Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Web Developer and Java Champion. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

The Angular Mini-Book The Angular Mini-Book is a guide to getting started with Angular. You'll learn how to develop a bare-bones application, test it, and deploy it. Then you'll move on to adding Bootstrap, Angular Material, continuous integration, and authentication.

Spring Boot is a popular framework for building REST APIs. You'll learn how to integrate Angular with Spring Boot and use security best practices like HTTPS and a content security policy.

For book updates, follow @angular_book on Twitter.

The JHipster Mini-Book The JHipster Mini-Book is a guide to getting started with hip technologies today: Angular, 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.
You searched this site for "jQuery". 63 entries found.

You can also try this same search on Google.

AppFuse Light 2.2.1 Released!

In December, the AppFuse Team released 2.2.1. Right before that release, I decided to wait on enhancing its "light" modules, a.k.a. AppFuse Light. I'm glad I did, because it took some effort to get jQuery and Bootstrap integrated, as well as to make it more secure.

The good news is AppFuse Light 2.2.1 is released and it's sitting out on the Central Repository. This release is a refactoring of all archetypes to be up-to-date with the AppFuse 2.2.1 release. This means Java 7 compatibility, Servlet 3, Bootstrap/jQuery integration, Tapestry 5.3.6 upgrade and security improvements. I integrated Bootstrap and jQuery using WebJars Servlet 3 support since it was simple and straightforward.

You can create projects using AppFuse's light archetypes using a command such as the following:

mvn archetype:generate -B -DarchetypeGroupId=org.appfuse.archetypes 
  -DarchetypeArtifactId=appfuse-light-spring-freemarker-archetype -DarchetypeVersion=2.2.1 
  -DgroupId=com.mycompany -DartifactId=myproject 

The list of archetypes is as follows:

  • appfuse-light-jsf-archetype
  • appfuse-light-spring-archetype
  • appfuse-light-spring-freemarker-archetype
  • appfuse-light-spring-security-archetype
  • appfuse-light-stripes-archetype
  • appfuse-light-struts-archetype
  • appfuse-light-tapestry-archetype
  • appfuse-light-wicket-archetype

The QuickStart Guide will help you get setup and demos are available at the following links:

If you have questions about AppFuse, we invite you to ask them on the users mailing list or tweet using #appfuse.

For those enjoying Bootstrap in your apps, I encourage you to check out {wrap}bootstrap and Bootswatch.

Posted in Java at Jan 24 2013, 07:43:20 PM MST Add a Comment

What's the best way to compare JVM Web Frameworks?

I've been comparing web frameworks ever since 2004. It was the first time I'd ever proposed a talk for a conference. ApacheCon was in Vegas that year and my buddy Bruce suggested I speak at it. I submitted the talk, got accepted and went to work learning the frameworks I was talking about. At the time, I had a lot of Struts experience and I'd made a good living learning it, consulting on it and blogging about it. However, there was a new kid on the block (Spring MVC) that was garnishing attention and some other frameworks (WebWork and Tapestry) that had a lot of high praise from developers. I was inspired to learn why so many people hated Struts.

Fast forward 8 years and I'm still comparing web frameworks. Why? Because there still seems to be a large audience that's interested in the topic. Witness InfoQ's Top 20 JVM Web Frameworks, which was one of their most-read articles for two months in a row. One of the beauties of the Java Community is that it's very diverse. There's tons of folks that are part of this community and, like it or not, several folks that are former Java Developers. However, these developers still seem to maintain an interest in the community and it's still one of the largest pools of talent out there. Java is still quite viable and only seems to be getting better with age.

So the topic of web frameworks on the JVM is still hot, and I still like to write about it. For those of you still enthusiastic about the topic, you're in luck. The two best websites for the Java Community, InfoQ and DZone (formerly Javalobby) are still very interested in the topic too!

[Read More]

Posted in Java at Jan 09 2013, 08:29:17 AM MST 6 Comments

AppFuse 2.2.1 Released!

