Posted by Elf Sternberg as personal, site administration

Hi. For those of you who are new to the Elf Sternberg brand, allow me to introduce myself. I’m one of the curmudgeonly old men of the Internet and I started my first blog around 1991 (no, that’s not a typo, you young whippersnapper). Most people know me as a adult science fiction and fantasy writer, but in my day job I’m a professional web application developer for Isilon Systems, a developer and manufacturer of serious storage solutions for streaming and unstructured digital media.

I won’t be talking about Isilon’s core business. The closest I’ve ever come to kernel hacking was adding the Microsoft Sidewinder joystick without force feedback, gameport version, to the Linux kernel’s driver’s list of recognized joysticks so I could play Freespace, and I’ve never been a filesystems guy.

Instead, I’ll blog about what I do: write HTTP-based application servers in Javascript and Python. My two major tools of choice is this battle are Webware and ExtJS.

Webware is an old-school style application server written in Python. It resembles Webobjects in a lot of ways, using the traditional appserver → application → servlet static container model and a session → transaction → request/response dynamic model. I like it because it’s very easy to learn, fits your brain as Pythonistas like to say.

Ext-JS, on the other hand, is a huge, sprawling Javascript library of data containers and widgets that gives you an incredible amount of control over the user experience.

For the next year, I’ll be blogging about my experiences as a web developer. Many of the posts will be about the best pratices I’ve learned coding with Python and ExtJS. Some will be about other things: I do WordPress consulting for several local politicians where I live, as well as Ruby and Rails and we’ll talk about integrating ExtJS with Rails later. I will talk about database integration, but only to the extent that I need to; I don’t consider it an interesting part of my business, and we never work with SQL at the office; the applications I write are all about controlling an appliance, and my data models are usually C libraries giving me a view of the underlying hardware. I might even take a sidebar into writing an Apache extension and some other C projects. But for the most part, we’ll be talking about HTTP-based application servers and coding for them.

I’ll try to post at least once a week with something major. Right now, I’m putting together a presentation I hope to be showing at OSCon. At first, it was going to be entitled “How much I hate Cheetah,” but it’ll be about a Python-based templating engine I developed a few years ago that we call DWIM: Do What I Mean Templating. I’ll be posting a few times about it between now and June.

Comments will be screened, mostly to avoid spammers. Sorry about that.

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May 2008
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