Coding is always fun and sometimes play. But "Play" is also a framework. It's a fun framework, so Alexandros Bantis demonstrated at last nights Technology Radar Group Meetup. His hands-on tutorial on the Play Framework and it's Akka messaging infrastructure, was delivered as a GitHub Repo of code demonstrating the use of Play both in Java and Scala.
Theoretical points of interest were how "Actors," "Futures," and "Promises" make life easier for the developer. The Actors are implemented by a messaging infrastructure -- I gather that this is built into Play, via the Akka package, which is incorporated into Play. Play is a bundle of lots of cool technology into a bundled rapid-development stack. I particularly liked the way Play uses Websockets to monitor the code and incrementally compile it as needed, so that the hacker doesn't need to reboot a server (as with Tomcat, in the bad old days) in order to see his new code changes at work. Just a refresh of the browser and you can see what you have done -- whether it be good, or ill .... :-) In the modern code development world, jRebel is getting built in out of the box!!! And that's a good thing.
Another extremely cool point was how in Play even your HTML get's bound up with Static typecasting. So you can catch all the nasty errors up front even though you're developing client-side display. I'm not quite sure how it works in Java, but in Scala the type of the parameters to be passed seems be combined into a function. And if you pass a faulty type as an argument, low and behold, the browser reveals your type-error.
Finally, the evening was rounded out by a presentation of TechStacker by Rick Parker. A Heroku hosted tool written by a friend, this handy little site is a first stab at creating a crowd-sourced tool for the evaluation of software products. Rick is already using it to do his own evaluations, which are part of his day-job, and I'm certainly going to start putting in materials and experimenting with how Social Networks can be part of software evaluation. I might even go do the Play framework as my first eval on TechStacker! If you want to join in on this, please join in and sign up at http://tech-stacker-staging.herokuapp.com/dashboard
By the way, please don't complain to me about the TechStacker UI. Rick admitted that it's the worst imaginable. But hey, we'er geeks. We'd rather have a command line anyway, right? Who needs GUI?
Thanks to everyone for making the evening enjoyable as well as enlightening.
I remain faithfully,