Portofino roadmap

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Alessio Stalla

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May 2, 2020, 12:10:43 AM5/2/20
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Hello everyone,

I hope you're doing well. These are the right times for introspection and thinking about what we want from our lives, so I'd thought I'd share some ideas and plans about Portofino. Long post ahead.

Portofino 5 has been out for a while, I consider it to be fairly solid and stable. Unfortunately, its adoption seems to have suffered. Traffic here is surely less than it used to be. This might be for a number of reasons:
  1. There's less interest in this kind of tools, people are doing microservices now
  2. There's less interest in Java/JVM, people use different technologies nowadays
  3. Angular is hard
  4. There's little documentation about Portofino 5
  5. Who knows.
So, here's my ideas about Portofino and its community.
  1. Microservices: Portofino (and any Java framework, really) is hardly "micro", however, microservices is an architectural pattern, and Portofino fits well into that. It's full-stack and fully REST from the start, so it's easy to use it to build a vertical service that communicates with other services. It works on Jetty so it can be launched from the command line, and we've made it work in Docker containers out of the box and added recipes to build Docker images automatically for your applications.
  2. There's hardly anything that we can do here. Of course, it would be cool to have a Node.js version of Portofino, but we don't have the expertise and the resources to do that.
  3. Angular is pretty good for framework writers, but it has an undoubtedly steep learning curve. Also, probably in hindsight React and Vue.js won the framework competition, but this wasn't clear when we were choosing the technology. The JSP pages of Portofino 4 were much more limited but far easier for casual developers to modify without knowing too much. I plan to address this in part by allowing for more declarative extension points in the UI, so it's less needed to write Angular code for customizations, and in part by offering some kind of "generic" page when one can just load custom HTML and JavaScript and do their thing (while still being able to access Portofino objects and API). This might be the target of a future Portofino 5.2 release.
  4. Documentation is a chicken-and-egg problem: it costs a lot of effort but often people don't read it; it makes sense if there are many users, but there aren't many, and lack of documentation is one of the issues. We're planning to address this by writing a book about Portofino; it's not clear yet how this will play out, and it will take time for sure, but definitely something will come out of this. In the meantime, I invite everyone who uses Portofino and has some spare time to write about it, even just some notes, or make videos or presentations to their local developer's group or whatever, and share them here.
  5. We did a survey last year that revealed some information about how you're using Portofino. There weren't many answers (and that's an answer in itself), but we did receive an impression from those answers, that you see reflected in this message. I plan to submit another survey in a few weeks.
So, you can expect our effort in the coming months to be more or less equally divided among:
  • Writing the book/documentation
  • Making the UI and authentication/authorization stuff easier and releasing Portofino 5.2
  • Working towards the future of the framework.
Regarding the last point, I've got many ideas and I've started working on some of them, but they'll probably surface in a Portofino.next version no sooner than the next year, and possibly later. Innovation is cool and exciting, but on the other hand, we cannot ask people to continually run after the shiny new thing. Portofino 5 is here and will stay here for the foreseeable future. That said if you want to have a look into the possible future, and in general, to track the development of Portofino, you can follow the Projects page on GitHub.

Last but not least, I invite you to contribute to Portofino if you can. Translations to other languages are an easy target, as well as pieces of documentation. But if you prefer to work on the code, I've identified a few issues that are easy enough for a newcomer to fix with reasonable effort: https://github.com/ManyDesigns/Portofino/issues?q=is%3Aissue+is%3Aopen+label%3A%22Low+hanging+fruit%22
Also, feel free to open new issues.

That's all folks, thanks for staying with me up to here.
Cheers and stay safe,
Alessio

fel...@gmail.com

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Jul 20, 2020, 10:31:43 AM7/20/20
to manydesigns-portofino
Hi, where can I find the docker version?

Alessio Stalla

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Jul 21, 2020, 3:06:32 AM7/21/20
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Hi, there's no published Docker version of Portofino, in part because it might be confusing to users (Portofino stores the application on the file system; with a Docker image, you'd have to mount a volume to keep your code/data across runs).
However, when you build an application with a recent version of Portofino, and enable the "docker" Maven profile, you'll get a few Docker images that compose your application – some are for use during development, but one contains the application and can be deployed as-is. The only documentation so far lies in the pom.xml file and Docker files of generated applications, and in the demo-tt application that's part of the source code of Portofino on GitHub.

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