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As I mentioned in my last post, software frameworks are so deeply embedded into our lives as software architects and software developers. So, when I was assigned the task to develop a web application to automate the tedious manual tasks for the technical support team, my first reaction to such an challenging business requirement is asking myself the question, “What framework should I use?”. If nothing comes up, I will say to myself, “Aha, my chance comes” and will happy to roll up my sleeves to build one.

I guess all enthusiastic programmers are alike. Otherwise, we won’t see so many open source frameworks out there in Sourceforge, Java-Source and Apache. People just like to write more and more frameworks and secretly (or openly) hope that one day the framework will be as popular as Struts or Spring.

In fact, writing frameworks can bring many substantial benefits to the project:

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Framework is everywhere in our every day life as a software architect or a software developer. Struts, Spring, Hibernate, Axis, jBPM, just to throw out a few popular names in a Java developer’s world.

We choose the right framework, we learn the framework, we adjust the framework to suit our needs, we suffer from the bad design of a framework, or, what the hell, we design our own framework! It invades our vocabulary, “What’s your MVC framework?”, “Do you use Spring or EJB?”, “Have you migrated from Toplink to Hibernate for your persistence layer yet?”. We think (and even dream) in frameworks cause they are so fundamental to our work, no matter we like or hate them.

But, why do we use framework at all? Can we live without any frameworks? What are the benefits and pitfalls? When should we use framework and when should avoid it?

We seldom stop and ask ourselves these hard and fundamental questions. Now, it’s the time.

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