I have been working recently on an assignment which requires me to build a web application using JSP. After a few weeks grafting code I became frustrated with JSP, it just wasn't 'fun' and while I welcome the (almost) enforced MVC pattern it's hard to work passionately about something you're not enjoying! This caused me to think I was perhaps doing things wrong and 'there must be a better way'...

As a result, I got thinking about frameworks, I don't fancy re-inventing the wheel so I got researching many, many JSP frameworks and I noticed something they all share: complexity! Before you fall off your seat protesting please watch this movie. Please also consider that the Web Scripting assignment I'm taking accepts more than just computer science students, the class caters for multimedia, business and IT students; most of whom have never compiled “Hello World!\n” regardless of language! Back to the subject of complexity, it is obvious that JSP is a strong choice for those developing enterprise applications and I think most of the top JSP frameworks are wonderfully built for such tasks, however, JSP seems to lack appeal to those working on “garden shed” projects.

Moving on; what I'm trying to suggest here is that JSP needs a 'friendly framework', and as I couldn't find one I'm building one. Browsing many JSP forums it seems that plenty of people are working on “garden shed” projects spending hours trying to interpret stack traces, hours they could spend doing other things!

The point of this post was to collect information from you guys regarding what you think is wrong with JSP, what can be improved when considering simple tasks? Seasoned posters, what questions constantly get asked by 'new guys'? I plan on submitting this framework as my assignment along with a 'simple website' built using it, after it has been marked I will open source the project.

Please help me with suggestions. I'm open to criticism and I'm sure I'll get some but before throwing fire at me try and see I only want to make JSP more assessable to everyone :)

Thanks for reading,


I don't think there is anything wrong with it. You said it yourself, it is for building enterprise applications. For building a 'simple website' use 'simple HTML', or PHP, or any form of CGI. JSP is not meant for a 'simple website' and that is actually all there is to it. You can use it to create a 'simple website', but that is probably overkill. I know in your class, you must use JSP, but that was the universities (and/or your instructors) choice, but that doesn't change the facts.

My point was more aimed at bringing JSP to the myriad of people across the Internet struggling with using JSP for small scale applications. While I accept that some J2EE developers working on enterprise applications will/do post on such forums looking for help I would bet that most posts are people trying to use JSP for something basic, a 'simple website' perhaps.

Overkill? Yes, it's overkill but that does not stop people using it anyway. It's this group of people I would like to develop for. Regardless of university assignments JSP has the awesome power of Java, this power can be used to make life easier for everyone thus forming the foundations of my framework motivation. What I'm trying to achieve here is to provide an easy way of killing a fly with bug spray derived a tank without ever seeing the tank, but knowing if you /REALLY/ need the 'big guns' you can use them but the bug spray does a bloody good job at killing bugs.

oh no, not another kid thinking he can invent a better wheel by making a new "framework" without understanding the underlying technologies inside and out.

There are tons of such "frameworks" already, just pick one and stick with it.

We don't need another "framework" that promotes doing things all the wrong way because someone thinks it's "easier" that way.