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The state of web development in Java

 
Chris Stewart
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About 6 years ago, when I was working on Java web applications daily, the technology to use was JSP/Servlets or Struts. I was extremely new to Java and programming in general, so I stuck with JSP/Servlets.

I've recently begun to use Java again. I'm finishing up my first JSF application and somewhat enjoyed the experience. It definitely reminds me more of my ASP.NET background.

What I'm curious to know is how the state of web development has changed over the last 6 years? What is the most popular way to build web applications in Java right now? Is it still JSP/Servlets, Struts, or something new like JSF or Spring?

Certainly this will be a very subjective thread but I find it interesting to see everyone's opinion on a topic like this.
 
Bear Bibeault
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Originally posted by Chris Stewart:
Certainly this will be a very subjective thread ...

Indeed.

Personally, I use JSP and Servlets with the assist of a very lightweight Front Controller implementation (see FrontMan in my sig). I don't care for big, obfuscating frameworks like Struts1 (haven't looked into Struts2, but I really have no need to) and I will use JSF only when a man much larger than myself, and perhaps with a weapon, forces me to.
 
Ben Souther
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Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:

Indeed.

Personally, I use JSP and Servlets with the assist of a very lightweight Front Controller implementation (see FrontMan in my sig). I don't care for big, obfuscating frameworks like Struts1 (haven't looked into Struts2, but I really have no need to) and I will use JSF only when a man much larger than myself, and perhaps with a weapon, forces me to.


Ditto.
I think the trend, in general, is to move away from 'heavier than they need to be' frameworks. I don't have any hard data to back this up, but it's what I think.

There are still a lot of Struts apps out there and a lot of companies still use it for new products so it's definitely a marketable skill.
 
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
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I like Struts and JSF, although I fully understand Bear's objections.

The nice thing about frameworks like JSF is it's easy to get them past architecture review boards. Big and backed by Sun and IBM are always selling points.

I think it's actually a very interesting time. Servlets and JSPs are a good solid backbone, but technologies like Hibernate and EJB3.0 have plenty to offer, and personally, I can't wait to do some more work with Seam and even GWT.

I think it's a fun time to be in with Java.

-Cameron McKenzie
 
William Brogden
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On the client side there is more interesting stuff than the server side as far as I can see. The competition between Flex, JavaFX and Silverlight for example, with a large helping of AJAX / Comet will keep us busy.

Bill
 
Ulf Dittmer
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I think the trend, in general, is to move away from 'heavier than they need to be' frameworks.

Hopefully that's a general trend. But what "heavier than it needs to be" means is very much in the eye of the beholder. Some folks see Struts as heavy-weight, others might view it as light-weight (e.g., compared to Spring).

The trends I see are
  • Nobody is moving to Struts 1 any more
  • Just about nobody is moving from Struts 1 to Struts 2 (which is quite different)
  • JSF is not getting the traction one might think it gets because of it being pushed by Sun
  • Other frameworks are getting serious attention (like Wicket, Tapestry and Stripes). There are very different offerings on the plate, so a serious effort to compare them is in order.

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    Bear Bibeault
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    Originally posted by Cameron Wallace McKenzie:
    but technologies like Hibernate ...

    I'm still experimenting with Hibernate. And so far, it seems to be one of the few frameworks that I've given a shot that seem to bring as much benefit as complexity to the table. Of course, it's not competing with Struts or JSF or whatever, being a tool for the lower layers of a web app.

    Originally posted by William Brogden:
    On the client side there is more interesting stuff ...
    Yeah, I didn't even touch on the client side of things. I'm having great fun putting jQuery through its paces creating a very rich UI for the same project within which I'm employing Hibernate.
     
    Prasad Tamirisa
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    Yeah,

    I could say that the current trend is more interested on the client side programming than the server side. Also, there is a growing demand/interest for Web2.0.

    People are even trying to move from heavy weight stuff to light weight ones. In my current assignment, as per the client's request, we had to replace all the heavy weight ejb calls with the light weight spring calls.
     
    Pat Farrell
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    I am seeing two big trends:

    1) away from heavy "do everything" solutions

    2) client side is where its at.

    Sadly, Javascript is, IMHO, a terrible development environment. Applets of last century were much more sane to develop, but had their own issues.
     
    Bear Bibeault
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    Originally posted by Pat Farrell:
    Sadly, Javascript is, IMHO, a terrible development environment.
    Not to turn this into a JavaScript conversation, but JavaScript isn't a development environment, it's a scripting language. And most people who say that they don't like it either haven't really given it a shot or really understand it as a functional language, or are confusing JavaScript with the browser DOM (which is an abomination).

    Don't be quite so quick to dis JavaScript itself. It's actually quite a powerful and expressive language.
     
    Cameron Wallace McKenzie
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    Originally posted by Pat Farrell:


    Sadly, Javascript is, IMHO, a terrible development environment.


    So, what about GWT? You code completely in Java, use a Java compiler, debug with all the features of your Eclipse or IRAD or NetBeans environment, and when you deploy, it all gets translated into JavaScript and Ajax calls?

    Google Web Toolkit offers the best of both worlds. The question is, does it deliver?

    -Cameron McKenzie
     
    Pat Farrell
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    Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:
    Don't be quite so quick to dis JavaScript itself. It's actually quite a powerful and expressive language.


    You are of course, entitled to your opinion.

    I've been fighting it since it was called LiveScript. While the language itself it not terrible, the development world is terrible. IMHO, etc.

    I'm biased, I don't like autotyping languages. I think declaring variable types is good for the world.

    Back OT, Java and servlets are greatly helped by things like NetBeans that let you debug directly into your servlet running within Tomcat. Sometimes you have to see what the code is doing.

    I think this is part of what is driving folks away from EJB and other heavy solutions.

    What all this AJAX buzz is really about is using distributed systems. The old Everything on the Server model for HTML doesn't take advantage of the dual core 2gHz processors that everyone has.
     
    Pat Farrell
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    Originally posted by Cameron Wallace McKenzie:
    Google Web Toolkit offers the best of both worlds. The question is, does it deliver?


    I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the pointer.

    The delivery question is key. There has been a lot of hyped solutions over the years.
     
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