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From "Niall Pemberton" <>
Subject Re: has struts reached the saturation
Date Wed, 15 Mar 2006 05:31:51 GMT
I'm interested in the question "why has the market leading web framework
failed to evolve fast enough and retain its position as the technically best
in its field (i.e. action orientated frameworks)?".

IMO there are two main reasons for this:
1) Backwards compatibility - Struts was so successful that the impact of
breaking backwards compatibility hampered innovation and change (much easier
to break compatibility when theres only a few users).
2) Lack of willingness to contribute back from the vast majority of
businesses that use Struts.

The people who work on Struts do so in there own time as volunteers. Why
haven't these businesses stepped up and paid for developers to work full
time on this project? I may be doing them a dis-service since I don't know
the history, but as an example BEA had a full time team developing Beehive
based on Struts but to my knowledge never actually contributed to Struts.
Why was that?

Now companies such as Sun, Oracle etc. have put alot of resources into JSF
including giving away lots of stuff away for free (e.g. ADF faces, Studio
creator) - if thats "marketing hype" then they're putting their money where
they're hype is. If they think that this strategy and JSF is a good way for
them to make money, then they're free to do so and push it as hard as they
want. Its not them or the people that have actually contributed to Struts
that should be criticised or questioned for their motives. Its all those
businesses that have taken and given nothing back - the silent majority.
Where are the full time paid developers for Struts?

I agree that we (the struts PMC) have a responsibility to our users and so
far I think we've fulfilled that - Struts is still being maintained and
released. But I don't think the vast majority of businesses that have
benefited from Struts have fulfilled their responsibility and so at the end
of the day if JSF takes over or Struts stagnates then those business that
have put nothing in, have nothing to complain about.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Frank W. Zammetti" <>
Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2006 4:25 AM

> Ted Husted wrote:
> >>From an open source perspective, terms like "succeed" and "fail" have
> > very different meanings. How many lurkers use a product isn't
> > important. What's important is how many people are willing to put ego
> > aside and collaborate on a product.
> Yes, that's the idealism of the open source perspective.  I don't
> dispute that at all.  But let's step back and be pragmatic for just a
> minute.  JSF is a way for a lot of people to make money.  Many vendors
> have a stake in its "commercial" success or failure.  This has been true
> from the beginning.  Some would say the whole point of JSF from the
> start was to make money for one company, and eventually a lot of other
> companies.  Incidentally, I'm a happy capitalist, I therefore have no
> problem whatsoever with that!  I just like that fact not being denied,
> and I for one do see it as fact.  Contrast this with how something like
> Struts began, which came straight from the idealism you speak of, a
> desire to help a community, a desire by one developer to create
> something that not only helped themselves but helped others.  I think
> that is a wonderful motivation.  And that may have been that same
> developers' motivation with JSF as well, but I to this day do not
> believe it was the motivation of the larger entities involved.
> So, while there may be certain meanings in those two words "succeed" and
> fail", from a community perspective, there is also a meaning from a
> larger perspective, and it isn't the same.
> Frankly though, that's all noise in my mind... putting that all aside
> though, *I* was talking about success or failure in terms of developer
> mindshare, and nothing more.  This is where I don't think any conclusion
> has been reached yet.  Personally, I hope things continue as they are
> right now: JSF is one choice among many.  That to me seems the best
> state of being.  Options are good.  JSF is an option.  Therefore, in at
> least one sense, JSF is good :)  It should be able to develop and grow
> its community, and if it winds up being what everyone decides they want
> to use, great!  It shouldn't become that because some corporate entities
> have a stake in it becoming that.
> > Right now, we have volunteers who are ready, willing, and able to
> > contribute to the Shale codebase. We also have volunteers contributing
> > to Action and Action2.
> Exactly as it should be.  I'd hate it if it were any other way, honestly.
> > The reason these products all live at Struts is because the *people*
> > who are building the products feel like we are all part of the same
> > team. We share the same values, and we are trying to solve the same
> > problems, even if we are solving them with different flavors of the
> > same underlying technologies. It's not up to anyone else. It's up to
> > the 15 members of the Apache Struts PMC, all of which have different
> > employers, and all of which have an equal say.
> Again, no problem.  As you have pointed out many times, those that do
> the work set the direction.  Again, as it should be.  However, whatever
> the original intent, Struts has become a powerful brand.  You can recite
> whatever philosophical ideals you want, but that doesn't change the
> reality of what Struts has become.  As such, those making the decisions,
> have a certain responsibility IMO to "do right" by the brand.
> Of course, what "doing right" means is absolutely debatable :)  I for
> one do not have any major problem with how things are at the moment.  I
> did a few months back, but frankly it seems like the concerns I had have
> been addressed reasonably well for the most part.  It looks like Paul
> might not agree :)  As long as no one silences anyone else just because
> their opinion doesn't jive with your won ("your" being anyone, not you
> specifically Ted) then things are still as they should be.
> > For us, it's not about branding or marketshare or any of that. It's
> > about volunteer share. It's about which products that we, as
> > engineeers, want to use to build our own applications.
> This is where I do happen to disagree with you Ted.  As I said earlier,
> Struts has become something more to a great many people.  Many
> businesses rely on Struts.  Many peoples' livelihoods depend on Struts.
>   I hope you would agree with those statements.  Because of that, you
> take on a greater responsibility than simply contributing.  Of course
> you should be guided to a large degree by what you want to use to build
> your own applications.  That's understandable and appropriate.  But it
> you don't see yourself having a larger responsibility because of what
> Struts is to many people, I don't think you completely appreciate the
> position you have (again, I'm not speaking directly to you Ted, this is
> the metaphorical "you").
> This goes for any open-source project.  Linus is still guided by what he
> wants to see in Linux, but I dare say he realizes he has a larger
> responsibility because of what Linux has become.  His actions bear that
> out I think.  The same should be true for any extremely popular
> open-source project IMO.
> > When people discuss our products, it's easy to miss the true point of
> > an Apache project. It's not about creating technology, it's about
> > *people* creating technologies. It's about real engineers working
> > together to solve our own problems. If our solutions solve other
> > people's problems too, that's great, but, for us, marketshare is not
> > the point of the exercise.
> But it has *become* at least *part* of the exercise.  Struts has.  When
> an open-source project gets to a certain level of acceptance, there
> *has* to be a point where responsibility to others kicks in.
> You know, we're always talking about building community... it seems to
> me that part of being involved in a community is responsibility to
> others.  You can't be part of a community and yet exist in a vacuum.  If
> you take on a role as a leader in an open-source project, you have to
> understand that other people are in fact counting on you.  Yes, it is
> there choice to do so, and they accept a certain degree of risk in doing
> so, but don't you have at least *some* obligation to them as a leader in
> that project?  We can debate the degrees here, but can we really debate
> that underlying thesis?
> > -Ted.
> Frank

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