Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lift rocks!

I've been spending the past few months working on various projects (personal and work-related) based on the liftweb framework. It's been a heck of a learning process tackling Scala and a new web framework but it's been very enjoyable. I've worked a lot with Struts and Tapestry in the past and Lift just feels, well, more natural. Things are simpler (once I've figured them out) and make much more sense. The hardest challenge has been keeping up with the rapid pace at which Scala and Lift are evolving. Just following the mailing lists takes up a small but significant chunk of each day.

I started seriously using Lift around the time it was version 0.2, June of 2007. Here it is not even April '08 and we're on the brink of 0.7. In the intervening months a lot has changed and my understanding of the internal mechanisms has improved significantly. Being able to browse through the source (http://code.google.com/p/liftweb/) has helped me not only learn how Lift works, but how Scala works as well. Having never done functional programming before it's a lot like drinking from a firehose but I'm managing.

The only thing I'm not happy with in this whole situation is that my prospects for working with other "Lifties" is pretty limited. It seems like everyone involved with Lift is either in San Francisco, Europe, or Oz :( I mean, it's fun as a personal challenge but I really miss being able to collaborate with other people. Hopefully, as the framework and language grow there will be more opportunities. Either way, I'm definitely having fun in the meantime.

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