[Grok-dev] Re: What is Grok anyways... time for a name change? :)

Martin Aspeli optilude at gmx.net
Thu May 10 17:56:59 EDT 2007

Hi Sebastian,

> I'll try to answer all comments in a condensed manner.
> DISCLAIMER: I don't want to hurt any cavemen's feelings, but it is  
> highly competitive out there in the framework jungle... so you have  
> to evolve your tools... ;)

Your comments are extremely constructive, so no-one's feelings are
getting hurt. :)

> I would like to se GROK as the tool of pioneers who know that the  
> hack I write today might evolve into a mission critical, enterprise  
> wide, application tomorrow, and I want to use the right framework up  
> front.

That's a good message, I like that one.

It's a bit like the marketing of things like JBoss SEAM or even what
Macromedia tried to do with building Cold Fusion on top of J2EE (ouch +
ouch = eeewwwww). Gimme the quick-and-easy and let me drill down to the
solid core when I need it.

The problem here is that it's almost impossible to make "pure Java"
terribly agile and easy to get started in, and almost impossible to make
anything written with Fold Fusion not be an awful hack.

It's possibly a bit like Rails scaffolding mode, thought that's just
something that I've heard.

The hard sell in that message is "don't worry, the transition from quick
hack to evolved framework will be straightforward and obvious, not a
painful jerk of the crutch from underneath you".

> The Zope being good/bad for Grok is an easy one. If a developer has  
> bias against Zope, they obviously won't use Grok... but if the buzz  
> gets hot on a this new framework Grok, which puts a great twist on  
> the all new and improved Zope 3, then it will surely make (a  
> professional) developer want to evaluate this option.

I think so. I'm of the opinion that we shouldn't pander to Zope
negativism. Who cares if people rant about Zope? Point to good examples
of people being wrong. I think Martijn is the master of such coolheadedness.

> Regarding my list of names... why do people associate Java with a  
> programming language... might it be because of SUNs marketing  
> dollars? ;) I think so... and how about .NET... Remember, these days  
> even management will have a say in the matter.

Of course. To an awful lot of businesses, the choice of platform is "Is
this a Java or a .NET project?". Then again, we possibly don't compete
against those languages in the situations where that is the case. But
there is something of generational shift going on... it used to be
"Cobol or nothing. Then Java or nothing. Then Java or .NET".

These days, we're slowly getting into a place (and Ruby-on-Rails is
doing a lot in that department) where more agile, open source, rapid
tools are becoming acceptable, though you'll always fight an uphill
battle of convincing people of scalability, security and future support.

Sometimes, that's rightly so. My client shouldn't have to pay with
higher risk just because I don't like coding Java as much as I like
coding Python. They should be presented with arguments about
time-to-market and flexibility and cost, though.

And Grok can win there, because Zope has a stable history. It still
doesn't hold a name-recognition candle to Java or .NET or even Rails,
but you find old-timers who once heard of it and thought it was cool.
That's important.

> My point with the list was that there will always be short-lists when  
> people evaluate stuff, and you want to be on that short-list, and you  
> want to stand out.
>     GROK|ZOPE3 -- an enterprise framework made easy

I want that, but in a diagram and not a name-with-punctuation-in-it.

Anyway, I think it's some time before Grok ends up in those head-to-head
comparisons. We should crawl before we walk and walk before we run.
Right now, we should focus on making the framework good, and being
honest and enthusiastic about that process. We should sell the messages
we have, clearly and concisely, not sell hot air that we think someone's
boss may swallow.

> Grok, the caveman as a subculture. I am not convinced that he has  
> (already) become a subculture. Grok the caveman is a metaphor, and he  
> just gives me the wrong associations. Nonetheless, as an ironic comic  
> strip bashing on the evils in software development, yeah I think it  
> could become a really cool thing. As the poster boy of Grok... he  
> might actually be a problem. :(

I disagree that this is a problem. Java has a silly merlin-wizard like
thing. Linux has a fat penguin. BSD has a devil-looking-thing. Logos
that are memorable and personable are more important, in my opinion,
than a "I am really corporate and solid" me-too.

> Grok currently communicates that it is aimed at developers who feel  
> like cavemen. Only in my book, cavemen do stupid things and  
> compensate with persistence. For me, PHP would be the tool of choice  
> for a caveman.

I think that's an interesting market research data point. I disagree on 
a personal level, but this *is* all about feelings and perceptions, so 
thanks for sharing it.

It may also depend on how we present the caveman, in what context, and 
with what text.


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