Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Web Architecture Consultant specializing in open source frameworks.

The JHipster Mini-Book The JHipster Mini-Book is a guide to getting started with hip technologies today: AngularJS, Bootstrap, and Spring Boot. All of these frameworks are wrapped up in an easy-to-use project called JHipster.

This book shows you how to build an app with JHipster, and guides you through the plethora of tools, techniques and options you can use. Furthermore, it explains the UI and API building blocks so you understand the underpinnings of your great application.

For book updates, follow @jhipster-book on Twitter.


Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

My Comparing JVM Web Frameworks Presentation from Devoxx 2010

This week, I've been having a great time in Antwerp, Belgium at the Devoxx Conference. This morning, I had the pleasure of delivering my Comparing JVM Web Frameworks talk. I thoroughly enjoyed giving this presentation, especially to such a large audience. You can view the presentation below (if you have Flash installed) or download it here.

Unlike previous years, I chose to come up with a spreadsheet matrix that shows why I chose the 5 I did. This spreadsheet and rankings given to each framework are likely to be debated, as I don't know all the frameworks as well as I'd like to. Also, the missing column on this spreadsheet is a "weighting" column where you can prioritize certain criteria like I've done in the past when Comparing Ajax Frameworks. If you believe there are incorrect numbers, please let me know and I'll try to get those fixed before I do this talk again at The Rich Web Experience.

One thing that doesn't come across in this presentation is that I believe anyone can use this matrix, and weightings, to make any of these frameworks come out on top. I also believe web frameworks are like spaghetti sauce in The Ketchup Conundrum. That is, the only way to make more happy spaghetti sauce lovers was to make more types of spaghetti sauce. You can read more about this in my There is no "best" web framework article.

Update: If you disagree with the various ratings I gave to web frameworks in this presentation, please provide your opinions by filling out this survey. Thanks to Sebastien Arbogast for setting this up.

Update: Sebastien has posted his survey results at JVM Web Framework Survey, First Results.

Update 12/6: A video of this presentation is now available on

P.S. My current gig is ending in mid-December. If you're looking for a UI Architect with a passion for open source frameworks, please let me know.

Posted in Java at Nov 18 2010, 05:23:10 AM MST 39 Comments

My Presentations from The Irish Software Show 2010

This week I've been enjoying Dublin, Ireland thanks to the 2nd Annual Irish Software Show. On Wednesday night, I spoke about The Future of Web Frameworks and participated in a panel with Grails, Rails, ASP.NET MVC and Seaside developers. It was a fun night with lots of lively discussion. Below is my presentation from this event.

This morning, I delivered my Comparing Kick-Ass Web Frameworks talk. This presentation contains updated statistics for various metrics comparing Rails vs. Grails and Flex vs. GWT.

Thanks to all who attended my talks this week!

P.S. I believe audio was recorded on Wednesday night, but I'm unsure how it turned out. I'm pretty sure no recordings were done on this morning's session.

Posted in Java at Jun 10 2010, 07:11:35 AM MDT 9 Comments

Reviews for Grails: A Quick-Start Guide and Kanban and Scrum

A couple weeks ago, I had a business trip from Denver to Washington, DC. Since I didn't have any coding to do on the flight, I brought along a couple books and was surprisingly able to finish them both en route. Tech books that can be read in a single flight are my favorite. Another book I recall doing this with was First Steps in Flex back in December.

The books I read were Dave Klein's Grails: A Quick-Start Guide and Henrik Kniberg and Mattias Skarin's Kanban and Scrum minibook. Below are short reviews of each book.

Grails: A Quick-Start Guide
I've developed a few Grails applications, so I didn't expect to learn a whole lot from this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did it introduce all the basic concepts in a clear and concise way, it actually made it fun to read. The first chapter does a good job of introducing Groovy; showing you how to use closures and the easy-to-use collections API. From there, you dive into learning about the project, which is actually a real-life web application called Then the foundational Iteration Zero is planned and executed.

