Geertjan's Blog

  • June 15, 2005

Where did the name "Struts" originate?

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager
Not necessarily a question that keeps me up at night, but something that I've wondered about once or twice is: "Where did the name 'Struts' originate?" It seems that others have wondered about the same thing. Craig McClanahan, the original author of Struts, provides the answer (here):

It originally came from a strong memory from when I had a house built -- there were struts all over the place holding things up. Thus, the idea of a framework that 'holds everything up' but is itself invisible was born...

He expands on it a bit more (here):

I was originally toying with the concept of building a "framework", and the first thing contractors do when building a bridge or a house is put up the supporting infrastructure that lets you build what you really want to build, and stays out of the way other than that. In addition, "struts" are often constructed inside structures like an airplane wing -- invisible but vital.

Finally, the "s" on the end signifies that Struts is a toolkit from which you
can use what you need. I didn't want to create a framework that required you to use all of it, although the parts will certainly work with more synergy together than separately.

So I am using Struts as a noun, not a verb :-)

Now if that isn't "from the horse's mouth", then I don't know what is. Still, I prefer the interpretation to which the quote above is a response -- someone called Christophe Thiebaud suggests (here) that it might relate to the famous quote from Macbeth:

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more; it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

Not sure if Struts is a tale told by an idiot (since I don't know Craig McClanahan, but can only assume he's an intelligent person), but whether or not it is "full of sound and fury" is something I'll be able to find out soon -- because NetBeans IDE will support Struts straight out of the box! (To see how to set it up for NetBeans IDE 4.0 and 4.1, go here.)

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Comments ( 3 )
  • guest Wednesday, June 15, 2005
    Duck tape would have been a better name for it. This week I had the joy (not) of maintaining one of our ancient Struts applications. Sucks bigtime!
  • Ken George Friday, June 17, 2005
    I thought that Struts was already supported out-of-the-box?
  • Geerthjan Sunday, June 19, 2005
    Hi Ken -- Well, even though it's VERY easy to set up Struts so that you can use it in the NetBeans IDE, it is not 'supported out-of-the-box'. If there was out-of-the-box support, then there'd be Struts templates, for example, available in the IDE, and there'd be code completion in the Source Editor. Currently, in 4.1, this is not available. However, last week I attended a demonstration of planned features for the next release, and there a demo was shown of extensions to the web application wizard -- a new panel that lets you select either JSF or Struts (or both) support -- then the libraries applicable to the selected framework are attached to the project (and visualized in the Libraries node), and a project template containing Struts (or JSF) files (such as configuration files) is then opened in the Source Editor (which has code completion for Struts/JSF tags). Now THAT'S what I mean by out-of-the-box support! -- Geertjan
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