java.net: Laszlo: An Open Source Framework for Rich Internet Applications: "Laszlo: An Open Source Framework for Rich Internet Applications
by William Grosso
Being a Java programmer sometimes feels like being in the movie Groundhog Day. In the movie, Bill Murray is stuck in a loop: every morning when he wakes up it's the same day (Groundhog Day). He relives the day over and over again, seemingly without reason. But the days are subtly different: each time he relives the same event, he learns a little bit more about how to be a better person. And, at the end of the movie, Bill Murray finally gets to move on and live the rest of his life.
Similarly, every year, without fail, Java developers get to see new programming frameworks and container models. And, in much the same way that Bill Murray gradually addresses his problems and becomes a better person, the frameworks are getting better, and helping us to become better programmers (or, at least, deliver higher quality applications in shorter time frames). But, in the same way that Bill Murray keeps seeing the same things happening over and over again, we keep getting presented with frameworks that keep solving the same problems over and over again. While JavaServer Faces looks much better than Struts, it doesn't enable anything new: it's just a better way of creating the same old HTML-over-HTTP web applications.
But just as Bill Murray eventually got to experience all of the days that come after Groundhog Day, we may be on the verge of changing how we build web applications. There's a growing restlessness in the air, and a growing movement towards rich internet applications. In this article, I'm going to give you a quick overview of Laszlo, an open source rich internet application development platform. First I'll give a high level overview of what Laszlo is, and how it works. Then I'll give you a quick tour through some of the basic features of Laszlo, and talk about what's involved in building an application in Laszlo. And, after that, I'll talk about where it works best, and when it makes sense to use Laszlo."