Spring Framework passes 1 million downloads

If you build it they will come

A couple of weeks ago, Spring Framework passed 1 million downloads from its home on SourceForge. Spring’s creator, Rod Johnson, reckons that the “true total” is probably much higher.

“True total” of what though? Total number of people copying the BIG-ZIP-FILE(TM) from one PC to another? Or actual usages? Live deployments? Number of developers? It makes me wonder what the true mark of a product’s success really is. There are many yardsticks by which to judge, most of them pretty arbitrary.

Of course, 1 million downloads from SourceForge really is impressive, and it strongly suggests that Spring must be “up there” as one of the big-hitters in the J2EE application framework space. But it’s still a completely arbitrary number. It’s like saying that Spring has a popularity index of, err, 7.2. Impressive, but meaningless.

In all seriousness, though, Spring does deserve to succeed, because it arrived at a time when the industry was in the midst of its misty-eyed love affair with the EJB/Struts “de facto” combination. Spring threw away all that heavyweight nastiness and replaced it with an altogether more sensible enterprise architecture.

About the Author

Matt Stephens is a senior architect, programmer and project leader based in Central London. He co-wrote Agile Development with ICONIX Process, Extreme Programming Refactored, and Use Case Driven Object Modeling with UML - Theory and Practice.