[Catalyst] "Catalyst - The Definitive Guide" and the "Catalyst Cookbook"

Charlton Wilbur cwilbur at tortus.com
Fri Dec 23 18:53:11 CET 2005

On Dec 23, 2005, at 10:44 AM, David K Storrs wrote:

> You know...that phrase "toy examples" is starting to become one of  
> my personal pet peeves.  The kind of examples I'm thinking of would  
> leave you with a fully functional ecommerce site (well, right up to  
> the edge of the merchant gateway, anyway) with an up-and-running  
> database, scripts to load data in from CSV, the ability to support  
> user login, and an attractive interface that was cross-browser/ 
> cross-platform, and a clean and straightforward way to reskin the  
> site as you wish.  How exactly is that a "toy example"?

Having *built* a fully-functional e-commerce site:

You're missing tax calculations, any sort of integration with  
shipping, any kind of weird pricing the merchant wants to apply (Buy  
these two items and take 10% off the total price!  Buy these things  
the week after Christmas and get them for 50% off!  Spend more than  
$100 on things from this list, and everything in your order that  
isn't already discounted will get 15% off!), any sort of integration  
with the merchant's inventory management, any sort of age  
verification for selling age-restricted items.

It's a toy example in the way that AI has toy problems: they're  
interesting, they demonstrate a principle well, and thinking about  
them often winds up producing results that are transferable to a  
broader problem domain, but they're insufficient to apply to actual  
real-world problems in themselves because they handwave over things  
to prove the principle ("right up to the edge of the merchant  
gateway, anyway").

"Toy" is not meant as an insult; it's meant as a comment on scope and  
assumptions.  That ecommerce example *will* save people time, because  
they can jump right to tax calculations and integrating with shipping  
and inventory management and such instead of dinking around with HTML  
forms and CGI.pm.  But it's a toy because it really won't work as it  
stands in the real world, and as soon as you extend the spec to the  
point where it will, you're talking a development time on the order  
of magnitude of days or weeks rather than hours.


Charlton Wilbur
cwilbur at tortus.com

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