In Chapter 3, you dive right into creating domain classes and their relationships. All the different mapping types are covered: one-to-one, one-to-many and the good ol' many-to-many. Since this is often a difficult part of an application, it's always nice to see how much Grails simplifies it. I liked the Ajax section in Chapter 7 and especially the part where it showed how to do a TagLib to show threaded comments in a forum.

Chapter 7 (Security) was a little disappointing in that it showed how to hand-roll your own security rather than using the Spring Security plugin (formerly Acegi) or the Shiro plugin (formerly JSecurity). I'd especially have liked to see how to do Ajax authentication where a token is generated for the client and included as a header in each subsequent request.

Other than that, I really enjoyed Chapter 10 where I learned how to implement search using dynamic finders, Hibernate's Criteria API and the Searchable Plugin (which gets its awesomeness from Compass). Implementing Compass in Java requires many, many annotations. In Grails, it's as simple as adding the following to your domain class.

static searchable = true

I truly enjoyed this book, especially with its Agile Development patterns that used iterations to get things done. Grails: A Quick-Start Guide is a code-intensive journey that gets up you to speed on Grails quickly and efficiently. It's very much like the framework itself. It eliminates the yak shaving and allows you learn without distractions. Kudos to Dave Klein for creating such an enjoyable and easy-to-read book.

Kanban and Scrum
In my career, I've used Scrum on quite a few projects. Of course, it's not the processes that typically make a team successful. Rather, it's often the gelling of the team members, as well as respect for coding practices that are proven to create higher quality code - specifically TDD and pair programming. Before reading this book, I'd heard a bit about Kanban, most of it from Marty Haught's Lean Teams: Doing more with less presentation.

This book did a great job of showing the differences between the two approaches: how Scrum promotes iterations whereas Kanban promotes cycle time. The most interesting part of the book is the Case Study in the 2nd half. This section shows how a team used various techniques to develop a well-oiled development machine. I think the most important thing to note from this section is how the team was willing to change, learn and grow based on their experiences - in a very rapid fashion.

In my current gig, I'm helping a team of developers move from waterfall to agile processes. We're leveraging many aspects of Scrum and agile by using a coach, iterations, daily standups, TDD, continuous integration and creating "as built" documentation when we finish developing a feature. The "As Built" documentation is something I picked up from working at Chordiant and I've found it to be a great way of education developers (and outsiders) how things were done in an iteration.

One thing we've seen in our first few weeks is that iterations don't work for all teams or individuals. A Kanban model fits much better for them. Having a Kanban board allows them to visualize (and control) their workload in a much more efficient manner. We haven't started implementing actual boards on a wall, we're just using spreadsheets for now. However, we do have two Agile Coaches starting this week so I expect things to improve rapidly.

Back to the book. More than anything, I enjoyed reading this book because it made me excited about the changes I'm helping implement and I believe in many of the practices in both Scrum and Kanban. I enjoy iterations and structured expectations around development, but I can see how Kanban would work better for folks in operations and infrastructure. I look forward to implementing the best parts of both worlds and hopefully a similar Case Study of what worked and what didn't. With any luck, we'll be able to learn, evolve and produce at a much higher level than previous waterfall practices achieved.

Posted in Java at Feb 01 2010, 09:29:40 AM MST 5 Comments

Grails OAuth and LinkedIn APIs

Back in November, I wrote about how to talk to LinkedIn APIs with GWT. A week later, I figured out how to do it with Grails and contributed a patch to the grails-oauth plugin.

Since then, a few folks have asked how I did it. Since code speaks louder than words, I took some time and 1) verified the oauth plugin works as expected and 2) created an example application demonstrating functionality. You can find the results in my fork of grails-oauth on GitHub. You can also view the example online.

Below is a quick tutorial explaining how to integrate LinkedIn into your Grails application.

