ParTecs Weblog

Ajaxifying Archetypes

March 14th, 2006

Plone has had Archetypes for ages. Being someone from the pre-Archetype era who has hand rolled them a couple of times (TTWTypes and Formulator ring a bell, anyone?), AT was to me the greatest invention since sliced bread. I have used them in a few applications, and being able to whip out objects and forms and write code just to specify *business logic* was such a joy to behold!

So it causes me endless heartburn when some slick noobie comes along and shows me how she can generate content types on the fly with this great new framework called Cowboy or TurboCam or something without writing any SQL. Now you can bet your ZODB that what I would really like to do is tell her how I have been doing this even before she learnt to type [Ctrl-D] to exit from the python prompt. And then redirect her to all those Archetypes screens which function on less than 20 lines of code – most of which is actually data and may be a little validation. Instead, I blink. And you know why! Its that darn 4 lettered word that my Archetypes still can’t do. My Archetype screens are so hopelessly static and plain behind the times. If only we could have the Ajax-y sexiness of some of those frameworks.

So what do we need to do? Well… I head off to the google toolbar. AJAX+Archetypes. Only 2 relevant hits. Gnubi is working on FAT AT product. No releases yet. And Balazs Ree has a proposal which is basically at the level of the individual widgets.

But I am thinking along a different direction. Which is, basically eliminate the view/edit duality imposed by the templates. Instead, you have a single tab which will allow you to both view and also edit the page if you have the right permissions and save it — and all happens with the same URL and page template so it is ripe for AJAX-ification.

I am going to investigate this with the help of some good friends. Will keep you posted.

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