The AppFuse Team is pleased to announce the release of AppFuse 2.2.1. This release includes upgrades to all dependencies to bring them up-to-date with their latest releases. Most notable are Hibernate 4, Struts 2.3.7, Apache CXF 2.7.0 and Spring Security 3.1.3. In addition, we've integrated HTML5, Twitter Bootstrap, jQuery and replaced Compass with Hibernate Search. Last but not least, we've added full support for Java 7 and integrated many security improvements. For more details on specific changes see the release notes.

What is AppFuse?
AppFuse is a full-stack framework for building web applications on the JVM. It was originally developed to eliminate the ramp-up time when building new web applications. Over the years, it has matured into a very testable and secure system for creating Java-based webapps.

Demos for this release can be viewed at Please see the QuickStart Guide to get started with this release.

A number of blog posts were written about features that went into this release while it was being developed:

If you have questions about AppFuse, please read the FAQ or join the mailing list. If you find any issues, please report them on the users mailing list.

Thanks to everyone for their help contributing patches, writing documentation and participating on the mailing lists.

We greatly appreciate the help from our sponsors, particularly Atlassian, Contegix and JetBrains. We highly recommend using the new IntelliJ IDEA 12 for developing web applications.

Posted in Java at Dec 11 2012, 03:21:44 PM MST 5 Comments

Improving AppFuse's PageSpeed with Apache

One of the most important things when developing webapps is to make them fast. With AppFuse, we've tried to incorporate many of the 14 rules for faster-loading websites. We had a gzip filter before it was cool (2003) and replaced it with the one from EhCache. However, users experienced issues with both of these, both with XFire/CXF and WebWork/Struts 2 and JSPs. Because of these issues, we disabled gzipping a few releases ago.

This article is designed to show you how you can make your AppFuse webapp faster, without modifying any code. The good news is this applies to any webapp that you can deploy behind Apache.

Last Friday, I sent an email to the good folks at Contegix to see if they could install mod_pagespeed on the Apache server that sits in front of * My goal was to improve the YSlow and PageSpeed scores of the apps hosted on I discovered they were getting a dismal score of 24 and figured we could do a lot better. mod_pagespeed speeds up your site and reduces page load time by automatically applying web performance best practices. It seemed like an easy solution.

Unfortunately, we were unable to use mod_pagespeed. From the guys at Contegix:

Attempting to install mod_pagespeed as you requested, we find that it requires Apache httpd 2.2 and libstdc++ 4.1.2, both of which are unsupported in RHEL4. To get mod_pagespeed to work on your present operating system basically means re-rolling the core components, which would make them unsupported. I'm afraid mod_pagespeed is simply not an option on your present configuration.

Since I still wanted to improve performance, I opted for another route instead: using mod_deflate (for gzipping) and mod_expires (for expires headers). I also turned on KeepAlive as recommended by PageSpeed Insights.

mod_deflate was already installed in Apache (version 2.0.52), so all I had to do was configure it. On RHEL4, Apache is installed at /etc/httpd and there's a conf.d directory that contains all the configuration files. I created a file at /etc/httpd/conf.d/deflate.conf and populated it with the following:

# mod_deflate configuration
<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
    SetOutputFilter DEFLATE
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain text/html text/xml text/css application/xml application/xhtml+xml application/rss+xml application/javascript application/x-javascript
    DeflateCompressionLevel 9
    BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
    BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip
    BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
    DeflateFilterNote Input instream
    DeflateFilterNote Output outstream
    DeflateFilterNote Ratio ratio
    LogFormat '"%r" %{outstream}n/%{instream}n (%{ratio}n%%)' deflate

At first, I had separate lines for all the different content types (as recommended by this article). The Contegix support crew figured out the solution (everything needed to be on one line) in 14 minutes, updated the config and verified it worked using an http compression testing page.

mod_expires was already installed, so I added a config file at /etc/httpd/conf.d/expires.conf. I used this howto and asked Contegix for help when it didn't work. Their response took quite a bit longer this time (49 minutes), but they once again figured it out:

It appears that FilesMatch does not like to play will JkMount. It does work using content type.

My final config for expires.conf:

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
    ExpiresActive On
    <FilesMatch "\.(jpe?g|png|gif|js|css)$">
        ExpiresDefault "access plus 1 week"
    ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 week"
    ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 week"
    ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 week"
    ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 week"
    ExpiresByType application/javascript "access plus 1 week"
    ExpiresByType application/x-javascript "access plus 1 week"

I used "1 week" because we're changing things quite a bit right now and we haven't integrated resource fingerprinting yet.

