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Halp! I'm drowning in web application framework options!

 
Chris Crawford
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I am making a transition to web applications, and so I started teaching myself Sockets and Servlets. That's going well now, thanks to some great help on this site from Bear and Margaret, whose last names I can't recall (I've got really bad memory; probably early Alzheimer's).

However, one of my friends suggested that I should be using one of the existing web application frameworks; he said that it would save me much time. I had a look at Wikipedia's listing to get oriented, and was blown away by the number of technologies there. What gives? Are people making web application frameworks for kicks these days? Anyway, I plowed through all the Java-based web application frameworks, not really understanding the distinctions being drawn. So, I have a group of closely related questions that I hope will greatly clarify matters for me:

Are all those frameworks extensions of the basic Servlet system?
Do any of them "dumb down" Servlets to make life easier for the beginner?
Conversely, are they all extensions/expansions of the Servlet technology?

I realize that most of them seem designed to optimize a particular task, such as database handling or enterprise stuff. I have no interest in such specialization; my programming concentration is on the algorithms I design. I need only to get information (often graphical) in and out of the servlet easily.

One other thing, irrelevant to the thrust of this topic: What's the difference between "Model-View-Controller" and "Input-Processing-Output"?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.


 
Bear Bibeault
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Chris Crawford wrote:Are all those frameworks extensions of the basic Servlet system?

Most, but not all. The Play! framework, for example, is not based on JEE.

Do any of them "dumb down" Servlets to make life easier for the beginner?

I don't see how servlets can be dumbed down any -- they are very easy technology. But most of the frameworks use a variation of the command pattern for the units of execution, so you don't end up writing a lot of servlets.

Conversely, are they all extensions/expansions of the Servlet technology?

I don't see how this is any different from question #1.

I realize that most of them seem designed to optimize a particular task, such as database handling or enterprise stuff.

I think you are confusing web frameworks with ORM frameworks.


 
Chris Crawford
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Thanks, Bear. I'm working on it, but I find that the web documentation on this stuff lacks overviews. It's easy to find details, but I can't find anything that addresses the Big Picture, so I spend a lot of time puzzling over the material I can find. Worse, there's so MUCH stuff about Servlets that it's very time-consuming digging through it all.

I have some more questions, but I want to do some more research so that I can formulate them optimally.
 
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