So many Java web frameworks… Can we get some Clarity please?

Today I was talking with my co-worker Ravan about the various web frameworks there are now in the Java world. There’s Struts, of course, Spring MVC, Spring Webflow, Tapestry, Beehive/Netui, JSF, Shale… and undoubtedly many more. One or two years ago it was obvious which one you were going to use (Struts); right now it’s hard to tell where to put your money. Chances are, the framework you’re building your enterprise application with today, will be out of fashion (or worse, out of existence) next year. Three years from now, who’s going to maintain all that code written with, by then, outdated frameworks?

By coincidence I came across some half-hidden postings later today, about a newly proposed framework called Clarity–the one framework to replace them all. Representatives from several of the existing frameworks (Spring, WebWork, Struts Ti and Beehive) have joined the initiative. Clarity’s goal is “to unify WebWork, Struts, Spring MVC, Beehive, and Spring WebFlow in to a single project that establishes clear leadership in the web development space.” Right now there seems to be little more than a mailing list and a mission statement. It does sound promising though. Think of it: the best of Spring, Struts and Beehive united. If it’s done well (easy to use, easy to code) it could well be the Java answer to Ruby on Rails. (No, let’s not go there; Rails and J2EE are for different kinds of applications, that won’t change).

I see only one potential problem: that Clarity will fail to replace the existing frameworks, and will become just another framework coexisting with the others. If that happens, we’re all doomed. This initiative might be more important for Java than these few cautious postings seem to suggest…

2005-11-30. No responses.

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