The last thing I did to improve performance was to turn on KeepAlive by editing /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf and changing Off to On.

# KeepAlive: Whether or not to allow persistent connections (more than
# one request per connection). Set to "Off" to deactivate.
KeepAlive On

As a result of these changes, our PageSpeed score went from 24 to 96 and YSlow went from a 90 to a 98. When I started this experiment, I was only trying to fix However, it also improved the speed of all the other * sites, including Confluence, Bamboo, JIRA and FishEye. Thanks for all the help Contegix! There's a good chance you've given me back a few minutes in each day.

Originally posted on the AppFuse Blog.

Posted in Java at Dec 04 2012, 09:25:05 AM MST 7 Comments

Why the bias against JSF?

In my last post about InfoQ's Top 20 Web Frameworks for the JVM, I received a thought-provoking comment from henk53:

There is one little thing that does bother me in those presentations, and that's your fairly obvious bias against JSF.
If you are presenting yourself as, more or less, an authority on comparing web frameworks, then having a fairly obvious biased against one of them is just peculiar. I, all of my team, and various clients distrust your ranking of JSF. We do look at your data if the choice is between other frameworks, but as soon as JSF comes into the picture we just look elsewhere.

I'm not really sure where this bias comes from. Yes, JSF 1.0 sucked and 1.2 was only marginally better, but 2.0 is really cool and productive and there are SUPERB component and utility libraries now like PrimeFaces and OmniFaces. As a researcher of this topic I think you should keep up the date and not stick to some old grudge.

This is true, I am biased against JSF. It all started with my first JSF experience back in August 2004. If you remember correctly, 2004 was a big year: JSF 1.0, Spring 1.0 and Flex 1.0 were all released. The "AJAX" term was coined in early 2005.

History of Web Frameworks

By 2007 and 2008, JSF still hadn't gotten any better. In late 2009, JSF 2.0 was released and I upgraded in March 2011. As you can see from the aforementioned post, I ran into quite a few issues upgrading. JSF was also the hardest one to get working with extension-less URLs.

Most of my issues with JSF come from having maintained an application built with it since 2004. If I were to start a new application without any legacy migration issues, I imagine it wouldn't be as difficult. However, if you compare it to Struts 2 and Spring MVC, I've had little-to-no issues upgrading those applications over the years.

Also, I'm not just biased against JSF, but most component-based web frameworks. Just ask the Tapestry and Wicket folks. They've felt my criticisms over the years. My reason for preferring request-based frameworks like Struts 2/Spring MVC and Grails/Play has been because I've never seen the appeal in component-based frameworks. Often I've found that their components are just widgets that you can get from any decent JavaScript framework. And chances are that JavaScript framework can work with any web framework. Also, I've worked on a lot of high-traffic web applications that require statelessness for scalability.

I see the value in component-based frameworks, I just don't think components should be authored on the server-side. Most of the Java-based component frameworks require 2+ files for components (one for the component, one for the view, possibly one for the config). I love GWT's component concept in that you can just extract a class and re-use it. With JS frameworks, you can often just include a script. These days, when I think of good component-based frameworks, I think of jQuery UI and Twitter Bootstrap.

All that being said, there's a lot of folks praising JSF 2 (and PrimeFaces moreso). That's why I'll be integrating it (or merging your pull request) into the 2.3 release of AppFuse. Since PrimeFaces contains a Bootstrap theme, I hope this is a pleasant experience and my overall opinion of JSF improves.

In other component-based frameworks in AppFuse news, Tapestry 5 has gotten really fast in the last year. I imagine this is because we have a Tapestry expert, Serge Eby, working on it. And we're planning on adding Wicket in the 2.3 release.

So even though I prefer request-based frameworks with REST support and Bootstrap, that doesn't mean everyone does. I'll do my best to be less-biased in the future. However, please remember that my view on web frameworks is as a developer, not an analyst. And aren't developers supposed to be opinionated? ;)

Posted in Java at Nov 08 2012, 09:24:27 AM MST 11 Comments

AppFuse News: GitHub, Hibernate Search and The Future

It's been a while since I've written anything about AppFuse, but since the project has had quite a bit of activity lately, now seems like a good time.

