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From "Martijn Dashorst" <>
Subject Re: [Vote] Accept Pivot into incubation.
Date Tue, 20 Jan 2009 07:27:32 GMT

On Mon, Jan 19, 2009 at 3:10 PM, Niclas Hedhman <> wrote:
> The Pivot team would like to present the Pivot toolkit for incubation
> at the Apache Incubator.
> Please cast your votes;
> [ ]  +1, bring Pivot into Incubator
> [ ]  +0, I don't care either way,
> [ ]  -1, Don't bring Pivot into Incubator, because....
> The application is accompanied by the following description of the Pivot
> project and its desire to join the ASF Incubator. This has previously
> been posted for comments, and beside the lack of Mentors only minor
> issues was brought up and hopefully addressed in the text below.
> Cheers
> Niclas Hedhman, Champion.
> - o - o - o -
> Abstract
> Pivot ([WWW] is an open-source platform for
> building rich internet applications in Java.
> Proposal
> Pivot combines the enhanced productivity and usability features of a
> modern RIA toolkit with the robustness of the Java platform. Pivot
> applications are written using a combination of Java and XML and can
> be run either as an applet or as a standalone, optionally offline,
> desktop application.
> Like other modern development platforms, Pivot provides a
> comprehensive set of foundation classes that together comprise a
> "framework". These classes form the building blocks upon which more
> complex and sophisticated applications can be built.
> Pivot was designed to be familiar to web developers who have
> experience building AJAX applications using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
> However, it provides a much richer set of standard widgets than HTML,
> and allows developers to create sophisticated user experiences much
> more quickly and easily. Pivot will also seem familiar to Swing
> developers, as both Swing and Pivot are based on Java2D and employ a
> model-view-controller (MVC) architecture to separate component data
> from presentation. However, Pivot includes additional features that
> make building modern GUI applications much easier, including
> declarative UI, data binding, effects and transitions, and web
> services integration.
> Background
> The web has become the defacto standard method for application
> delivery. However, functional requirements for web applications have
> begun to scale beyond the capabilities of the browser. Even with the
> addition of scripting support, dynamic element manipulation, and
> asynchronous server communication, it is difficult to create a user
> experience in HTML that is truly on par with that of a desktop
> application.
> Rich internet application (RIA) development platforms are a means of
> bridging the gap between the web and desktop experiences. Using
> browser plugins, these platforms allow developers to build
> applications that look and feel more like native desktop applications
> but are deployable via the web, like traditional, HTML-based web
> applications. RIAs also often incorporate visual effects intended to
> enhance the overall user experience, such as animations and other
> dynamic behavior.
> Adobe Flex ( and Microsoft
> Silverlight ( are arguably the
> most high-profile of these platforms; others include OpenLaszlo
> ( and Curl ( Pivot
> itself falls into this category.
> Rationale
> Pivot was created for two primary reasons:
>   1.  To provide a viable option for developers who want to build
>       rich client applications in Java. Flex applications are written
>       in ActionScript, an ECMAScript variant; Silverlight
>       applications can be written in either C# or JavaScript;
>       OpenLaszlo applications are written in JavaScript. Pivot allows
>       developers to write rich internet applications in Java (or any
>       other language that can run in a JVM).
>   2.  Provide a freely-available, open source alternative for RIA
>       developers. Flex, Silverlight, and Curl are all proprietary
>       platforms. We believe that a large part of HTML's success was
>       its due to its openness. While we certainly hope that
>       developers will use Pivot to build revenue-generating products
>       and applications, we believe that the platform itself should be
>       free and driven by its technological merits, not by corporate
>       objectives.
> Comparison to Other Java-Based RIA Platforms
> Swing
>    While it is technically feasible to build an RIA in Java using the
>    Swing toolkit (,
>    Pivot offers a number of advantages that make it a more
>    compelling, modern alternative:
>      * Provides an XML markup language called WTKX for simplifying
>        user interface construction. Flex, Silverlight, and OpenLaszlo
>        all offer a similar feature; web developers are comfortable
>        with the markup metaphor, and it can considerably reduce
>        overall development time.
