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Anyone done web development using an obscure language?
Not PHP, Perl, Ruby, Python, Java, C# etc.

 6:46 am on Oct 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have read a few articles over the years about people using less popular languages and platforms to develop web sites/web apps. There are at least two variants on this: a less popular language on its own platform (e.g. Racket), or a less popular language that can use an existing platform (Clojure, Scala).

Has anyone done this? Was it in recent years where less popular languages suffer more from the lack of web frameworks and libraries? Do you think (in retrospect) it was the best way to go?



 8:37 am on Oct 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Oops. I thought you were asking about the problems of maintaining web sites written in Cornish or Atahualpa or Burushaski.


 2:53 pm on Oct 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Not what I had in mind, but it sounds like an interesting topic as well.


 4:11 pm on Oct 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

My primary website is pure html code, generated by a custom application written in ObjectPAL (Corel Paradox's language).
(not sure if that's what you mean either :-)


 6:21 am on Oct 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

It is very much the sort of thing I meant. It is a completely unexpected answer, and all the more interesting for that.

I imagine it works quite well if you want to store your content in a Paradox DB.

I assume the reason for doing it that way is that you either like Paradox/ObjectPAL, or you wanted to turn a legacy database into a website. If its the latter do you think it was preferable to migrating the data (with the benefit of hindsight)?


 9:00 am on Oct 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

the first web application i developed was using tcl for the cgi programming and tcl/tk for the gui.

while tcl is somewhat obscure it is effectively somewhat similar to developing in perl.


 11:58 am on Oct 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Tcl is more readable than Perl in some situations. I still use Tcl for some of the backend processing on my main site. Some of those scripts are around 60k lines of code. I've also used Tcl to publish static website content from databases on a few sites.



 2:17 pm on Nov 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I used to like TCL a lot.

I wrote a custom CMS and, in a fit on NIH, a light weight web server in it (lots of people have done the latter, and there is a long list of our efforts on the TCL wiki).

I also used a lot of simple TCL scripts - one called a latex to html converter and did a bit of processing of the output to generate a static site.

The lack of libraries or a web framework eventually drove me to Python.

TCL used to be a major scripting language, now its obscure. Its a pity in some as it is readable, flexible, has very fast regular expressions, and a helpful community.


 6:50 am on Nov 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Tcl is more readable than Perl in some situations

Only "some"!? You must be used to Perl written by very disciplined developers.

Mr Bo Jangles

 8:25 am on Nov 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have used HTML/OS for web apps for a decade and love it.


 6:57 pm on Nov 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

I used S&H Computer's TSX-32 and it's TPL programming language for some of my first web apps back in the early 90's.




 8:46 pm on Nov 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Long ago I wrote one site with Visual Basic 6 compiled into a series of .dll files. The requested page would do all the heavy-lifting in VB6 (with MS SQL Server as the DB) then pump out the page as HTML/CSS/Javascript. The site was always wicked-fast, especially under a heavy load, but it drove my sysadmin crazy because it required a lot of tweaking to keep the server running.


 8:49 pm on Nov 4, 2012 (gmt 0)


It's mostly because it's an old website :-)

The Paradox version began in 1999. At the time there were few suitable databases (especially one's with a good development language). (Plus I had some experience already with Paradox.)

Now many years later, I have a huge code base (25,000+ lines of code) that generates a website that is about 50,000 pages.

When data is changed (updated at least a few times a week), a flag is set in the data. The code then creates the webpages that are new or have changed. Then I just upload the new pages onto the web site.

(So the site is dynamically created, but statically served.)

Eventually I'll have to move to a different platform - but I dread the change since I'll have to re-create the code in whatever new platform there is.

The data exists in several dozen highly interrelated databases - due to the nature of the data. Which works out well for the website, allowing obvious cross-references to become links.


 10:26 am on Nov 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

That IS a lot of code to re-write. A newer platform may take a lot less code to replicate the functionality, but its still going to be a fair amount of work!

Of the five people in this thread who have used an obscure language, three of us have used it to generate a static site. Five is not statistically significant, but it is suggestive - if you are generating static HTML you do not need things like authentication, routing, CRUD etc. existing solutions for which would be an advantage of a more popular language.


 12:11 am on Nov 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

One big advantage to serving static pages is not having to worry about security in the same way.

The core of my project - the thing I consider most important - is the databases (and the code to generate the webpages). Since neither of those is ever accessible on the internet, my security concerns are minimal.

Plus, the website itself if just serving static HTML files - so no need for all of the fancier extensions that include so many bugs and constant updates.

Another advantage is disaster recovery. I can have my site up and running on pretty much any flavor of server in a matter of hours - just have to upload the files.

If I had to recreate the site from scratch, I could do it within a day (as long as the databases and code is intact).

(Needless to say, I backup the databases and code frequently :-)


 5:09 pm on Nov 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think I could restore every site except by blog (which is not really critical) very quickly, but I hope I never find out!

Everyone except, Bo Jangles with HTML/OS, seems to have used obscure platforms a long time ago, or be using them for historical reasons. A near consensus on sticking to mainstream for ll new projects.


 12:19 am on Nov 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I dread the change since I'll have to re-create the code in whatever new platform there is

Detour via a text editor with good RegEx support and you should be able to do most of it with some global replaces.


 1:42 am on Nov 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

ObjectPAL is not similar to anything modern - it's roughly Pascal with database extensions.


 7:29 am on Nov 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Pascal seems to be still alive (at least Free Pascal seems to have a healthy community). How different is ObjectPAL?


 11:33 am on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

The biggest difference is all of the database functionality that is built in. (Which, of course, I use heavily.)


 9:59 am on Nov 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have decided to regard the obscure language and framework I was thinking of learning (Factor and Furnace) as strictly hobby stuff, and regard any real life use I get out of learning it as a bonus.


 6:06 pm on Nov 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I had the unfortunate experience of having to work with Lotus Domino ages ago... bleh!


 6:41 pm on Nov 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Lotus. In related news... [webmasterworld.com...]


 4:37 am on Nov 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

I remember a fair number investment banks and stockbrokers used Lotus for customer sites giving (institutional investors) access to research.

It was not obscure back then, but it is now! Rather like TCL, in fact.


 1:05 pm on Nov 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

Pascal ! Ive not heard about that in years !


 9:33 pm on Nov 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I once put a telnet widget in a single page that was TCL based and required the local use of a TCL interpreter engine.

Not a hardship for the ~48 users as they were all IRC operators and had TCL installed or would do so.

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