First of all, we moved the source code from to GitHub way back in June. Thanks to Serge for helping with this process and making it quick and painless. For some reason, shortly after moving, we started having quite a few build issues with Bamboo. I was able to diagnose the problem as not enough memory on our server. Thankfully, Contegix was able to add another 2GB of RAM to our box and get everything back up-to-snuff.

New Committer: J. Garcia
J. Garcia has been a regular voice on the users and developers mailing list for several months. He's recently started contributing a lot of patches in JIRA and seems genuinely interested in the success of AppFuse. That's why we voted and added him as a committer. To prove this was a smart move, he recently replaced Compass with Hibernate Search and upgraded to Hibernate 4. As part of this work, he removed iBATIS support, which brings me to my next point.

The Future
In mid-August, I sent an email to the community, asking them "Anyone using iBATIS?"

I'm thinking of replacing AppFuse's Data Tier with Spring Data, especially because it has NoSQL and REST support. There's a good intro on InfoQ today:

Does anyone see an issue with this? The lack of iBATIS support could be an issue, but I doubt it since if we wanted to continue supporting it, we should move to MyBATIS.

Everyone agreed this was a good idea and it seemed like a logical time to remove iBATIS support. In addition, I posted a roadmap I jotted down in early May. Since we've missed all the dates so far, I've removed them from the listing below. We hope to get 1-2 releases done by the end of this year, with 2.2 in the next 2-3 weeks.

Hibernate 4
Hibernate Search

AMP for all light modules

JSR 303 (might require removing or developing client-side support)
Mockito instead of jMock/EasyMock

AMP one-to-many
Spring Data
MyBatis (if there's interest in adding it back in)

wro4j for concatenation and minimizing JS and CSS
pjax -

Scala example
Gradle example
Article about examples


Maven Central Statistics
To prove there's still a fair amount of folks using AppFuse, here's some statistic from Sonatype's OSS Repository Hosting Service.

AppFuse Downloads

From this screenshot, you can see that AppFuse artifacts are downloaded around 7,000 times per month. The following graph is even more interesting. Apparently, around 3,000 new projects are created with AppFuse archetypes each month.

AppFuse Archetype Downloads

The AppFuse Name
Finally, I recently discovered that ShoreTel decided to name a new product AppFuse. I guess this signifies two things: 1) it's a good name for a product and 2) someone didn't do their research before naming it. At this point, I'm not too concerned, but it is an interesting development.

Posted in Java at Sep 25 2012, 10:42:14 AM MDT 5 Comments

Refreshing Taleo's UI with HTML5, Twitter Bootstrap and CSS3

Back in December, I wrote about what I've been working on at Taleo. Shortly after finishing up the Profile Picture, Talent Card and Org Chart features for TBE, I spent two weeks doing page speed optimization. By following Web Performance Best Practices, I was able to make the TBE application twice as fast and improve its score into the low 90s.

Next, I started working on a new project - refreshing the UI. Nick, the Lead UX Designer at Taleo (at the time), had developed a number of mockups and presented it to the developers and product folks in early November. I listened to a WebEx of that meeting and learned that everyone thought it'd take 6-9 months to complete the work. They figured they could release the new design in Q3 2012.

Since I like to provide high-value for my clients, I offered to help with the redesign and do a spike to help estimate. They agreed it'd be a good use of my time and I started working on it the week before Christmas. Since I'd used Twitter Bootstrap for my Play More! app, I recommended we use it as a foundation of the redesign. They agreed and I went to work. By the end of the week, I'd made good progress and told them I thought the redesign was possible in 2-3 months (including QA and cross-browser compatibility).

When I came back to work in January, we decided to split the redesign into two phases. Rather than moving elements around and introducing new features, we decided to do that in the 2nd phase. The 1st phase would entail simply re-skinning the existing UI, with minimal HTML changes. I spent a week refining my spike and integrating it into a branch. The next week, I switched images from individual images to CSS sprites. Next, I implemented a new theming system with different colors/icons and got everything looking good in Chrome, Safari and IE8/9.

