Kanso to bootstrap, Couch-docs to learn how to write CouchDB applications.

Posted by Elf Sternberg as database, programming

One of the things I dislike most about some web frameworks is how they try to hide the machinery from your prying eyes.  In some cases, this can be downright necessary– the mind that invented Django’s ORM is clearly a twisted evil genius from Mars who knows more about metaprogramming than I do, although I have learned a lot from reading his code.  But the ORM isn’t hidden, it’s right there in the /db folder.

Kanso is a toolkit for rapidly building out Javascript applications that run on the CouchDB server.   I like the basic idea of it, and it comes with a primitive administrative interface that’s something of a cross between Django’s admin and a Rails scaffold– it gives you ready access to a document and its properties, as long as you’ve defined those types clearly The Kanso Way™.  I’m not sure I entirely like “The Kanso Way”; I’m still trying to figure out how to integrate deep, complex documents with the Kanso Type manager, and how that relates to client-side utilities like Backbone or Scriptcore.

But if you want to really understand what a design doc looks like, the perfect tool is Couch-Docs, a tool (written in Ruby, alas) that can dump your design docs, and then re-upload them, all in one nice, compete package.  It makes laying out a couchdb application an utter breeze.  Handholding is sometimes indistinguishable restraint, and that’s how I feel about Kanso and CouchApps in general.  Couch-Docs is CouchApp development for grownups.

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June 2011
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