Templating Engines

I'm in the market for a templating engine that I can use for the blogging stuff... It looks like Kate is looking at them too. I've sort of decided on Velocity because I like it's simplicity, but I would hate to start getting really involved with a project that's losing momentum. The Jelly stuff perplexes me at a deep level, so I'm not going to touch that for now - it looks like the answer to a question I haven't asked yet. Or maybe not... there's been plenty of times I've been working on a stand-alone Java app producing text or XML or HTML where I thought, "Hey, this would be cool if I could use JSP here..." I think that's what Jelly's about. Providing that sort of processing outside a Java Server.

I hadn't heard of the Tea stuff before. The page has a Walt Disney logo on it and links to ABC affiliates. BUZZZ. Sorry, try again. I don't want anything to do with that company and project, open source or not. Next.

I'm working on a big project right now on a well-known (but market-share losing) J2EE server. Everything is done on the pages using tag libraries. This is my first big project doing programming like this and I must say that it's really, really difficult and frustrating. I was all for the organization of custom tags before... it seemed like the perfect MVC solution. But you know what? XML is not a programming language. I mean it's okay to do some directives like Ant, but Ant doesn't do looping. There's almost no logic in Ant, so it's easy to write Ant scripts, follow the logic in someone else's and debug when something's wrong. Writing a page of logic using XML tags is a complete pain in the ass. I really don't think it has much to DO with the tag libraries either, it's just an ugly way to code logic on a page.

Maybe you're not a programmer, maybe you're just a HTML coder. Ever code a big table by hand? Or better yet, invisible tables within tables? And then something gets out of wack and you spend the next 3 hours tracking through a zillion pairs of tags trying to figure out where the problem is? That's what coding using custom tag libraries is like. No debugging, no step through logic, etc. I think the majority of us JSP programmers are doing crack for ever thinking taglibs were a good idea. Have you seen the JSTL? It's FILLED with tags that do logic. I guarentee that JSP pages will look no cleaner and probably end up being HARDER to maintain once this gets popular (if it ever does).

Then again, the jsp page you're reading now is a zillion lines of embedded spaghetti code, so maybe it's just what you're used to...


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