The result is something I'm quite proud of. IE8 doesn't have the rounded corners (via border-radius), but it still looks good. Forms look much better thanks to Bootstrap's styling and even jQuery UI's widgets look good thanks to jQuery UI Bootstrap. I did have to override quite a few Bootstrap styles in the process, but the result is something that doesn't look too bootstrappy.

One technique I found to be extremely useful during this process was to pair with Nick (the designer) as mentioned in Building Twitter Bootstrap. At one point, when we were trying to refine slight nuances and spacing in the UI, I paired with the Product Manager and found this to be a real time-saving effort as well.

Taleo's UI Refresh project has been a great experience for me in sharpening my CSS skills. I used quite a bit of child and sibling selectors, which work great in all the browser's we're supporting. Also, by using CSS sprites and colors (vs. images), I was able to get the manual theme-creation process down to around 15 minutes. After getting the manual process greatly reduced, I wrote a Theme Generator (based on Ant, LESS and wro4j) and got it down to mere minutes. I found Sprite Cow to be an invaluable resources for working with CSS sprites.

Below are some before and after shots of what we've been able to accomplish in the first quarter of this year.

Old UI - My View Old UI - New Employee

New UI - My View New UI - New Employee

I originally wrote this post at the end of January. We ran into some stumbling blocks shorty after its original composition: Nick (the designer) moved onto greener pastures and Oracle bought Taleo. What I didn't expect when I wrote this was to spend the next two months fixing slight bugs that occurred with spacing, alignment and dependent applications I didn't know about at the time. And then there was IE7. We didn't realize we needed to support it until mid-March. Then it took us around a month to make it all work good enough.

The good news is the UI Refresh was released a few months ago and seems to be humming along just fine. Sure, there were slight nuances and customizations we had conflicts with (clashing CSS classes), but overall it seems to have gone well. I can't thank the Bootstrap developers enough for motivating us to move to HTML5 and CSS3. Also, cheers to the excellent co-workers that helped make this happen: Murray Newton (Product Manager) and Vladimir Bazarsky. I couldn't have done it without you guys.

Posted in The Web at Aug 20 2012, 12:27:21 PM MDT 5 Comments

New Look and Feel, Designed by Gillen's Army

As part of my 10-year blogiversary, I was hoping to refresh this site with a new look and feel. A few months ago, I contacted my friend Mark Waggoner to see about getting his design help. We promptly worked out a logo/business card/website deal and Gillen's Army went to work.

I picked a logo from numerous choices in late June, finalized a business card for printing in July and received the HTML and CSS for the site on August 2nd. I started converting it to a Roller theme last week and did a whole bunch of other modifications in the process.

  • Upgraded to Roller 5.0.1.
  • Upgraded wro4j to the latest version ( to workaround using a → (\2192) in CSS.
  • Changed to use jQuery and Lightbox2 for pictures.
  • Upgraded to the latest version (3.0.83) of SyntaxHighlighter. You might notice there is no longer a toolbar in this version. However, you can still double-click on code and easily copy/paste it.

In addition to these upgrades, I made a few enhancements. I converted to HTML5 (by switching the doctype), added Modernizr and a feature that detects if the sun is up in your location. If you allow your browser to send me your lat and long, I'll give you a dark theme when the sun is down and a light theme when it's daylight. I used Preston's Hunt's JavaScript Class for Sunrise and Sunset Calculations to determine isDaylight. You can also change the theme to light or dark using the small rectangles above the search box on the right. This sets a cookie and overrides the HTML5 Geo check. You can see the implementation of this logic in site.js.

The stylesheet switching doesn't happen as fast as I'd hoped (there's a flash even if using cookies), so I'll likely be converting some theme-setting logic to the server-side. The HTML5 version of the FaceBook Like Button requires you to specify the "data-colorscheme" in markup so this further supports moving to the server.

I have other minor adjustments I'd like to make, but more importantly - I wanted to get it out to you all. Tell me what you like and don't like. Among other things, the form inputs for comments and contact forms have backgrounds that might not be great for those color-impaired. Also, you can see how the iframe on the contact page has a white background instead of one based on the theme.

