On Frameworks

I start to understand why there are so bloody many web application frameworks out there. I need to get a really basic website up and running fast. I have two choices: spend some time evaluating various frameworks that are actually about 70 times more complex than I need, learning how they work, and getting really pissed off at their various quirks, or run up my own really stripped down basic framework just as part of coding this custom app.

On the one hand, my own app isn’t going to do fancy scaffolding, or take much of the grunt work out. Hell, it doesn’t even do nice URLs yet. It’s not a lot more than an really basic ORM class that still needs work to make sure it does proper escaping of inputs. (Another couple of hours over the weekend, and it will do both those things, mind you.)

But on the other: it’s light, it does exactly what I need, and after 90 mins work, is already shaping up into things that will be included in the finished app. 90 mins into trying to use Cake, the off-the-shelf PHP framework I know best, I gave up, because I couldn’t get the fucking scaffolding to work even close to right. The sheer feature-completeness of it defeated me. Yeah, if I was planning a six week project, I’d probably use it. But I want this thing coded up in under 35 hours of work, if I possibly can, so 90 mins starts to be a significant chunk of time.

Anyone want to bet me that once I’ve done this site, I’ll turn to the same tools the next time I need a quick custom app? Anyone want to be that that I’ll improve them again and again? Anyone want to take part in a sweepstake about how long it’ll be before there’s yet another framework on the market?

OK, it’s unlikely I’d ever release it, because there are loads of other out there, and I have no interest in supporting something like that. But still, it’s pretty obvious how these things start.