SiteMesh 3 preview

I’m pleased to announce a preview of the next generation of SiteMesh.

Before I go on, here’s a big disclaimer: This is not a stable release version yet… it’s not even a beta… it’s an alpha… a first alpha.

But anyway, I decided to launch it in this state, as I think it’s a huge improvement over SiteMesh 2, and I’d like to get your feedback earlier so it can be fed into the final product.

Quick links, for the impatient:

So what’s new? Well, everything. The 10 year old code base has been thrown away and rebuilt from the ground up. At the core of it is a new content processing architecture that performs roughly three times as fast as SiteMesh 2 with half the memory usage.

Along with that:

  • Decorator chaining. Compose pages from multiple layouts and decorators.
  • Decoupled from templating systems. Decorators can be produced with any technologies – you are free from JSP.
  • Offline site generation. Apply decorators as part of a build step. Accessible through Java API, Ant task and command line tool.
  • Simplified configuration. Use XML, Java or plug in your own system.
  • Clean API provides extension points for adding custom processing rules (e.g. on the fly page transformations).
  • Licensed under Apache Software License v2.0.

So what’s the same? The values of SiteMesh have not changed – simplicity, robustness and performance.

You can learn more about SiteMesh 3 on its new website:

What about compatibility with SiteMesh 2?

This was a hard decision to make, but SiteMesh 3 is not backwards compatible with SiteMesh 2. Upgrading will require work beyond just upgrading a library. Over the coming weeks, I shall produce some guides and tools to make this transition easier. Though this may be frustrating to many users, it was becoming too hard to make changes to SiteMesh 2 based on limitations to its design. SiteMesh 3 addresses these and will make way for a lot of great features and improvements in years to come.

Meanwhile, SiteMesh 2 will continue to be supported until 2011 – though this will mostly be critical bug fixes only. The majority of development effort will be focussed on SiteMesh 3.

So give it a go, and give us feedback. But please remember that it’s only an alpha!

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  • Comments (3)
    • Phil
    • September 7th, 2009

    And just yesterday I thought what a shame it was to have such an excellent library seeing its development stalled .. great news !

    • Graeme Rocher
    • September 7th, 2009

    Congrats Joe, look forward to trying this out with Grails

    • Matt Ruby
    • September 23rd, 2009

    Wonderful news! I can’t wait to try out the decorator chaining.

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