Here's some stats comparing my old andreas08 theme to the new darklight:

Metric andreas08 darklight
Size and Speed 167 requests, 3.6MB, 9.89s 148 requests, 3.2MB, 7.34s
YSlow 76 87
PageSpeed 91 96

Sweet! It looks like this site is faster than ever. Cheers to Mark and Gillen's Army for the new design. I dig it!

Posted in Roller at Aug 14 2012, 10:58:11 PM MDT 6 Comments

Upgrading to Play 2: Anorm and Testing

This time last year, I decided I wanted to learn Scala. I chose the Play Framework as my vehicle for learning and I added CoffeeScript and Jade to the mix. I packaged it all up, learned a bunch and presented it at Devoxx 2011.

In January, I added SecureSocial, JSON Services and worked a bit on the mobile client. I presented my findings at Jfokus shortly after. As part of my aforementioned post, I wrote:

Right before we left for Jfokus, I was able to get everything to work, but didn't spend as much time as I'd like working on the mobile client. If this talk gets accepted for Devoxx France, I plan on spending most of my time enhancing the mobile client.

I had some complications (a.k.a. too much vacation) with Devoxx France and wasn't able to attend. To make up for it, I submitted the talk to ÜberConf. It got accepted and I started working on my app a couple weeks ago. So far, I've spent about 8 hours upgrading it to Play 2 and I hope to start re-writing the mobile client later this week. I plan on using Cordova, jQTouch and releasing it in the App Store sometime this month.

Upgrading to Play 2
When I heard about Play 2, I thought it was a great thing. The developers were re-writing the framework to use Scala at the core and I was already using Scala in my app. Then I learned they were going to throw backwards compatibility out the window and I groaned. "Really? Another web framework (like Tapestry of old) screwing its users and making them learn everything again?!", I thought. "Maybe they should call it Run instead of Play, leaving the old framework that everyone loves intact."

However, after hearing about it at Devoxx and Jfokus, I figured I should at least try to migrate. I downloaded Play 2.0.1, created a new project and went to work.

The first thing I learned about upgrading from Play 1.x to Play 2.x is there's no such thing. It's like saying you upgraded from Struts 1 to Struts 2 or Tapestry 4 to Tapestry 5. It's a migration, with a whole new project.

I started by looking around to see if anyone had documented a similar migration. I found two very useful resources right off the bat:

From Jan's Blog, I learned to copy my evolutions from my Play 1.x project into conf/evolutions/default. I changed my application.conf to use PostgreSQL and wrote an EvolutionsTest.scala to verify creating the tables worked.

import org.specs2.mutable._

import play.api.db.DB
import play.api.Play.current

import anorm._

import play.api.test._
import play.api.test.Helpers._

class EvolutionsTest extends Specification {

  "Evolutions" should {
    "be applied without errors" in {
      running(FakeApplication()) {
        DB.withConnection {
          implicit connection =>
            SQL("select count(1) from athlete").execute()
            SQL("select count(1) from workout").execute()
            SQL("select count(1) from comment").execute()

Then I began looking for how to load seed data with Play 2.x. In Play 1.x, you could use a BootStrap job that would load sample data with YAML.

import play.Play

class BootStrap extends Job {

  override def doJob() {

    import models._
    import play.test._

    // Import initial data if the database is empty
    if (Athlete.count().single() == 0) {
      Yaml[List[Any]]("initial-data.yml").foreach {
        _ match {
          case a: Athlete => Athlete.create(a)
          case w: Workout => Workout.create(w)
          case c: Comment => Comment.create(c)

This is no longer a recommended practice in Play 2. Instead, they recommend you turn your YAML into code. 10 minutes later, I had a Global.scala that loaded seed data.

import models._
import play.api._
import play.api.Play.current

import anorm._

object Global extends GlobalSettings {

  override def onStart(app: Application) {

 * Initial set of data to be loaded
object InitialData {

  def date(str: String) = new java.text.SimpleDateFormat("yyyy-MM-dd").parse(str)

  def insert() {

    if (Athlete.count() == 0) {

        Athlete(Id(1), "[email protected]", "beer", "Matt", "Raible"),
        Athlete(Id(2), "[email protected]", "whiskey", "Trish", "McGinity")

        Workout(Id(1), "Chainsaw Trail",
            A beautiful fall ride: cool breezes, awesome views and yellow leaves.

