The Gizmo: small and lightweight Java container for web apps

You know what they say, “less is more”, right? If you ever looked at Java tools to build web applications you’ve probably stumbled upon dozens of options. So did I, but because @herrb had mentioned at lunch a web thingy he was developing for himself to play about, I asked him for advice on what Java tools I could use and this ended with an invite to look at what he had done.

His starting point was: how hard would it be to use Eclipse+Eclipse plugins to develop web apps?

So he started developing the thing and now it’s using:

  • A custom http server based on Apache’s httpcomponents lib
  • The Dojo Toolkit as a Javascript library
  • Freemarker as a Template Engine
  • Eclipse EMF to describe the data schemas
  • Apache log4j as a logger

Also we talked about working on it together so we ended up publishing it on sourceforge for now. We called it “the Gizmo”. It’s not big and powerful like Apache’s Tomcat but can be useful for someone looking into using a small and lightweight Java container for web apps.

Also it is important to understand that the initial goal was more to understand how things work and how he could play with these things, plugging them together, etc., rather than working on a full-blown framework. I’ve been using it myself for a small web app me and @aaires are doing in our free time and so far we’ve been happy with it. I wouldn’t say it is ready for production but it is something I would like to contribute in developing further. Especially because there are so many interesting Java libraries out there that we could use in conjunction with the Gizmo and also because using Eclipse for development is just plain fun.

You can take a look at: