I have just returned from a short trip to Rome on business. I didn’t have much access to email, so I came back to a large number of emails, many of which were from the ever increasing play framework digest emails I get from Google groups. Nothing to different yet, except when I started reading, I was amazed by the reactions to the “Open Letter” thread. If you haven’t read it, then feel free to go to Google Groups and have a read, but in summary it simple read ‘I don’t like Play 2, I don’t like Scala, the Play guys have messed up’.
Quite simply, the haters are wrong, simple as that. The Play team created a fantastic framework in Play 1.x. Even at 1.0 it was way ahead of the other frameworks, and continued to push the boundaries through 1.1 and 1.2. In Play 2.0, the team have taken a different direction from what made Play 1.x special, but have again built a fantastic framework.
Now, if I were to build a new web application, of course I would choose Play. Next question would be which one? Well, it depends on the project I am undertaking, but as of yet I have not come across a problem that Play 1.x could not solve. So, I would probably stick with Play 1.
I don’t feel proficient enough in Scala to jump onto the Scala version of Play, so if I did decide to go for a Play 2 app, I would choose Java. Indeed, I am looking forward to Nicolas’s book on Play 2 with Java. I will more than likely also get Peter Hilton’s book (Play 2 with Scala), but the Java book will be much more beneficial for me. Many people have argued that you need to know Scala to write views etc, but that is not true. I had never used Groovy before I started building Play apps, but I picked groovy up in no-time writing my views, and I have already found the same is true in Play 2. Also, as a side note, you can simply use the Groovy plugin and write your views in good-old Groovy.
Now, I understand why people aren’t fully bought into Play 2 yet, I get it. I am still so happy with Play 1.x, I am not ready to move across yet. But what I don’t get is why people are so upset that Play 2 exists? It has its place, and will grow into another great framework, and I will be a better professional for knowing both technologies.
Be grateful to Guillaume and the team for open sourcing the Play framework and continuing to support both 1.x and 2.x. They saved the Java world from the tedium of J2EE frameworks and made developing fun again. If you don’t like Play 2.0, don’t use it, continue to use Play 1.x.