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From Peter Donald <pe...@apache.org>
Subject Re: Wakesoft
Date Sat, 28 Sep 2002 01:50:10 GMT

On Sat, 28 Sep 2002 10:02, Gonzalo Diethelm wrote:
> Could anybody familiar with the Wakesoft Architecture Server
> provide comments, opinions or flames regarding this framework?
> I'm particularly interested in comparisons between this thing
> and other frameworks, including Avalon.
> Just in case: http://www.wakesoft.com/

I wasn't able to get to the meat of this framework - I kept encountering 
marketese, white papers, user reports, case studies ... arg!

However I think that I know what it probably looks like. Usually these sort of 
frameworks allow you to define an application model using some high-level 
modelling language (like UML or a derivative). This model is then used to 
1. build a database of model at runtime and use that to "interpret" 
application. (ie I tend to use Commons DynaObject style classes in this sort 
of case) This will also add plugin points where you can write your domain 
specific services
2. generate the source code for the boiler plate code and allow you to 
customize it. Ie generate the Object Model, generate the database/network 
peers. Generate forms to edit objects etc.

If source is generated the framework can either;
a. Require you to subclasss things to get functionality (like torque allowing 
subclasses of objects)
b. Require you to modify generated code

My personal preference is to avoid (b) at all costs because it is hard to 
evolve and is basically "wizards" from MS world of development.

There is a huge number of these frameworks around. Many are very specific to 
particular domains or technologies while others are more generic. Many more 
are emerging to deal with things like making 2-tier or 3-tier a deploy time 
concern. Using EJBs or not becomes a deployment concern etc.

Sun has one of these frameworks, I believe Oracle has one. There is also a 
large number of opensource ones. One that someone has recomended to me is 
http://www.javanovic.com/ which I think is a Struts centric version of this.

In Apache there is not anything like this. If you could extend the Torque xml 
model and use it to gernerate RMI distribution layers, gui forms and so forth 
then it may come close.

Essentially the process ends up being

Model --> Transform --> Write services == Application

(Though some frameworks also have services as part of model).

If Wakesoft allows you to extend their model, add more transforms (I think it 
allows this) then it could be useful. Then it just comes down to how well it 
matches your application domain.

The worst development project I worked on used a similar toolkit that provide 
to be inflexable - which resulted in us doing 4-5 times more work than if we 
coded it up ourselves. 

In contrast, the best project I worked on used a similar toolkit and it saved 
us massive amounts of time. My last 4.5 projects have used a MDA style 
approach at least for certain aspects of the system and mostly worked well 
but we customized each model to specific domain.

Anyways this sort of framework is othogonal to Avalon. In fact Avalon may be a 
target of that framework (or it could use EJB SessionBeans). If you want to 
see how I think it should be done; search back through the Avalon mailing 
list for "Attribute Driven Development" and "Model Driven Development". A 
couple of weeks ago I was yammering on about it ;)


Peter Donald
| You can't wake a person who is pretending      |
|       to be asleep. -Navajo Proverb.           |

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