GUI for Pollen / project server interface

I’m designing a web book for non-programmer client who has the aptitude to work with Pollen sources but is (I suspect) uninterested in delving into the wonders of the command line to do routine tasks.

I’m thinking of making an extremely simple GUI app (likely using gui-easy) with buttons for the most common Pollen tasks:

  • Start/stop the project’s web server
  • Open the project’s folder in the file browser
  • Publish the site to desktop folder (maybe optionally zip it up)

I have a couple of questions:

  1. Did anything come of the Pollen GUI client idea from a few years ago?

  2. Would it make sense for Pollen to provide a slightly more public/stable API for starting and stopping the project server — vs. (require pollen/private/project-server)?

Nobody expressed interest. Maybe the time has come.

As with making hooks for an external renderer, I am fine with this (and helping) if you can specify the behavior you need.

Though something that I don’t think I resolved with a GUI client is whether it needs its own hooks, or whether it should essentially issue the commands that a human would, in essence making it a project-server server.

The simplest thing would be to have it just execute the raco commands, which would open in a separate terminal window (so I don’t have to do any other work to display the output you’d normally see on the command line). But I was just thinking, it would be nice if the user could skip the step of fiddling with PATH — that’s the only really unfriendly part of installing Racket. So however the GUI works, I might not want it to depend on PATH being set up correctly. That way, this client (or others like them) could just install Racket and then unzip the deliverable I send over, which would contain the Pollen project folder and the precompiled GUI client, and they’re off to the races.

Maybe this would ultimately be doing them a disservice, I don’t know. But it would mean either issuing raco commands with a complete path to raco.exe or handling everything internally.

Either way I don’t think more hooks are really necessary.

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Hey Joel, why can’t you just use this pollen editor for the GUI? Deploy it somewhere unseen and it should just work everywhere.

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Pollen Rock is great once it is started! but I’m talking about a GUI for starting/stopping the server itself, as well as for rebuilding the site locally and doing raco pollen publish.

I learned that in DrRacket you can click Help menu → Configure Command Line for Racket… which will add Racket’s directories to your PATH for you. I tried it out on a Windows machine, and it works very well.

This means I can probably just give a Windows client a couple of batch files to run various raco commands, and not have to worry about hard-coding the complete path to raco.exe.