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Lift in Action: The Simply Functional Web Framework for Scala

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The web has completely revolutionized the way we live our lives—the average person in the UK now does an average of six Google searches a day. Within the lifetime of one generation, our entire society has changed, and it continues to be catalyzed by technology in a very fundamental way. For me, this is the most fascinating thing to observe and an even more interesting thing to be a part of.

The web development industry has seen sweeping change over the past five or six years as it has attempted to cope with these new social habitats and behaviors. Probably one of the most notable changes was the way in which Ruby on Rails altered developers’ outlook toward building applications and the manner in which they approached problems. Massive enterprise architecture was out the window and small, iterative, agile processes became all the rage. At the beginning of 2006, I had been coding Ruby on Rails for quite some time and had built several large systems with the Ruby stack. Although I was blown away by the productivity gains that Rails supplied, taking code to production was a comparative nightmare. I specifically recall Zed Shaw’s “Rails is a Ghetto” rant and how that was very similar to my own views at the time. It was then that I started to look for something else, something new.

Before long, I came across Lift, which felt “right” from the very beginning. Scala and Lift’s elegant fusion of the functional and object-oriented paradigms was a breath of fresh air when compared to other languages and frameworks. It was great to have all the security features baked right into a framework, and not have to worry about many things that typically cause a lot of headaches for developers. These kinds of choices make a great developer-oriented framework: focusing on removing work from the developer in a pragmatic and logical way while using as little runtime magic as possible.

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