Skip to main content

Comparing webapp frameworks : Introduction

Posted by simongbrown on November 2, 2005 at 12:21 PM PST

Struts, WebWork, Stripes, Spring MVC, Wicket, Tapestry, JSF, etc, or even rolling your own. With so many J2EE web application frameworks to choose from, how do you decide which one to use? Several articles (e.g. JavaServer Faces vs Tapestry) and presentations (e.g. Comparing Web Frameworks) already exist, but they generally concentrate on a small subset of the available frameworks.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to implement a small web application using as many J2EE web application frameworks that I can get my hands on. I'll be using the resulting code to compare and contrast what the frameworks provide and how they work.

Clearly this is a massive task so, to reduce the scope, I'm going to focus on what it takes to build a read only web application. If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say that the 80-20 rule applies. 80% of a web application is read only and 20% is interactive (e.g. HTML forms, AJAX, etc). Of course, this is changing with technologies like AJAX, but we're still on the upward curve. Traditionally, that 20% is the most complex and is an area where many web application frameworks claim their unique selling points. For this reason, I may iterate over the evaluation process to take into account how the frameworks help web developers build interactive webapps. For now, I'm going to look at whether the frameworks make doing the 80% easy.

In addition to looking at the webapp frameworks, I'm also going to compare and contrast some of the view technologies that are currently available. Here, I'm talking about JSP (normal and XML formats), Velocity, FreeMarker, etc. I think this adds an interesting twist and your choice of view technology may have an impact on your framework decision.

Stay tuned, it should be an interesting journey!

Related Topics >>