Excellent! This is how java web frameworks should had been from 2005. Play is a full stack framework and has so many features that putting them all on this post it will end up being an index list. But it’s not only the long list of features it has, it’s that everything works out of the box, there is no need to figure out how to do something. As I said the list is big, so I will only list those that I found more exciting… (I am using this framework on one of my current projects and it works very well on production environment, it’s not just another experiment).
Here they are:
- Active Record style model, based on JPA annotations and backed by hibernate. This is probably the most missing feature form java frameworks, for some strange reason no other Java web framework (at least non that I am aware off) tackle this one and developers are stack with an anemic model – well this is probably a very controversial issue with pros and cons from both sides, anyway, this works fine for me and the fact that it removes the need for DAOs is a big win. Furthermore, just like POJOs you can transfer the model objects them from the service layer to the front-end and back again.
- No need to compile the sources, just make a change and reload your browser.
- Template engine, it uses Groovy as an expression language, I am not familiar with Groovy at all but I love this feature, it works just like the django templates, there is no need to know Groovy to use it.
- Play is modular, there are already plenty of modules to use and it’s really easy to write yours. Standard distribution of Play comes with two optional modules, CRUD and Secure. I think all projects have a need for both modules. With CRUD you have a full web administration interface for all your model objects and it’s fully customizable. Secure is a simple module that helps you setup a basic authentication and authorization management, it’s also highly customizable.
- Play also ships with an embedded application server, just type ”play run” and the world is ready for your next cool app, of course you can deploy your application on any application server. It’s really nice that the embedded application server is ready for production, it’s not just a subset to help you during development.
- Testing the app is easier than ever. It uses the JUnit for unit and functional testing, in your functional testing you can access directly your web controller objects. And there is a third kind of testing, Selenium for your views. But it does not stop there you can run your tests from your web page. In fact the tests are loaded only when you run Play in test mode “play test CoolApp”. Even more, with the Fixtures help class you can load your test data from a yaml file in no time. Do you want more! Continuous Integration to run your test auto-magically, just run Play with the auto-test command. I know what you think, you can do all these with any framework since they are not framework specific, but just imagine the time you need to set everything up, in Play they just work.
- Ready for REST, it is easily scaled by running multiple instances of the same application on several servers.
- IDE agnostic :) it comes with a command line tool that converts your project so it can be used in your favorite IDE.
- And it’s really fast
There are a lot more cool things about this framework. It’s very different from the rest of the frameworks in a good way, just as Spring broke the rules of enterprise development years ago, Play does the same, it breaks the rules and takes an unconventional away of doing thing which is closer to the developer, with the usability and productivity in mind.
Give it a try http://www.playframework.org