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OpenEdit Framework: Unobtrusive, Extensible, Agnostic, Fun

OpenEdit is continuing to pop up in lots of different places. As we continue to refine and grow the software, we'd like to engage the community at every opportunity.

For a long time, OpenEdit and my own company, IJ Solutions, have been focused on providing great web applications to end users. Although we've been enjoying the use of the OEF for a long time, we've been using it primarily as an in house tool that we've continued to develop.

What we've found, though, is that other developers grab it, download it, are amazed by the ease of installation compared to other frameworks and CMSs, and are very interested in developing applications and plugins of their own.

I've had the opportunity to work with numerous web application frameworks over the years, and I've even rolled my own custom solutions a couple of times. I've found that the differences in philosphies between them lead to different benefits and drawbacks. They all come with their particular set of rules and ideas. After having worked to develop applications on the OpenEdit framework for the last 2 years, I can say that it has some benefits that have made it my framework of choice. I've got a lot of reasons, which you can read about on my blog,

1. The framework is unobtrusive and doesn't place undue requirements on the application developer. You truly can take as much of it as you want and leave the rest. There are dozens of extension points, and it's easy to integrate with or even layer on top of other systems For example, I've integrated Struts applications (I know, I know - why struts?) into the OEF to take advantage of the CMS related features while maintaining the existing MVC code - and they play happily together. At the same time, I can mix and match in OpenEdit plugins, controller code, whatever I need to get the job done.

2. The framework is extensible - I think this is one my favourite features of the OEF - I can take a plug-in and tailor it to my specific needs quickly and easily, and without loosing the ability to upgrade it down the road. The multiple fallback mechanism provides an unheard of amount of flexibility on the view layer - everything from layouts to admin tools can be completely customized to your needs - and the built in enterprise grade content management system helps you do it.

At the same time, we make extensive use of Springs Injection of Dependancies architecture - which means I can configure and swap out implementations of various aspects of OpenEdit with ease. If I don't like a particular portion of the framework, I can re-implement my own version and swap it out - again, without loosing my ability to upgrade.

3. The framework is data layer agnostic - this is important too. This lets you use our extremely fast XML based architecture, or swap out for a database if your particular application requires it. You can be as light or heavy weight as you need.

4. Probably the most important part - It's FAST and FUN. That means you stay productive. And that is worth its weight in gold.

Over the next several weeks, I'm going to be putting together sample applications, best practice guidelines and as always, working towards a bright future for the OEF. If you've got great ideas or would just like to chat about what the OEF can bring to you or your organization, let me know!

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