templating, forms, navigation, etc.

part of the ArsDigita Community System by Philip Greenspun
This document was written on February 28, 2000. It reflects months of wrangling with trying to find the right abstractions for a whole range of stuff including Here are some good high-level goals:

Development Styles that We Want to Support

Form Generation and Processing

We need metadata inside Oracle (so that it is available to all clients, whether AOLserver or other) that, for any column in the database says We need a full Java API to these metadata, e.g., "give me the empty form" or "give me a form stuffed with the user's previous entries" or "validate these inputs for me".

For data that we're trying to collect from the users, we need a little language in which to express

Note that the "user needs to be asked" implies that we have some kind of log so that we don't keep reasking a question that the user has refused to answer. We want a full PL/SQL or Java API to this stuff.