[Tutor] Web app in Python: alternatives to CGI?

Terry Carroll carroll at tjc.com
Mon Apr 19 13:27:35 EDT 2004

On Sun, 18 Apr 2004, Alan Gauld wrote:

> Sure, but usually by thinking through the logic you can collapse
> it to two forms max. And there is nothing more annoying than an
> application that requires you to go through a heap of little
> forms so it helps your user too.

I'd have to disagree with you there.  I'd find it more annoying to be 
asked for information that's not necessary, especially if the information 
may be hard to find.

I could have all the input on one page, heavily commented on what's 
skippable when, but then the input will be too overwhelming for the user.

There are a couple other reasons why I want to do it step-by-step, too.  
First, if there is some information that's required but that the user 
doesn't have, I want to be able to give the best partial answer that I 
can, i.e., in terms of the missing information.  That's easiest, I think, 
if I can walk through and stop at the first "don't know" response.

Also, in addition to making the process available to the average person on 
the Internet, I intend for it to be usable as a training aid for law 
students, and a practice aid for practicing attorneys.  I want them able 
to see the logic flow as it goes.

> For example its usually better to capture some irrelevant data
> than to present more forms...

I'm probably not getting across very well the potential for just how much 
irrelevant data there will always be, and how difficult it may be to 

For example, if someone wants to know when "House on Pooh Corner" goes PD,
I don't want to ask when the author died, because it's not relevant.  
Now, this is a fairly trivial case, because A.A. Milne is a well-enough
known author that his death can readily be looked up on the web.  But if
the work is, say, the orginale edition of "The Joy of Cooking," it's going
to be a lot harder to find out whether and when Irma Rombauer has died.  
I'd rather not have the user go trying to find out that bit of trivia when 
it's not needed.

Multiply that by several other pieces of data and I think you have a 
recipe for serious annoyance, enough to make the app unusable.

> Or just combine all that in one screen.

That's a gross oversimplification of the needed data.

> > So it's not just one CGI process.  I need to save status from call
> to
> > call; cookies or something I guess.  That's what I meant by
> Usually you just pass a hidden data member as part of the form data
> which is some kind of encoded string capturing all data up till now.

Yeah,; that's what I meant by "hidden data."

> Yes, but if its on the internet (as opposed to the intranet)
> other countries will access it. One of my pet peeves is the
> number of US sites that assume that only US folks will use them,
> but don't tell you that their data is US specific! 

It will be clear that it's US only.  That's a very good point, and I 
should have made it more clear that I agreed with you.

Thanks for all your input.   If I actually get this up and running, 
I'll post the link here.

Terry Carroll
Santa Clara, CA
carroll at tjc.com
Modell delendus est

More information about the Tutor mailing list