Updated: 11/5/2005; 6:10:37 PM.
Chris Double's Radio Weblog

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Soemthing I forgot to mention in my previous post about Backbase and Factor. The Factor file-responder does not serve the correct mime type for files with an extension of .css. I've fixed this in CVS or you can use the darcs repository at http://factor.modalwebserver.co.nz/factor.

1:59:22 PM      

I played around with Backbase, a Rich Internet Application framework, last night. It's basically a way of building applications using lots of client side XML and Javascript based scripts with Ajax. The nice thing about Backbase is it is all client side - you can use any web server. To get things working with the Factor httpd is trivial.

First you need to download the 'free for non-commerical use' Community Edition. This is a .zip file that contains the code that the web server needs to serve. Unzip the Backbase_community_dev_3.0.1.zip (or Backbase_community_prod_3.0.1.zip for a production/non-development system). The important directory out of this is 'Backbase/3_0_1'. You want to make this available to the outside world via the webserver. In factor I did the following:

USE: httpd
USE: file-responder
  "/path/to/Backbase/3_0_1/" "doc-root" set
  "backbase" "responder" set
  [ file-responder ] "get" set
  [ file-responder ] "post" set
  [ file-responder ] "head" set
] make-responder
This creates a responder called 'backbase' that serves all files from the specified backbase directory. So accessing 'responder/backbase/skeletons/basic-startup.html' will load the test file if you installed the development version.

For your own backbase based applications you'll need to change the paths in your HTML file to point to this responder. Using the 'basic-startup' as an example, the 'script' element would reference '/responder/backbase/bps/boot.js' and the 'onload' in the 'body' element would be "bpc.boot('/responder/backbase/');".

I've only just started looking at Backbase so am not very familiar with it. I'll look at 'backbasing' some of the Anonymous Todo List to see what its like to work with. A very simple first addition was adding a new format to the View capability. Appending "&format=backbase" to the View capability URL uses backbase to display the todo list table. This immdiately makes the todo list table sortable, as well as styling alternate rows to be different colors. An example list is here. The real test will be to see how well backbase can be used for the editing and creation of the lists.

1:37:52 PM      

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