  1. Download and install Grails 1.1.2.
  2. Run grails create-app to create your application.
  3. Add the following to the bottom of grails-app/conf/Config.groovy:
    oauth {
        linkedin {
    You can get your consumer.key and consumer.secret at Make sure to set the OAuth Redirect URL to http://localhost:8080/{}/oauth/callback for testing.
  4. Download the oauth-plugin, extract it and build it using grails package-plugin. Install it in your project using grails install-plugin path/to/zip.
  5. Add a link to the GSP you want to invoke LinkedIn Authentication from:
    <g:oauthLink consumer='linkedin' returnTo="[controller:'profile']">
        Login with LinkedIn
  6. Create grails-app/controllers/ProfileController.groovy to access your LinkedIn Profile.
    class ProfileController {
        def apiUrl = ""
        def oauthService
        def index = {
            if (session.oauthToken == null) {
            if (params?.apiUrl) apiUrl = params.apiUrl
            def response = oauthService.accessResource(
                    apiUrl, 'linkedin', [key:session.oauthToken.key, secret:session.oauthToken.secret], 'GET')
            render(view: 'index', model: [profileXML: response, apiUrl: apiUrl])
        def change = {
            if (params?.apiUrl) {
                println("Setting api url to " + params.apiUrl)
                apiUrl = params.apiUrl
  7. Create grails-app/views/profile/index.gsp to display the retrieved profile and allow subsequent API calls.
    <head><title>Your Profile</title></head>
    <a class="home" href="${createLinkTo(dir:'')}">Home</a>
        <div class="errors">
    <g:form url="[action:'change',controller:'profile']" method="get">
        Your LinkedIn Profile:
        <textarea id="payload" style="width: 100%; height: 50%; color: red">${profileXML}</textarea>
            <g:textField name="apiUrl" value="${apiUrl}" size="100%"/>
            <g:submitButton name="send" value="Send Request"/>
  8. Start your app using grails run-app and enjoy.

As mentioned earlier, you can download the grails-oauth-example or view it online.

One improvement I'd like to see is to simplify the parsing of XML into a Profile object, much like the linkedin gem does for Rails.

If you're interested in learning more about LinkedIn and OAuth, I encourage you to checkout Taylor Singletary's presentation LinkedIn OAuth: Zero to Hero.

Update: I updated the oauth-plugin so it's backwards-compatible with OAuth 1.0 and added Twitter to the example application to prove it. If you're seeing "Cannot invoke method remove() on null object", it's likely caused by your redirect URL pointing to an application on a different domain.

Posted in Java at Dec 22 2009, 03:37:57 PM MST 7 Comments

Comparing Kick-Ass Web Frameworks at The Rich Web Experience

Yesterday, I delivered my Comparing Kick-Ass Web Frameworks talk at the Rich Web Experience in Orlando, Florida. Below are the slides I used:

Although it's difficult to convey a presentation in a slide deck, I can offer you my conclusion: there is no "best" web framework. I believe web frameworks are like spaghetti sauce in that everyone has different tastes and having so many choices is necessary to satisfy everyone. You can read more about the plural nature of perfection in Malcolm Gladwell's The Ketchup Conundrum (a written version of What we can learn from spaghetti sauce). Even though there is no "best" web framework, I believe GWT, Flex, Rails and Grails are frameworks that every web developer should try. They really do make it fun to develop web applications.

You can find the slides for my other RWE talk at Building SOFEA Applications with GWT and Grails.

