Project Zero: First Impressions

Last weekend, Project Zero officially unveiled its community site. Project Zero is a fresh new project from IBM which aims at the agile web development framework domain which is getting momentum very fast lately with the popular RoR and the promising newcomer Grails.

Project Zero’s tagline is, “Zero complexity. Zero overhead. Zero obstacles.” “The Project Zero environment includes a scripting runtime for Groovy and PHP with application programming interfaces optimized for producing REST-style services, integration mash-ups and rich Web interfaces.”

Zero complexity or not, there are a few interesting aspects about Zero worthing noting.

1. Zero leverages Groovy.
That’s right! Probably the first time I’ve seen Groovy adopted into a project by a major company. Great news for Groovy lovers!

2. Zero supports PHP.
That’s sounds a bit weird. The fact is, Zero has implemented the support for PHP in Java. However, only a small subset of the standard PHP libraries are supported by now. Read the FAQ for more details.

3. Zero is self-contained
What that means is that each Zero application runs only by the Zero runtime. It doesn’t need to be deployed to any web server. The Zero runtime contains a minimalist server based on WAS CE. This is similar to Grails. (But Grails applications can also be deployed to any JEE server.)

4. Zero is NOT open source. But it invites the community to drive it.
Community-Driven Commercial Development is Zero’s official name for its development approach. This is already causing a lot of debates in the community. Let’s wait and see how this will work. Check out the official FAQ for more details.

Overall, Project Zero looks like an interesting endeavor from a major player in the industry to commercially challenge the world of agile web development. But judging from what it looks at this stage, I’m not 100% convinced if Zero has got everything right.

Next time, I’ll write up my first experiences playing with Zero, and putting it up against Grails.