Is Cocoon Obsolete?

2 10 2005

Just when we’re about to gather and celebrate once again, our founding father Stefano drops this bombshell:

Stefano Mazzocchi, [RT] Is Cocoon Obsolete?: “But as a researcher, a scientist and one that likes to push the edge, I sense that cocoon is kinda ‘done’, not as in ‘finished, passe”, but more as in ‘been there, done that’.

Sure, lots of things to polish and little things to continue to improve, but I wonder if the action is somewhere else. “

The point here is that much of the action is moving from the server to smarter and richer web client platforms like Mozilla (and Ajax, I would add, if you can call that a platform):

I do that for my latest web sites and the more I learn how to driven the
client, the less I feel the need for advanced server frameworks. Is it
just me?

Is client side advancement making cocoon and all its machinery to
compensate for advanced web client obsolete and archaic?

For a long time, I’ve been convinced that Cocoon must do less, much less than what it currently does if it wants to thrive and survive. Now it tries to be everything to everyone: a web publishing framework, a web application framework, a portal framework and possibly a business integration platform. I don’t think you can do all of this and at the same time be simple, lightweight and easy.

Another issue I’ve been obsessed with for a long time is the fact that the weight of Cocoon’s internal machinery, combined with the desire to keep it backward compatible at all costs, is bound to drag down all the current efforts to make it more modular. Designing a new kernel that will allow all existing applications to run on it unmodified is a worthwhile task and using OSGi to build it is a great idea, but I’m afraid that by the time we get there, Stefano’s fear of obsolescence will have materialized.

I am confident that at present, for the type of applications we are doing, Cocoon is still the best choice, but at the same time I’m trying to look into the future. Until now, I concentrated myself on the server side of things, but it didn’t dawn on me that a new breed of client-side technologies and platforms might require a rethinking of the classical server-side paradigms.

Granted, this is not applicable to a lot of real-world scenarios and it might never be for a large segment of users (think mobile ones), but it is something that is worth spending a few neurons on.

Meanwhile, I am looking forward to attending Andrew’s talk on “Simplifying Cocoon”. Should be interesting.

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