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From Vinny <>
Subject Re: Why did Struts development stagnate?
Date Wed, 29 Mar 2006 20:38:18 GMT
I still say that struts 1.x has not "lost" to webwork.
When I do a quick unscientific search on for
"struts" I get over 1000 jobs listed. The same search for "webwork"
yields 22 jobs. Apparently struts "won" on the business front,
I don't think that is even debatable. Now if we want to talk about
technical prowess then maybe Jonathan might have a point. I can't comment
on it because like a good little scientist I'd like to do some
experiments first.
To me this seems like a nice merger that benefits both projects.
The betamax vs VHS , RISC vs CISC, frameworkC vs frameworkD, Bush vs Kerry
debates are  rapidly becoming background noise to me.

On 3/29/06, Jonathan Revusky <> wrote:
> Niall Pemberton wrote:
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Jonathan Revusky" <>
> > Sent: Saturday, March 25, 2006 11:27 PM
> >
> >
> >>It still seems broadly on-topic to me. It's certainly a legitimate,
> >>well-formulated question.
> >>
> >>Seriously, the only other possibility I see is struts-dev. If it's
> >>off-topic on both struts-user and struts-dev, then the question really
> >>is (as I am starting to suppose) basically taboo.
> >
> >
> >
> > The question isn't taboo - I posed the same kind of thing (and offered one
> > perspective) in an earlier thread:
> >
> >
> >
> > However I don't think what I said in that thread was the whole story -
> > clearly frameworks such as WebWork succeeded and I assume they were a
> > volunteer effort as well.
> Yes, the bulk of your explanation there seemed to be that Struts was an
> all-volunteer effort and so on.
> This could not possibly be why it fell behind Webwork.
> >
> > We currently have 22 committers on Struts -
> Out of curiosity, what is your rough guess as to how many of these 22
> people committed any code in the last... year, let's say.
> > but levels of activity vary
> > widely and I would say that the type of talented people it takes to drive a
> > project forward (and I don't include myself in that group) no longer have an
> > interest in doing so on the Action 1 side - for various reasons. People such
> > as Craig put their effort into developing the JSF standard and see that as
> > the future for web development and that is where they now concentrate their
> > effort. Don was doing alot of work inovating with Struts Ti
> Well, I was not aware of this. However, you mean that Struts TI was a
> complete rewrite of the framework? I mean, was there a tacit assumption
> there that Struts 1.x could not be evolved forward and required a
> complete rewrite?
> > and had the
> > offer to merge not come along from WebWork - we would probably be seeing the
> > fruits of his efforts as Action2 and not even discussing "stagnation" at
> > this point. Ted was AWOL doing C# for a while (hes been "back" for a while
> > which is good :-), Martin seems focused on javascript etc. etc. So I guess
> > this leads to the next question "Well why didn't we attract new talented
> > people into the project that would drive Struts forward?" This I don't
> > know - seems that lots of people decided to go invent their own web
> > framework (YAWF) rather than get involved with Struts. Some of that is
> > certainly their own egos being the "founder of a framework" and some of it I
> > believe is the compatibility issue - its far easier to write a brand new
> > shiny web framework when not hampered by backwards compatibility. Whether we
> > as a community "put them off" I have no knowledge - but I've never seem that
> > proferred anywhere as a reason. It was always something like "Struts sucks
> > because of x, y and z and my brand new shiny framework does it better".
> > Course its far easier to invent a new framework by looking at existing ones
> > and seeing how you can improve them. Back to the "new people" question
> > though - its not my perspective that we have lots of people knocking at the
> > door trying to give us contributions and we're turning them away. I believe
> > its easy to become a Struts committer - you offer reasonable code, are
> > helpful in the community (e.g. answering questions on the user list), been
> > around a while and don't start flame wars or attack people personally - then
> > you get asked. Theres probably 2/3 people who probably think they should
> > have been asked, but haven't - they may or may no have a point - but besides
> > them I don't see it as a case of Struts excluding people and I don't have an
> > explanation for why there are not hoards of people wanting to join.
> Well, first of all, on the question of people going off and doing their
> own framework, you have to basically figure that some of these people
> just didn't think that they could apply their ideas in this setting. If
> somebody with a fire in their belly and some innovative ideas had showed
> up here and wanted to work on that, would they have been able to do so?
> After all, the fact remains that everybody knows that any work they do
> under the ASF umbrella will get much more attention and usage than it
> would otherwise. This is the main (probably the only) reason that the
> Webwork people have come here. So, a priori, your saying that you aren't
> attracting collaborators is really quite odd, isn't it?
