[erlang-questions] Drupal cloan anybody?

Joe Armstrong <>
Thu Feb 26 13:14:00 CET 2009

The other day my son wanted to build a web site ....

He's no programmer - but he can point a mouse and click.

He showed me the kind of stuff he wanted. His university has a web
site and he can administer bits
of it by pointing and clicking ...

To cut a long story short ..... drupal

The idea is nice - Jim User knows nothing about web sites, but can
fill in a menu and click a button
and you get a website.

I thought I'd play with drupal ... bought a book .... read it ...
(well skimmed through it)

Play time - http://bitnami.org/ - fantastic ( a single click downloads
Execute one shell script and fill in one form and we're up and running.

If you don't know what bitnami is stop reading this message and go take a look

(bitnami is apt-get install XYZ on steroids - it gets all the bits you
need *and configures everything*
in a couple of mouse clicks)

WHY DONT WE PACKAGE YAWS+MNESIA+COUTCHDB etc in a similar manner to the bitnami
packages? - make it *really* easy to get started.

(I see a lot of mail from people who have tried to gets started with
yaws/mochi/couchDB etc and fail
 or who have to search for info and fail, or who write tutorials on
how to install stuff 'cos it difficult -
this is *just like me* - I have big problems installing stuff (like
mysql) that I don't know well - it takes
a long time to make stuff work if you do not understand it)

What is drupal?

     templates + forms + database + plugin architecture + way of
working + report generator

Well we can do most of these things - I've just made a javascript
thingy to make forms - we could use
mnesia/couchDB/dets/filesystem as a database - we need some kind of
templating (I've done this as well)
need a web server (mochi/yaws/...)

We could cloan the drupal architecture - in essence the appendices to
the book I bought contain the database schemas that power Drupal so
most of the hard work is done - in a sence a data base schema
is a form (almost).

I think it might be fun to try and make a bitnami type distibution
that packages a LYME stack
(Linux Yaws Mnesia Erlang) - (or Mac Mochi CouchDn Erlang) then build
a menu/table viewer layer on top - then build some apps on top of

If the basic infrastructure was Webserver+database+erlang+menus+table
viewer then building
an application on top of this might be a simple job.

(The bit I'm missing is a table viewer in a browser, something like
the module tv that runs with
AJAX calls in a browser - and that has a few nice js effects)

Another problem that needs to be addressed is multi-platform packaging
- how can we package
this for linux, windows, os-x and "the cloud".

This might make a nice community project - we need some specialist
knowledge here in the following areas:

            - web servers (think yaws, mochiweb)
            - ccs + html templates (think pretty designs)
            - data bases (think mnesia, couchdb) (or even backends to mysql)
            - javascript (think, fancy forms, AJAX, jquery, pretty
effects, JSON)
            - packaging (like bitnami)
            - Instant messaging (xmpp, ejabberd) etc.

Then we need people who want to build domain specific apps

          - bulletin boards
          - blog engines
          - mashups
          - cms
          - bug trackers

The latter group should be presented with a uniform API towards the platform

To the question is anybody interested? - I expect the answer to be yes
- but how can we organize this?
Can we have volunteers? - who does what on which machine?

All comments are welcome

/Joe Armstrong

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