Zach Miller is based in Chicago and works as a developer. His presentation was on the separation of model, view and controller layers in application design – otherwise known as MVC architecture. He introduced the topic by explaining that programmers and designers have different skillbases – which often conflict. MVC architecture is a method of separating the control logic of an application from the presentation layer so that the developer can be coding and the graphics guru designing the interface without their work conflicting.
Zach provided an overview of MVC architecture and then articulated a little known technology that can be used with MVC – Template Attribute Language or TAL for short. This was originally written for the Zope Content Management System in Python, but is now being more widely applied. A document type definition has not yet been written for TAL, but this is on the development roadmap.
Using TAL means that you can easily prototype the interface of an application to get design approval, before doing the bulk of the work in writing the functionality.
Zach provided examples of TAL.
Personally, I’ve seen MVC work very well in PHP using Smarty.