Kudos to Jay Zimmerman for putting on a great show in Orlando this year. I had a great time talking with folks and learning in the sessions I attended. I particularly enjoyed bringing my parents and kids and staying at such a nice resort. Disney World (Magic Kingdom) and Universal Studios was very enjoyable due to the short lines. Also, the weather was perfect - especially considering the freezing cold in Denver this week. ;-)

Posted in Java at Dec 04 2009, 08:16:48 AM MST 3 Comments

Building SOFEA Applications with GWT and Grails

Last night, I spoke at the Denver Java User Group meeting. The consulting panel with Matthew, Tim and Jim a lot of fun and I enjoyed delivering my Building SOFEA Applications with GWT and Grails presentation for the first time. The talk was mostly a story about how we enhanced with GWT and Grails and what we did to make both frameworks scale. I don't believe the presentation reflects the story format that well, but it's not about the presentation, it's about the delivery of it. ;-)

If you'd like to hear the story about this successful SOFEA implementation at a high-volume site, I'd recommend attending the Rich Web Experience next month. If you attended last night's meeting and have any feedback on how this talk can be improved, I'd love to hear it.

Posted in Java at Nov 12 2009, 09:30:09 AM MST 11 Comments

Consulting, SOFEA, Grails and GWT at next week's Denver JUG

Next Wednesday, I'll be at Denver's JUG meeting to talk about Independent Consulting and Building SOFEA Applications with Grails and GWT. The first talk will be a a panel discussion among local independent consultants, including James Goodwill, Matthew McCullough, Tim Berglund and myself.

This session explores the trials and tribulations of an independent consultant. How do you find contracts? Should you setup an LLC, an S-Corp or just be a sole proprietorship? What about health insurance and benefits? Are recruiters helpful or hurtful? Learn lots of tips and tricks to get your dream job and your ideal lifestyle.

The Grails and GWT talk is a preview of a talk I'll be doing at the Rich Web Experience in December. Below is a rewrite of the abstract in first-person.

Earlier this year, I participated in a major enhancement of a high-traffic well-known internet site. The company wanted us to quickly re-architect their site and use a modern Ajax framework to do it with. An Ajax Framework evaluation was done to help the team choose the best framework for their skillset. The application was built with a SOFEA architecture using GWT on the frontend and Grails/REST on the backend.

This talk will cover how Bryan Noll, Scott Nicholls, James Goodwill and I came to choose GWT and Grails, as well as stumbling blocks we encountered along the way. In addition, we'll explore many topics such as raw GWT vs. GXT/SmartGWT, the Maven GWT Plugin, modularizing your code, multiple EntryPoints, MVP, integration testing and JSON parsing with Overlay Types.

If you're in Denver next Wednesday night (November 11th), you should stop by the Denver JUG meeting. It'll be a fun night and there's sure to be a few beers afterward. ;-)

Posted in Java at Nov 05 2009, 10:52:37 PM MST 5 Comments

A Letter to the AppFuse Community

The last AppFuse release was way back in May 2008. Many folks have asked when the next release would be ever since. Often, I've said "sometimes this quarter", but obviously, that's never happened. For that, I apologize.

There are many reasons I haven't worked on AppFuse for the past 18 months, but it mostly comes down to the fact that I didn't make time for it. The good news is I'm working on it again and will have a release out sometime this month. Unfortunately, it probably won't be a 2.1 final release, but there's so many things that've changed, I feel like a milestone release is a good idea. Here's a brief summary of changes so far:

  • Changed archetypes to include all source and tests for the "webapp" portion of the application. No more warpath plugin, merging wars and IDE issues. Using "mvn jetty:run" should work as expected.
  • Moved from Spring XML to Annotations.
  • AppFuse Light converted to Maven modules and now depends on AppFuse's backend.
  • Published easier to use archetype selection form in the QuickStart Guide.
  • Published archetype selection form for AppFuse Light. I do plan on combining these forms as soon as I figure out the best UI and instructions for users to choose AppFuse or AppFuse Light.
  • Upgraded all libraries to latest released versions (Spring 3 hasn't had a final release yet).
  • Upgraded to Tapestry 5 thanks to Serge Eby. I still need to complete tests and code generation for tests.
  • Added Compass support thanks to a patch from Shay Banon.
  • Upgraded from XFire to CXF for Web Services.
  • Moved Maven repository to Sonatype's OSS Repository Hosting for snapshots and releasing to Maven Central. There are no longer any AppFuse-specific artifacts, all are available in central.

