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From Jonathan Revusky <>
Subject Re: Features
Date Sat, 11 Mar 2006 15:55:05 GMT
Will Glass-Husain wrote:
> Hey, just a quick comment.  Check the velocity-user archives for extensive
> "velocity versus freemarker" conversation.  This has been hashed to death
> here in previous months... might be more productive to take the FreeMarker
> specific part of the conversation to the FreeMarker list.

Will, finally, I just have a question that I'm going to ask. I know it's 
naive to expect an honest answer, but here goes:

Will, are you *really* interested in working on Velocity, in making it 

Now, I suppose you kind of have to answer in the affirmative, even with 
some tone of indignation, but really, I just never got the impression 
that you are genuinely interested in this template engine problem space. 
It's not just you, Will. Given the opportunity, you and the other 
Velocity people, like Geir and so on, simply do not *engage* -- I mean 
*engage* in a discussion about what features are desirable in a template 

You just don't *really* seem genuinely interested in the topic. Okay, 
you will end up saying in some huffy tone that FreeMarker is off-topic, 
but really that doesn't stand up to any logical scrutiny. I mean, if 
somebody on a user list asks about a feature and that feature is not 
present in Velocity, it is quite relevant to the topic *and* to Velocity 
development in general that the feature has been implemented in a 
competing tool. It is of interest because, in general, you should be 
interested in what is going on out there, but also because it indicates 
that another community thought that the feature was desirable enough to 
add. They would have discussed it and so on. This really should be of 
interest to somebody who is interested in this problem space.

Basically, what comes to my  mind is something that I think it was Mark 
Twain said. Something like: "A literary classic is a book that everybody 
wants to have read, but nobody wants to read."

In a similar way -- I know it's very unflattering -- it seems like you 
(and the other people nominally involved in Velocity, it's not just you) 
-- want to be Velocity developers but you don't really want to develop 

I mean, let's face it. If there was genuine, real interest in moving 
Velocity forward, could the pace of development really be *this* slow? I 
know as well as anybody that it is a volunteer effort and so on, but 
even so,... to characterize Velocity's progress as "snail's pace" is 
probably unfair to snails.

Of course, one result of this is that, at the moment, there is no 
technically based competition between our communities. If you look at 
the RoadMap on your wiki, there is literally nothing on your Vel 2.0 
wish list that was not already implemented in FreeMarker 3 years ago(!) 
This is how behind you are technically.

So, if, contrary to outward appearances, you really are interested in 
this problem space, how can it be of interest to work on something that 
is so obsolete technically (and increasingly so). It seems to me that 
people interested in this would either put in a big push to catch up 
technically or they could just give up and maybe even consider joining 
the community that is really innovating in this space.

But if the outward appearances are in accordance with reality, and 
you're not really interested in this problem space, then frankly, what 
the heck are you guys doing? Going through the motions for some reason?

Wouldn't that basically just be an empty farce?

Jonathan Revusky
lead developer, FreeMarker project,

> On 3/10/06, jian chen <> wrote:
>>Hi, Jonathan,
>>I am a bit sad to see that the Velocity project hasn't been that active
>>these days, particularly with the much needed enhancements still pending.
>>However, I just don't like FreeMarker for the following major reasons:
>>1) FreeMarker tags look similar as html tags.
>>2) Too much feature in FreeMarker. The template engine language should be
>>succinct. Otherwise, it might give people too much flexibility in
>>I would hope to have a better version of Velocity though, with the bug
>>and correct feature enhancements.
>>Lead Developer, Seattle Lighting
>>On 3/10/06, Jonathan Revusky <> wrote:
>>>Jurica Viskovic wrote:
>>>>Will , thanks!
>>>>Last night i looked at source to see how
>>>>to simply implement those new features, but
>>>>it seems it will not be as easy as i thought.
>>>The fact is that if nobody even gives you any pointers as to where to
>>>look, where the crucial points in the code are, it's not generally going
>>>to be easy. Some people are surely better at this than others, but I
>>>personally find it very hard to get into an unfamiliar codebase and
>>>understand the "mind" behind it.
>>>I think it's only fair to tell you and anybody else interested in having
>>>macros work this way, that this is already available in FreeMarker. For
>>>example, if I define a macro as follows:
>>><#macro foo bar baz="some default value">
>>>    ...
>>>it can be invoked with either one or two arguments. The baz argument
>>>reverts to the default value when it is invoked with just one argument.
>>>Macros with can be invoked with the parameters by name, as in:
>>><@foo bar="arg1" baz="arg2"/>
>>>If I listed all the other other goodies in FreeMarker's macro system
>>>that are not present in Velocity, this message would get quite long.
>>>These features have been present in FreeMarker for 3 years or more and
>>>many people use this stuff in production and it is highly stress tested.
>>>An existing mature tool that already has the features you want is likley
>>>to be a better technical solution.
>>>Jonathan Revusky
>>>lead developer, FreeMarker project,
>>>>Anyway i will forward this discussion on developers
>>>>mailing list.
>>>>Regards, jure
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> --
> Forio Business Simulations
> Will Glass-Husain

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