My first impressions of the Play! Framework

Lately I have been searching a Java web application framework to develop a Competition Manager, which you can fork here. As my fellow schoolmates only had some experience with Java it had been an indispensable requirement to use Java, and Play! (the commonly used shortcut for “Play! Framework”) really seemed to be an interesting approach.

The name, at first, made me a little skeptical about the seriousness of the project, but pretty soon I knew that the people behind Play! were exceptional professionals with goals.

I remember having tried other Java web frameworks like Struts or Spring, but I couldn’t see my own code anymore amongst dozens and dozens of XML configuration files to set up your database, and start writing your application logic. I eventually gave up on those, and gladly found that there was a Java framework written by web developers for web developers: Play!

Having a strong Django and a not-so-strong Ruby on Rails background, picking up Play! was a real charm. Play! features a built-in server which allows you to run a Play! application with just a few keystrokes after installing it.
Instead of ./ runserver I just had to type play run in a terminal, and voilá, a local development server was running on port 9000.

I appreciated the excellent NetBeans integration, which allowed me to use a full-fledged IDE. The good thing about that is: it’s entirely optional.
It is just a matter of typing play netbeansify in a terminal, but those who had tendencies to other IDEs or text editors were generally well served.

Certainly the very best thing about Play! is that it is Open Source software, and straight after that the awesome community. It has a very active mailing list to which I have been subscribed for a month or so now, and the response time feels good. The people are awesome and helpful.

I don’t really want to go through all the awesome features of Play!, but you can do that yourself! Visit the website, watch the introduction video (I fell off my chair after viewing that) and start your own Play! application. Today.