Way Too Much Derp About Lift

There have been way too many twerps herping derp about Lift. It's gotten to the point where some of the less flappable Lift committers are getting semi-flapped.

So, let's work on some facts about Lift.

@dpp Is Part of Lift

There are lots of rumors and innuendo floating around that I've somehow left the Lift community. That is simply false.

I left my role as Benevolent Dictator for Life for a bunch of reasons.

Those reasons included the fact that Lift had grown beyond the vision and control of a single person. I did not want to get into the situation where there was too much friction among the committers. But more than that, Lift had become a self-sustaining project which is rare within the open source community... Lift had become a project that continued to move forward with it's key community and technical values intact and without a sole corporate sponsor that the community is beholden to.

That's strength. And just like sending my kid off to college or watching my kid get married, I changed my relationship with Lift and the Lift community such that I was one of many excellent contributors to the community and the codebase. I'm not longer the BDFL, but simply a well respected voice in the community... okay and sometimes I'm more of a curmudgeon than others in the community...

And I remain part of Lift to this day. Do a git blame to figure out what that means from a coding perspective.

Lift Powers Lots of Sites

Lift does in fact power a lot of web sites. Yep, there's Foursquare. And there's Elemica which is building their version 2 system on top of Lift and will be processing over $230 Billion worth of transactions on their Lift-based system. And Innovation Games was the original Lift user and continues to use Lift including the upcoming San Jose Budget Games where Buy a Feature (a Lift powered site) will support the simultaneous online game play of 40,000 participants.

And there's Snap Sort a site to choose what camera to buy. An large financial services companies that are moving their entire public web presence to Lift (can't name them yet, but they've been doing a lot of hiring of Lift-skilled developers.) And thousands of other sites.

Plenty of Lift Books

This year, the Lift Cookbook and Instant Lift and Lift Application Development Cookbook have all been published. And we know that publishers are bottom feeders (sorry Gary) and rarely publish unless there's a market for the books.

Lift Support

Yes, you can buy Lift support contracts from LiftCo. Yep, it's me and a couple of other Lift committers, so the access you get when you buy support is to the core people who know Lift rather than some tech support dweeb who need to "escalate" any issue that's not in his playbook.

Lift Is Evolving

Lift is evolving in the form of Lift 3... a breaking changes release that dumps some of the cruft that's evolved in the framework over the last 6 years and embraces the world of AngularJS and single page applications. I discussed what's new at Scala eXchange this month.

But what is very important to keep in mind is that Lift 3 uses the existing Lift infrastructure to implement the new features. Seamless Futures support in REST calls (no explicit async required) is something that anyone can add to a Lift 2.x project.

And Lift 3's streaming promises are built on top of Lift's unmatched comet support and the same support could be a library against Lift 2.x.

Because we did Lift's underpinnings of security and scalability and modularity right. Lift's GUID-based design means that doing cross-address space stuff is always simple and always secure.

As a mark of strength, Lift spans from doing REST better than most web frameworks to doing HTML more securely to doing the best server-push in the business. And as Lift evolves into both supporting content management systems and supporting single page applications, the core Lift design ideas just work.

Lift Ecosystem

Based on conversations I've had, there is more than $5M across more than a dozen companies budgeted for Lift-related consulting in 2014. $5M feeds a lot of developers and feeds many of the Lift committers.

So, rather than taking venture investment and having to show an ROI to a board, the Lift ecosystem has evolved such that the economics are demand-pull.

But some people worry that without an investor behind Lift, how can it be sustained. I think of the issue differently. What happens to venture backed companies that are not successful? They get unceremoniously shut down or get aquihired and the services live for a while until they are shut down.

Given that the Lift ecosystem is vibrant and creating demand for Lift developers, that presents a different risk profile than a venture-backed company that supports an open source product.

Lift Does Security Right

And let's keep in mind that Lift does in fact do it right. Lift's core design ideal of baking security into the normal developer flow means that we didn't have to change Lift when the BREACH attack was discovered. Lift sites are resistant to the OWASP Top 10 by default.

So, building on top of Lift means that the security audit is much easier and your team looks like stars rather than having to scramble to fix a bunch of vulnerabilities weeks before a launch.

Lift Does It Different

But Lift is different and that difference makes it harder to initially come up to speed. I present on some of Lift's differences. And those differences, like using a trackpad when you're used to using a mouse, mean that initial productivity is lower.

But, like moving from Java to Scala, moving from MVC to Lift's View First means that you can be more productive and better understand how the view relates to the code than in MVC frameworks.

Different has a switching cost, but once you pay that cost, different is better.

Typesafe did not Choose Play Over Lift

It is factually wrong that "Typesafe chose Play over Lift."

I left the Typesafe team before the Greylock funding event and I was uninterested in a Lift-Typesafe relationship.

18 months after Typesafe launched and before they adopted Play, I had a meeting with the most excellent, late Phil Bagwell. Phil suggested cooperation between Typesafe and Lift. I declined.

Typesafe has never had an opportunity to choose Lift because of my choice.

Typesafe chose Play. If I had been working with Typesafe, they may have chosen Play as well as Lift, just as they've chosen Spray as well as Play.

But the derp that "Typesafe chose Play over Lift" is factually incorrect. Typesafe never had the choice of Lift.

And, no, I will not discuss the reasons for my choice either publicly or privately. Just the facts that I did make the choices and when I made the choices.

Say "No" to Derp

So, next time somebody herps some derp about Lift, just say "No." Just say, "sadly, that's not correct." Please invite people to seek the facts rather then herping derp.

Lift has its strengths and weaknesses. But tossing derp around about Lift, my relationship with Lift, the Lift ecosystem, etc. doesn't help anyone make good decisions about technology that will match their needs. Just say, "No" to derp.