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Scaffolding: a true wow factor device

posted under category: ColdFusion on March 16, 2006 at 1:00 am by Nathan

I've been thinking about frameworks a lot lately, if you couldn't tell. Something that really struck a nerve in my original post, for me, was Ruby on Rails' Scaffolding. The idea is pretty simple. In 1 line of code, a developer can spit out a form page that simply and easily matches up with a database table. It creates, in the background, an entire CRUD application, just like that.

I would venture to say that this is the driving force for RoR. It's popular because it greatly eases the prototyping phase, and gets developers a good start on creating their real web site. Scaffolding is why people say "wow" when they look at Ruby.

Now let's talk ColdFusion. We have got, pretty well, everything short of this one scaffolding area, at least as far as the public domain open source framework community. Why is that?

There are a few answers. For starters, we're afraid of scaffolding. We have it in our heads that we build enterprise applications, and scaffolding (as well as automated data abstraction layers, some frameworks, etc) take the enterprise performance and stability away from us. Maybe it will. Maybe we won't trust the code it can create.

Another reason is just simply that no one has done it right yet. Either it hasn't been open source, or it just looked and felt wrong or unusable, or it couldn't be customized right, or whatever. Nobody has done it right. Not yet. Any attempts have been and killed off for lack of interest.

I suppose this is where my call to action would sit, so without further ado... It's time, ladies and gents, to embrace automatic form and site generation, though in an obviously more CF way. We can do it better. We can put the Rapid back in RAD.

So, 2 things to ponder... how do we do it, and what do we call it?

More on this subject later.