> The thing is, Niall, that pretty much all the times you get a new
> collaborator, that person was first a user. Typically that someone is a
> "power user", and is pushing the limits of what the tool can do, and
> starts donating code to make the tool more powerful, and next thing you
> know, the guy is a collaborator.
> Now, you've got a lot of users, so that this basic mechanism doesn't
> operate is rather odd.
> What I have noticed is that the communication with your user community
> is rather poor. Basically, for all of it, the bulk of your users seem
> completely clued out as to what is going on with the Webwork merger.
> For example, you get people flaming me because I am saying that Webwork
> is better than Struts. They say "stop bashing Struts". But I am saying
> exactly what the Struts developers are saying! They have accepted that
> Webwork is better than Struts! So am I supposed to be more catholic than
> the pope?
> Also these people assume that I must be a Webwork developer. Somebody
> wrote a spoof of me in which I was praising Webwork to the skies! I have
> nothing to do with Webwork. I have never even used it. When I say
> Webwork is better, I am simply echoing what the Struts PMC are already
> saying.
> So, I mean, some of this is just going on because people don't know
> what's going on. I see a real communications failure.
> If people really knew that the current Struts 1.x codebase is being
> abandoned, you would think that there would be a lot more threads on
> this list about migration issues. "I've got this Struts 1.x App and I
> just was having a look at Webwork, which is going to be Struts Action 2
> and have various questions about how my app can be migrated...." I don't
> see threads like that, which means to me that you have not communicated
> to  your rank and file users what is really going on here.
> Now, if there really is a problem in terms of user<->developer
> communication here, it would explain why the process whereby certain
> power users become collaborators is not happening as often as it should.
> And this would be a factor in the stagnation.
> Certainly, given the size of the user community, even if 1 in 100 people
> eventually became committers via that process, you would have a lot of
> active committers.
> That a community like webwork with far fewer users nonetheless has a
> more active, real developer team, is really something to look at.
> Certainly, in earlier discussions, most people just seemed to think that
> it was really hard to become a commmitters. So if that is a
> misconception, it is a widely held one. There's something odd going on here.
> >
> > Another answer to the question is "it hasn't stagnated -
> Stop, Niall, stop. That's not an answer. :-) Let's not go around
> completely in circles.
> > we've moved on to
> > Shale" and that is the future for existing Struts users.
> Well, if that is the case, you haven't communicated it to your users.
> I grant that if you are going to communicate something to your users,
> you should probably have a consistent message. The Action/Shale
> cohabitation seems to almost preclude having a consistent message.
> Anyway, JSF/Shale is just something completely different
> paradigmatically and the idea of that as "Struts 2" is really quite odd.
> > Clearly there are
> > quite a few people that will disagree with this - but also alot that will
> > say "great I buy JSF as the future and I'm glad the Struts project has an
> > offering that supports this".
> Well, unless you are offering migration tools or a compatibility layer
> or something, how does it benefit your users that Shale is under the
> "Struts umbrella" any more than if it was a separate project? I mean,
> it's a paradigmatic shift that you have to get head around either way
> and existing apps would need to be refactored.
> >
> > At the end of the day though this does seem academic,  - since we now have two
> > offering for whatever camp you fall into (component orientated or action
> > orientated) and from my point of view the really good thing about the
> > WebWork merger is not only the great software were getting - but also the
> > talented new blood thats coming into the project.
> Well, if you accept that the Webwork people just ran the better project,
> you guys failed to keep Struts 1.x going at least in terms of innovation
> and development, then by that logic, the current Struts PMC should just
> step down probably and let the Webwork people run the show.
> If the same PMC that presided over technical stagnation before is going
> to remain the managers of the project, then I think it isn't an academic
> question. You have to examine the mistakes you made before.
> >
> > So I've given my answer to the question - now can we let this list get back
> > to helping and answering user questions - which is its main purpose?
> Niall, I don't know what you're talking about here. I see no sign that
> the list stopped helping people and answering their questions due to the
> presence of this thread.
> You were giving some signs that you now were willing to talk about this.
> You've had a certain say about this now. You've stepped forward and said
> the topic is not taboo. Well, now you're saying, let's not talk about it
> any more, i.e. I broke the taboo temporarily to get this guy off my
> back, but nudge nudge, wink, wink, the topic really is taboo.
> Okay, maybe that wasn't your intent, but if not, and the topic isn't
> taboo, how do you know other people don't have opinions to express now?
> Again, the idea that this is an either-or proposition and the list has
> to choose between talking about this and helping people by answering
> technical questions is actually absurd, isn't it?
> Jonathan Revusky
> --
> lead developer, FreeMarker project,
> >
> > Niall
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