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Ode to the Joy of Play

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Been using Play 2 for the last week or so. I have used it before, but this time doing some ui stuff with it (or should say more).

This thing is pretty close to ideal. Bunch of likes:

  • the cycle is awesome, change and refresh, next to no restarts when working on a single task
  • the console is great, I don‘t mind switching to it (could run from inside IntelliJ, but don‘t see that as a huge step forward yet)
  • the templating is actually pretty nice
  • got it working with Bootstrap 3 in no time, which is great
  • seriously the documentation is an A-, and there are no As, excellent, a few tiny little caveats like:
  • figuring out how to use Logback was kind of stupid, I thought there would be a logger, but ended up just making instances like I always have in Java and that works fine, but still, these kinds of things should be shown somewhere
  • while the example is good, it would take very little work to make it great

Some things that could perhaps use some improvement.

  • the presumption that people would use EBean is pretty silly, I‘m using Morphia. Some discussion of how best to configure a db would be useful.
  • make the documentation available as a PDF (and ePub for that matter)
  • lot been written about how the static Controllers make a mess at test time, I see these outer controllers as mere coordinators, so will be interesting to see where this goes when I start getting into more complex scenarios, but my guess is this will not be a problem
  • Activator is still a disaster (not upsetting, just not useful yet)
  • More extensive examples of using the templating, particularly composites: nested templates
  • Make an Activator template that truly is all Java and that has Bootstrap, should take no time to do

And now, for a super whacky suggestion (that I am serious about): TypeSafe should go find the coolest editor they can, buy it and redo it to work with their stack. The reason is, after working with eclipse and now intellij a bit, the IDE is just a failed state, a flop house of half-baked nonsense. Xcode is a real IDE: you can do everything from in there and you don‘t have to go outside for anything. Eclipse and Intellij reached for that, but have failed. Even getting IntelliJ setup to deal with a Play 2 project is such a hassle, if it made whole ton of things faster, it would still probably not be worth the trouble. I hung on to the Java IDE dream for a LONG time, but I think it‘s dead. Seriously, pisspoor plugins like m2 helped drag eclipse into the sewer. Enough negative.

I had thought about using JEE7 and JSF 2 for this (and may still checkout that stack at some point), but went the Play route because I am using Akka. The great thing about this stack though is that you can really focus on writing code once you are up and going. Also, using Morphia has been pretty nice. I used Hibernate for ages and thought it was great, but their NoSQL solution (at least when I tried it) was a drag.



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