            Would do it again in a heartbeat.
          """, 7, 90, date("2011-10-13"), 1),
        Workout(Id(2), "Monarch Lake Trail",
          "Awesome morning ride through falling yellow leaves and cool fall breezes.",
          4, 90, date("2011-10-15"), 1),
        Workout(Id(3), "Creekside to Flume to Chainsaw",
          "Awesome morning ride through falling yellow leaves and cool fall breezes.",
          12, 150, date("2011-10-16"), 2)

        Comment(1, "Jim", "Nice day for it!"),
        Comment(2, "Joe", "Love that trail."),
        Comment(2, "Jack", "Where there any kittens there?")

Anorm's Missing Magic
Before starting with Play 2, I knew it had lost some of its magic. After all, the developers had mentioned they wanted to get ride of the magic and moving to Scala allowed them to do that. However, I didn't think I'd miss Magic[T] as much as I do. Like Martin Fowler, I like ORMs and having to use SQL again seems painful. It seems like a strange shift for Play to reduce type-safety on the backend, but increase it in its templates. Oh well, to each their own. I may eventually move to Squery, but I wanted to do a side-by-side comparison as part of my migration.

Using the aforementioned tutorial from James and Jan's blog posts, as well as Guillaume's Play 2.0/Anorm, I set about creating new model objects. I wrote a bunch of SQL, typed up some new finders and migrated my tests from ScalaTest to the new default, specs2. The Mosh Pit's Migrating a Play 1.2 website to Play 2.0 was a great help in migrating tests.

That's when I started having issues with Anorm and figuring out how its parser syntax works. After struggling for a few days, I finally found yabe-play20-scala. Since I'd used the yabe tutorial from Play 1.x, it was familiar and helped me get past my problems. Now, things aren't perfect (Workouts aren't ordered by their posted date), but everything compiles and tests pass.

To illustrate how little code was required for Anorm 1.x, checkout Workout.scala in Play 1.x vs. Play 2.x. The Play 1.x version is 66 lines; Play 2.x requires 193 lines. I don't know about you, but I kinda like a little magic in my frameworks to reduce the amount of code I have to maintain.

I was pleasantly surprised by specs2. First of all, it was an easy migration from ScalaTest. Secondly, Play's FakeApplication made it very easy to write unit tests. The line count on my UnitTests.scala in Play 1.x vs. Play 2.x is almost identical.

The first few hours of developing with Play 2 were frustrating, mostly because I felt like I had to learn everything over again. However, I was pleased to find good references on migrating from Play 1.x. Last night, I migrated all my Controllers, integrated Scalate and got most of my views rendering. I still have issues rendering validation errors, but I hope to figure that out soon. The last 2 hours have been much more fun and I feel like my Scala skills are coming along. I think if the Play Team could eliminate those first few hours of struggling (and provide almost instant joy like Play 1.x) they'd really be onto something.

As soon as I figure out how to validation and how to add a body class based on the URL, I'll write another post on the rest of my migration. A Play 2-compatible version of SecureSocial just came out this evening, so I may integrate that as well. In the meantime, I'll be working on the iPhone app and finishing up a Grails 2 application for James Ward and my Grails vs. Play Smackdown.

Posted in Java at Jun 05 2012, 08:55:40 PM MDT 7 Comments

Play Framework 2.0 with Peter Hilton at Jfokus

This week, I'm at Jfokus in Stockholm, Sweden. After a fun speaker's dinner last night, I got up this morning and polished up my presentations and demo before attending the conference. The first session I attended was Peter Hilton's Play Framework 2.0 presentation. Below are my notes from this talk.

Peter is a Senior Web Developer, not a Java Developer. His first slide states the following:

"Play brings type safe high-productivity web development to the JVM."

New features in Play 2.0: type-safety, template syntax, compile-time checking and asynchronous HTTP programming. Java, Scala - the language you use is less important than the fact that Play is a web framework. It's a full-stack framework and has everything you need out-of-the-box to build a web application. Play focuses on HTTP and doesn't try to hide it. It's designed by web developers for web developers.

