In fact easy web programming languages are already here right under our noses. Awareness of easy alternatives to popular but more complex systems based on Apache, Perl, PHP, and Ruby and their frameworks is minimal because of marketing forces.
Technology is supposed to make our lives easier but this promise has not been delivered to web developers especially. The page centered way that web applications are created forces programmers to tie many parts together with extra code that isn’t needed in traditional (non-web) programming. The complexity of it all scares away the beginners and causes professional developers to be unproductive (and bald).
The popular web development culture advocates programming features like REST capability and stateless pages but these features actually complicate the development process. If you don’t know what REST is, or what stateless pages are then you’ll appreciate what I’m about to say: You shouldn’t need to understand those ideas to create web applications. There are some programming systems which abandon these ideas, and in so doing they make web development simpler and even enjoyable. They also do receive a certain degree of disdain by the “establishment”, but for those willing to think outside the box the benefits can be substantial for some kinds of web projects. This article will discuss some of these systems in short.
Seaside, http://www.seaside.st– The Seaside web development framework (also known as the Heretic web framework) is a system which provides almost a complete stack (provide your own database). It includes an HTTP server, automatic application sessions, transparent state management, live development and debugging, Ajax libraries and more.
Seaside developers code in the venerable Smalltalk language to build their applications. With a combination of an easy to use component-style page generation metaphor, support for cascading style sheets, and the powerful expressiveness of Smalltalk the Seaside developer enjoys tremendous productivity.
Seaside is an open source project with a liberal license and is available for both free and commercial Smalltalk platforms.
Run BASIC, [http://www.runbasic.com]– Run BASIC is a zero configuration web application server that features an extremely easy web development metaphor, suitable for the beginner. In one easy install it provides an HTTP server, automatic application sessions, transparent state management, tightly integrated BASIC programming language, inline CSS capability, graphics library, an XML parser and SQLite database support. Even with all the included functionality, the programmer is not confronted with a lot of complexity because of Run BASIC’s built-in easy to use commands.
Run BASIC brings to the web the easy programming that BASIC has historically been known for. It is suitable for personal projects, educational situations, small business apps and more. There is an interactive version of the system hosted at the Run BASIC website so that anyone can try their hand at writing code. Cost: $59.95
Lively Kernel is supported in Safari and Firefox 2 and 3, but Safari is the recommended platform as of the writing of this article. It is licensed under the GPL2.