongo) would normally prove the better choice (unless you need really complex queries): if you choose to work in a dynamic language, why would you work with a static DB schema?

Web programming involves too many unrelated technologies that were stacked one on top of the other over the years (HTTP, HTML, JavaScript/CoffeeScript, CSS/Sass, JSON, AJAX, SQL, templating, CGI, ...). The purpose of minima is to reduce that mess to pure Python, as far down as we can go, given that these technologies are here to stay.