Practical Ecommerce

Software Frameworks

In broad terms, a software framework is a code library that is designed to facilitate software development. The idea is that all of the tedious, low-level details of creating a web application are already addressed in a reusable package. For a web developer, this means you can spend your time worrying about specific problems related to your application, and not the actual building of the code behind it. For example, a developer can quickly and easily access a database using a framework, rather than having to write all of the code required to accomplish this simple task. To get a better idea of how a framework can help, let’s take a look at two notable web development frameworks — Ruby on Rails and Prototype.

Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails, or Rails, is a framework for creating web applications with the Ruby programming language. Developed by David Heinemeier Hansson in 2004, Rails is designed to favor “convention over configuration,” which translates to mean that Rails makes opinionated assumptions about things in order to spare developers from having to make these decisions. It also means that Rails provides all of the classes and methods required to create a web application, such as accessing a database and much more. A developer can then take this empty framework and build upon it to create his/her own web application, without having to be an expert in the Ruby language.

Prototype for JavaScript

Prototype is a JavaScript library that can be considered a framework for creating JavaScript-based applications and user interfaces. Since JavaScript is a client-side scripting language (executed by the visitor’s web browser) there are a host of issues that developers need to take into account. The Prototype library, available for free from Prototypejs.org, allows developers to create complex JavaScript interfaces without having to worry about browser compatibility issues and other tedious details of JavaScript development. Prototype stems from the Rails community, but as a standalone library can be easily used with any server-side scripting language.

Different types of frameworks

In short, software frameworks can save developers time and heaps of frustration. Check these links to learn more:

Brian Getting

Brian Getting

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  1. Legacy User October 25, 2007 Reply

    Don't forget Perl with its extensive code repository, CPAN. It's a fantastic source of Perl code for all types of projects.

    — *John Hargrave*

  2. Legacy User October 28, 2007 Reply

    Check also the new framework for Ruby: MERB (http://rubyforge.org/projects/merb). It's supposed to have better performance than RoR, and it compliments it, but havent tested it yet.

    — *Hugo Campos*

  3. Legacy User April 27, 2008 Reply

    For those of you who are most familar with MVC and PHP, checkout a great php framework: http://www.zendframework.com

    — *rodlabs.com*

  4. Legacy User June 10, 2008 Reply

    Cake has zero license information on their site. I downloaded the zip file to see the license and the file was corrupt. Come on developers, put some info on your site for people who haven't heard of your project.

    — *Jeez*