>      * Components are not limited to an "atomic" preferred size; they
>        are allowed to report a preferred size as constrained by
>        either width or height - this facilitates such features as
>        label wrapping, which Swing does not support.
>      * Defines a consistent data model that is used throughout the
>        entire framework; for example, JSON data returned from a REST
>        service is serialized into the same data structures used by a
>        table view component to present data. No additional
>        translation is necessary, which can significantly improve
>        performance. A common data model also reduces the learning
>        curve for new developers.
>      * Includes built-in support for REST-based data services, which
>        Pivot calls "web queries". This provides parity with Flex,
>        which comes with out-of-the-box support for RPC via the AMF
>        protocol, and Silverlight, which supports both SOAP and REST-
>        style services. Swing does not include any built-in facilities
>        for server communication, making it less convenient to work
>        with.
>    Note, however, that Pivot is not limited to REST for server
>    communication. Because it runs in a JRE, a Pivot application can
>    take advantage of any client/server protocol that has a Java API;
>    for example:
>      o  SOAP-based services via Axis (
>      o  Flex RPC using the BlazeDS AMF client
>  (
>      o  Google Contacts via the Google-provided Java client
> (
>    The current source includes examples of the latter two.
>    * Includes built-in data binding support, which allows data
>      returned from web queries (as well as other types of data
>      services) to easily be mapped to form contents.
>    * Includes platform-level support for visual effects and
>      transitions (i.e. animations).
>    * Defines a single Application inteface that is used for deploying
>      both desktop and web-based applications - multiple codebases are
>      not required.
>    * Takes advantage of newer Java language features such as
>      generics, enums, for..each, and annotations.
> JavaFX
>    Pivot differentiates itself from the recently-released JavaFX
>    primarily by allowing developers to build applications in Java,
>    rather than the new JavaFX scripting language. Additionally,
>    JavaFX's widget support is based on Swing, which suffers from the
>    limitations outlined above.
>    In a sense, Pivot represents what we think Sun should have done
>    instead of JavaFX.
> Google Widget Toolkit (GWT)
>    While GWT allows developers to use the Java language to write web-
>    based applications, the runtime enviroment for a GWT application
>    is the browser itself, not a JVM. This has a number of drawbacks:
>    * The compiled code executes as interpreted JavaScript, not
>      bytecode.
>    * The only libraries available are those that have been ported to
>      GWT by Google.
>    * All presentation must be done via CSS and DOM manipulation
>      rather than via a true 2D drawing API.
>    Additionally, GWT does not support an XML markup language - all UI
>    elements must be created programmatically.
>    Pivot allows developers to efficiently construct RIAs that can
>    truly take advantage of the Java platform.
> Current Status
>    Pivot began as an R&D effort at VMware. It was announced as an
>    open-source project in June of 2008 under the Apache 2.0 license.
>    Version 1.0 was released in October, 2008, and version 1.1 is
>    targeted for release in early 2009. Pivot is currently hosted at
> with development at
> Core Developers
>    Thus far, Pivot has been developed primarily Greg Brown and Todd
>    Volkert of VMware.
> Community/Meritocracy
>    The Pivot team is actively striving to build a development
>    community around the Pivot platform, consisting of both users and
>    contributing developers. Although we are pleased with the progress
>    we have made to date, Pivot is a large undertaking that needs the
>    support of a larger developer base if it is to succeed and thrive.
>    We have written numerous articles and blog entries about Pivot to
>    help generate interest in the developer community, and will
>    continue to do so as new features are added and new versions
>    released. We have established a Google Group for discussion of
>    Pivot-related issues
>    ( where feedback is
>    solicited and highly encouraged.
