Sunday, July 30, 2006

Or maybe it was Philip Greenspun

Philip Greenspun is another prolific developer and author. He created the immensely popular web site and developed database-backed web sites back when that was cutting-edge, even writing a book about it, called Database-Backed Web Sites. I don't know if Philip came up with the subtitle himself, which is "The Thinking Person's Guide to Web Publishing," but it sounds like something that he would say. It's interesting that back then, someone was willing to publish a book just about interfacing web sites with databases. These days, of course you're going to integrate your web site with a database. The days of static web sites are pretty much over.

Using code that he developed in the early days of the Internet, Philip founded ArsDigita Corporation and produced the open-source ArsDigita Community System, beating pretty much everyone in the race to develop a reusable, extensible web framework. Interestingly, ArsDigita also suffered through a something-to-Java rewrite project following their decision to convert ACS over from Tcl. The Tcl version of ACS is now maintained as OpenACS. Meanwhile, Red Hat bought out ArsDigita, which, like every other Internet startup in 2002, was in dire straits, and the Java version of ACS became Red Hat CCM.

I gave Philip a credit on the photoSIG About page: "Though he doesn't know it, Philip inspired me to develop the photoSIG system and indirectly, through his books and writings, influenced the development both of that system and of photoSIG."


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