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Choosing a Web Development Framework: Options and Criteria

· Java Zone

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At my company we are evaluating which web development framework we will use for the next few years.

Since our last evaluation we have been using Java application servers powered by Struts 2 as MVC, Tiles as templating engine, jQuery for Javascript awesomennes, DWR for AJAX calls and MyBatis as ORM.

But we think it’s time to re-evaluate and move on to a newer/better/friendlier framework.

In this post I’ll present you with our candidates and the criteria we are evaluating each framework with. Over the next weeks I’ll post the actual evaluation of each framework and finally what our choice is and why.

Before listing the candidates I should point out some of the assumptions and restrictions we made in order to shorten the list:

  • We will evaluate only frameworks based on Ruby, Python and Java. There is nothing wrong with .Net or PHP or other technologies, but we cannot cover them all and this three are our prime candidates anyway.
  • The company has a lot of experience and accumulated knowledge on the Java platform, so you will see more Java based frameworks. Though hopefully no bias towards them.
  • All frameworks must be free to use and preferrably open source. Additionally there has to be no need to use a proprietary IDE, application server or database to develop with them and/or use them in a production environment.

The candidates

The frameworks we chose to evaluate are:

  • Play Framework 2.0
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Django
  • Google Web Toolkit
  • Spring Roo
  • Spring Framework
  • Struts 2
  • JBoss Seam


And the criteria we will use will be composed of the following items:

  • Learning curve
  • Development performance for simple tasks
  • Development performance for complex/singular tasks
  • Dependency management
  • Code performance/security tunning capabilities
  • Platform escalation/redundancy capabilities
  • Acceptance in corporate markets
  • Complexity of developing and consuming SOAP and REST services

A score scale of bad, medium and good will be assigned to each framework in each criteria item. To asses them we will perform the following tasks using each contender:

  • Install the framework in a development workstation
  • Setup a development environment using a free IDE, application server and database
  • Develop the “Hello world” or similar sample outlined by the frameworks tutorial
  • Modify the sample app to perform a specific database query over a custom structure and display the results
  • Add a dependency to a third party library and perform a computation using it in our app
  • Develop a “Hello world” REST service
  • Consume our own service from our app

We are starting with the Play Framework 2.0, I’ll post the results as I have them.

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Published at DZone with permission of Ricardo Zuasti , DZone MVB .

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