I realize there's many full-stack frameworks that do the same thing as AppFuse with less code. Examples include Ruby on Rails, Grails, Seam, Spring Roo and the Play framework. However, there seems to be quite a few folks that continue to use AppFuse and it stills serves the community as a nice example of how to integrate frameworks. Furthermore, it helps me keep up with the latest framework releases, their quirks and issues that happen when you try to integrate them. In short, working on it helps me stay up to speed with Java open source frameworks.

For those folks that like the 1.x, Ant-based version of AppFuse, there will not be a 1.9.5 release. I know I promised it for years, but it's simply something I will not use, so I'd rather not invest my time in it. I'm sorry for lying to those that expected it.

So what's the future of AppFuse? Will it continue to integrate web frameworks with Spring and popular persistence frameworks? Possibly, but it seems more logical to align it with the types of Ajax + REST applications I'm creating these days. I'm currently thinking AppFuse 3.0 would be nice as a RESTful backend with GWT and Flex UIs. I might create the backend with CXF, but it's possible I'd use one of the frameworks mentioned above and simply leverage it to create the default features AppFuse users have come to expect.

More than anything, I'm writing this letter to let you know that the AppFuse project is not dead and you can expect a release in the near future.

Thanks for your support,


Posted in Java at Nov 04 2009, 12:17:17 AM MST 44 Comments

Enhancing with GWT and Grails On my LinkedIn Profile, it says my current gig is a SOFEA consultant at a stealth-mode startup.

SOFEA Consultant, Stealth Mode Startup, Los Angeles, CA. December 2008 -- Present.

OK, I lied. It's not a startup, it's a well-known company that helps you plan parties. For the last 5+ months, my UI team from LinkedIn has been working with to enhance portions of their site with a SOFEA architecture.

In January, we started evaluating Ajax Frameworks and came to the conclusion that GWT was right for us. After we chose the UI framework, other team members chose Grails and memcached to develop scalable RESTful services. The architecture we implemented involves using GWT's RequestBuilder to talk to Grails' services, which cache almost all their JSON output in memcached.

To see an example of a feature we developed with GWT, see Evite's Design Gallery. I personally worked on this feature and very much enjoyed becoming a GWT aficionado in the process. GWT's zero-turnaround feature made doing pure client-side work a lot of fun. It's definitely something I'd like to continuing doing at my next gig.

Everyone from Evite is very happy with what we've been able to do with GWT and Grails. We have a stateless architecture and are quickly able to develop both client-side and server-side features. We've learned to scale the client by using out-of-the-box GWT components. We've scaled Grails by caching as much as possible. We serve up Ads and Analytics using the same JavaScript mechanisms that traditional server-side frameworks use.

At the end of this month, my gig with Evite comes to an end. I'll be spending a few weeks at my family's cabin in Montana and then it's on to the next big thing. What's the next big thing? I'm not sure yet, hence the reason for writing this. If you're looking to develop a GWT application, introduce a SOFEA architecture at your company, or simply adopt some open source frameworks, I'd love to help out. Drop me a line and let's start a conversation.

Posted in Java at Jun 15 2009, 07:41:37 AM MDT 9 Comments

Presenting Web Frameworks of the Future Tomorrow in Denver

Tomorrow (Thursday) night, I'll be doing an encore presentation of my Web Frameworks of the Future at DeRailed. If you're in Denver and would like to hear me ramble while drinking a beer, join us at Forestroom 5 at 6:30.

After the last few days, I'm happy to report I should be in good enough condition to pull this off. If you're curious to learn more about my experience at OSCON and this presentation, please see my writeup on the LinkedIn Blog.

Posted in Open Source at Jul 30 2008, 09:56:17 PM MDT 2 Comments