With Play, the Back button just works. Your web framework shouldn't break the first button on your browser's toolbar. The Reload button also works: make a change, hit reload and your changes (even in Scala classes) are shown. You design the URLs and you can use "clean" URLs. DX (Developer eXperience) is Peter's new term. Usability matters: as a developer, you deserve a framework that provides a good experience.

Play doesn't fight HTTP or the browser. It's stateless and HTTP-centric. A few years ago, it seemed like a good idea to try and keep state on the server. It sounded like a good idea, but in practice, it's a really bad idea - especially for things like the back button. Play matches the web's stateless HTTP architecture.

As a Java EE developer, PHP and Rails developers have been laughing at us for years. Like Father Christmas, Peter's heard of class-reloading, but he hasn't actually seen it. Code reloading is the most important part of DX and about achieving high-productivity in web development.

URLs want to be loved too. REST architecture isn't just for web service APIs. When you have clean URLs, you can tweet them, post them and email them.

"You would need to be a super-hero to successfully use some web frameworks." They show you a blank screen in the browser and you have to look at your console's stack trace to figure it out. With Play, the error is shown in your browser and you can see the exact line it happens on.

In Play 1.x, there was a lot of magic and a lot of bytecode enhancement at runtime. This allowed the API to be a lot nicer than traditional Java APIs. However, it caused issues when users viewed the enhanced source and it also caused issues in IDEs. With Play 2.0, the framework itself is implemented in Scala. Scala removes the need for so much bytecode enhancement. There is less 'magic' and strangeness in the API. The code you see in the IDE is the code that runs. Scala source code is not necessarily harder to read. 1.x had some pretty hairy Java code, and you could tell when you dug into it. Especially when you were deep into the source code and saw that a lot of the comments were in French.

Play 2.0's template system is based on Scala. It's similar to the lightweight template syntax in Play 1.x. Templates are compiled into class files for run-time speed. For example:

@(products: Seq[Product])

@for(product <- products) {


We used to think XML-based templates were great, but it turns out it's a terrible idea. Mostly because you end up having to invent an expression language to create valid XML (to avoid putting XML in your HTML attributes). With Play 2.0's templates, you can define tags in your templates as regular Scala methods.

@display(product: models.Product) ={
 <a href="@routes.Product.details("></a> 

@for(product <- products) {

The compile-time checking in Play 2.0 is not just for Java and Scala classes. It also compiles your HTTP routes file (which maps requests to controller actions). Furthermore, it compiles your templates, JavaScript files (using Google Closure Compiler), CoffeeScript files and LESS stylesheets.

Play supports modern web development. It's designed to work with HTML5, but there's no constraints on HTML output. It's front-end developer friendly and has great DX. UI components belong in the client, e.g. jQuery UI. It also has built-in support for improvements to CSS (LESS) and JavaScript (CoffeeScript).

A few years ago, it seemed like a really good idea to hide JavaScript from the web developer. Web frameworks used to say "You don't need to see the JavaScript or the HTML, we'll handle generating your components for you." Now, if you're building a web application and you don't know any jQuery, you doing it the hard way. You should learn how to work with front-end developers or learn how to do it yourself. And make sure your web framework allows this sort of development.

The future of web programming is asynchronous. You'll perform simultaneous web service requests. You'll process streams of data, instead of filling up memory or disk. You'll publish real-time data and have predictable and minimal resource consumption. In the long term, this changes everything. The future of the web is real-time and asynchronous. With Play 2.0, it's not just another feature, it's a fundamental aspect of the architecture. Play's internal architecture uses a reactive model based on Iteratee IO.

In summary, use Play 2, use HTML5, deploy to the Cloud. There's two forthcoming books on Play (both from Manning) and Play 2.0 RC1 will be released today.

I think Peter did a good job of summarizing the new features in Play 2.0, especially how templates work. I enjoyed his emphasis on HTTP and how Play leverages the browser (back, reload and as a console). I liked his humorous speaking style, and agree with his emphasis that client-side development skills are important for modern web applications. I think Play 2.0 is making a big bet on Scala and asynchronous programming, but if they live up to the hype, it should be a very enjoyable web framework to develop with.

Posted in Java at Feb 14 2012, 07:17:08 AM MST 2 Comments