Looking for… a simple and fast Java Webframework

It’s winter time. That means: Weekend projects! After a long day of commercial coding, it feels really good to do some stuff what purely mine. In other words: I wanna try to code a project 100% by myself. Starting from the theoretical idea, the concept, the database schema, the logic and last but not least the design.

I’m a web and mobile guy, that’s why my programming language of choice is Java. But old techniques like *.jsp or *.jsf ain’t so mine favour of coding. That’s why I’m looking for a simple, ready to use web framework which encapsulates the servlets and components.

I did some research and played around with some framework.

Vaadin

Vaadin is a Java EE compatible frameworks which contains a server- and a client-side part. What’s special? Vaadin is based on Google Web Toolkit – a Spring like way to create graphical user interfaces. In short: You code only Java-code and the Renderer transforms it via Javascript and auto generated html and css into a browser-compatible website. The framework is meant to be the base of large enterprise applications – and not small weekend projects. Another minus is, that the styling is very complex. Nested, autogenerated Gwt css classes and no direct access to the html are the further reasons, why I won’t use this framework for private projects.

I hope Vaadin is successful. Something new on the market is always a good thing.

KendoUI

Telerik’s KendoUI is a frontend framework based on jQuery and (maybe) Bootstrap. The controls are very rich in functionality. For example, the grid. It’s possible to group via drag and drop, page, filter, sort or add new rows just in a few lines of code.

I also like the look and feel which is highly customisable – thanks to overrideable stylesheets. As other heavy frameworks. You have to deal with it. It’s hard to implement complete new features into existing controls.

Another point, the price. If you want the controls inclusive the Java bridge, you have to pay a annually fee of around 1000 bucks. I little bit to much.

If you wanna code in simple Javascript or Ruby, there are free of charge versions available.

Apache Tapestry

Tapestry is a long-running project which is supported by the big Apache Foundation. It’s very basic with just rudimentary controls.

The big plus point of this framework is, the Maven Quickstart archetype. That enables you to have a basic example application in under 90 seconds. Maven-based, of course.

A minus point is the community. Like other old school Apache projects, it’s highly mailing list based. The current version 5.x was first published six years ago. A long time with only a few changes. Very slow progress in development and community building.

I know Tapestry from former a mid-sized projects as I was a trainee in a start-up – that’s why I know some difficulties but also the ‚freedom‘ of just a little set of not changeable rules.

Conclusion

Maybe I picked a wrong subset of frameworks, nevertheless I will still stick to Apache Tapestry. During my christmas holiday, I’ll try some other frameworks like the radical new Play framework or the stable JBoss Richfaces-based Primefaces.

What a exciting code world!

Have a great night!

Regards, Tobias

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