Why a reluctant coder chooses OpenACS for building killer apps

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If OpenACS were a film, it would be a 1999 cult classic with a following that keeps growing. Like The Matrix movie, OpenACS would be listed in rottentomatoes with an audience in the millions, an average rating over 3.6/5 and 85% liking it. On the Tomatometer, “All 140 critics” (think coders) average rating would be around 7.5/10 and top 35 critics would give it a 6/10. A critics’ consensus might be: “smartly crafted combination of community features” Others wouldn’t get it.

Spoiler: internet is matrix. OpenACS is a red pill.

Just as examining movie reviews can help us decide if we’ll like a film, examining reviews of OpenACS can help us decide if we’ll like using it.

What is OpenACS?

OpenACS is an open source web-based, application framework for building killer apps.

OpenACS started as ArsDigita Community System in the 1990’s. Most all cases for hype and becoming a fad passed with the evaporation of ArsDigita and its spin offs.

According Black Duck Software’s Open Hub project analytics report, on 2017 June 13, the OpenACS project


Critical reviews

This is the beginning of a series of posts summarizing critical reviews by coders. After each review I discuss what it means as a reluctant coder.

Here’s the first review summary and reply:

Review: technology is stuck in the year 2000

A superficial look suggests nothing has changed. And yet, much of the code “underneath” is new. Refactoring of code persists through careful performance analysis and an increasing set of unit tests, vulnerability checks, and validation processes. Developers are working on new features and quashing bugs. If you want cutting-edge new, you are welcome to take part in a complete redesign of the underlying technology at next-scripting.org.

A reluctant coder appreciates a well maintained, mature code base that doesn’t change the API much. It means having to make fewer changes to their own code, and not having to deal with security and performance at a deeper level. Not only that, you will be following fewer recommendations than if you were to tackle these yourself.