>    As developers (hopefully) begin to express an interest in using
>    and helping to expand Pivot, their contributions will be evaluated
>    and incorporated as appropriate. Several contributions from
>    several external developers were actually accepted before we
>    released version 1.0 - notably, both the Pivot Explorer tool and
>    the pivot.core.util.Resources class used for localization were
>    provided by outside developers who volunteered to join the project
>    after reading our initial announcement.
> Alignment
>    We use Ant to build and deploy Pivot, and we host our web-based
>    components in Tomcat.
>    The Apache developer community is representative of our target
>    audience - developers who seek out and advocate high-quality,
>    open-source software projects. We consider ourselves to be members
>    of that group, and we are hoping to share our work with other
>    like-minded developers.
> Known Risks
> Orphaned Products
>    This project will not be orphaned. The developers have already
>    invested a significant amount of time in the project, much of it
>    in off-hours. Greg has been working on Pivot since August 2007 and
>    Todd since January 2008. We pay to host the project site, pivot-
>, out of our own pockets. Additionally, at least one
>    production application is currently being developed with Pivot. We
>    want to see this project become successful, and we will continue
>    to invest whatever time is necessary to help make it so.
> Inexperience with Open Source
>    Pivot has been conceived as an open-source project since day one.
>    However, though we are longtime users of open source software and
>    have some understanding of the process, we have no prior
>    experience managing an open-source effort. We are hoping that the
>    community experience within ASF can help bring our understanding
>    to the next level.
> Homogenous Developers
>    While Pivot's primary developers work for VMware in Boston,
>    Massachusetts, Pivot is not a VMware project. Most Pivot
>    development takes place outside of work hours.
>    Pivot is a highly-modularized framework that lends itself well to
>    heterogenous development. We have already received code
>    submissions from developers elsewhere in the U.S., Germany, Italy,
>    Canada, and the U.K. We are hoping that, as the capabilities of
>    the framework expand, it will lead to an increase in overall
>    developer interest and an acceleration of the development process.
> Reliance on Salaried Developers
>    Pivot began as an off-hours side project. It was officially
>    supported by VMware for a short time, but was dropped in June,
>    2008 when the company decided to pursue an off-the-shelf UI
>    solution instead of a homegrown one. It has continued as an off-
>    hours project since then.
>    The "lack" of an ability to rely on salaried developers for
>    development may actually be more of a risk to the project. Most
>    work must be done in off-hours, which may occasionally limit our
>    ability to make progress.
> Documentation
>    Additional information is available from the project site:
> Initial Source
> Source code for Pivot is currently hosted at Google Code:
> Source and Intellectual Property Submission Plan
>    VMware released Pivot as an open-source project under the Apache
>    2.0 license in June, 2008 but retains a copyright on the code.
>    VMware has agreed to sign a software grant for the codebase; a
>    signed copy of the agreement was faxed to the ASF on 12/22/2008.
> External Dependencies
>    Pivot is a Java-based toolkit and relies on a JRE for execution.
>    Pivot's charting library currently relies on JFreeChart
>    ( 1.0.9; however, charting is an optional package
>    and JFreeChart is not integral to the implementation (i.e. it
>    could be replaced with another charting package with no impact to
>    the Pivot charting API).
> Required Resources
>    * Subversion repository
>    * Issue tracking
>    * Dev., user, commits, and private mailing lists
>    * Wiki space
>    * Web hosting (for content currently hosted at
>    * SSL certificate (for code signing)
> Initial Committers
>    * Greg Brown - VMware
>    * Todd Volkert - VMware
>    * Eugene Ryzhikov - Florida Power and Light
>    * Christopher Brind - unknown
>    * Sandro Martini - Technomind
> Affiliations
>    No relevant affiliations.
> Sponsors
>    * Champion: Niclas Hedhman
>    * Nominated Mentors: Niclas Hedhman, Martijn Dashorst
>    * Sponsoring Entity: Incubator PMC
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