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Frontier Usage

I discovered UserLand Frontier when Dave Winer released it free to the world. At first I didn't really understand it. At that time it worked as a helper app for a browser and could download scripts and run them from web pages. It seemed interesting, but not very useful for me.

Months later I started to do some things at work that were perfect for automation. I was building some simple web pages that held thumbnails of photos. The files were named like so: 801001.gif, 801002.gif, etc. I needed a simple way to build a page indexing them all.

At first I used Chipmunk Basic! It was a simple Basic interpreter. I used Basic on the Apple II+ and knew it somewhat. This worked, but it was a pretty lame solution, since I still had to do a lot of find/replace functions. So I eventually remembered Frontier and the fact that it could run scripts. So with only a little knowledge of Basic, and no real programming skills, I tackled Frontier and UserTalk, the scripting language of Frontier.

At that time there wasn't a lot of documentation. But there was Docserver, a mailing list and a few web pages. I dug in deep, and in a pretty short time was able to write scripts that actually did something useful! Part of my job is to solve any Mac related problems, and there's been plenty of times Frontier has helped. It's also opened up new possibilities, making it possible to do things I didn't even know were possible! My favorite part is writing cgis. Frontier couldn't make cgi development easier. [working on a custom search engine for our archive tapes right now]

Since then I've been learning more and more each time I use Frontier. I've used it to automate mundane processes, build websites, keep track of little things (and big things!) and lots more, and along the way I've learned quite a bit about programming. I still can't write an app in C++, Java or Pascal, but I can sling UserTalk pretty well, and I can hack JavaScript a bit too! Scripters unite!

I've continued my use of the last free version of Frontier, but I cannot afford to license the commercial version. While I feel that Frontier is an excellent product, I disagree with UserLand's licensing policies. I am also an advocate of open source software such as Perl, and will try to implement open source software when possible.
P.S. Frontier still rocks!

Page last rendered on: Fri, Feb 04, 2000 at 12:42:37 PM by Rasterboy
This site was built with Frontier and the MacOS and is hosted by Zymm Desygn