On performance and logically distinct controllers

When creating a webapp that involves multiple but logically distinct
components, it is good design to keep the respective controller code
separate from each other as well. For example, it doesn’t make sense
to throw logic that deals with stock tickers into the same controller
that deals with weather patterns and a forum, simply because you want
to display these things together on the same aggregation page. Given
that premise, it makes sense for an aggregator viewer to assemble
various pieces together for final display to the user.

To date, I’ve seen 2 approaches that deal with this, and I’m not
entirely satisfied with either of them.

Approach 1: use render_component
Approach 2: use Ezra Z.'s cells plug-in (svn co

Approach 1
Is slow according to many, including Ezra: “render_component does
suck hard and is way slow because it has to instantiate a whole new
request/response and controller object”.

Approach 2
I downloaded and tried, and it seems to work nicely. I do have several
issues with it, though: The controller code that is associated with a
cell goes into Cell::Base class, which in turn contains a reference to
the widget controller via (@controller), but isn’t a controller object
itself. The problem this creates is that other plug-ins (or
generators) don’t play nicely with code in Cell::Base, because they
often rely on being used in an ApplicationController object.

So while I like the idea of cells, if I can’t easily pull in other
functionality into my project without having to rewrite a lot of it. I
have not tried it yet, but I’m guessing for example that if I wanted to
throw in an ajaxscaffold (http://www.ajaxscaffold.com) into a cell,
that would end up not working very well, but ajaxscaffold might sure
fit the bill for some of the widgets I’d like to implment.

The other issue with Approach 2 is that I don’t see it getting much
notice, and don’t know if it will fall by the way-side. I may well be
missing a third alternative. Please let me know if I am.

I’m not looking for an argument about why I’d like to keep logically
separate controller code in different controller objects. What I am
looking for is some reasonable direction for me to go in. I’m not
looking to write re-usable Components (code that would go into
app/components), but I am looking for a framework that allows for a
conceptually clean architecture that does not impose extra performance
problems and will play nicely with most other generators or plugins).