A lack of energy and vibe in ZK community. Zk never will be in the mainstream?

asked 2011-03-31 18:24:26 +0800

Bera gravatar image Bera
121 1 3

Zk is very powerful solution in modern web development, but there are some bad aspects related not with technology,
not with the people but about the energy and business model adopted by Zk ecosystem.

I want to use Rails mainly and (Flex a little) technology community to make my explanation and expose my opinion about a wrong ways of Zk approach. I promise my post isn't be so big or non sense...but I want tho show the serious problems and lack of ZK community and business model


In rails ecosystem, every day new blogs are being created also new screen cast and podcast and are launched in both free or commercial
way (peepcode, railscast, rails for zombie, learning rails 3,). People in this ecosystem are creative to make money exploring new way to expose rails for the world and community.

Is very rare to see this happening with ZK technology. The materials about screen casts and also blog that cover this technology are outdated in most of cases (see Zk Forge for see this, for example a huge of legacy code that doesn't work in most cases).


The official ZK documentation like Developers Guide and Style Guide follow the changes of new releases of this framework, but there are very few people posting new good material about ZK in the main web site and in bloggers outside too. It's common to see many outdated links in ZK website, some broke
links for lost documentation, many version of the same subject like mvc approach and very confusing and old small talks that aren't useful for the 5.x version of ZK right now.

Complete tutorials, step by step guidelines and build real application by scratch are missing for people like me are beginning with ZK framework. Poor new material and synergy here.

About books is very problematic aspect to consider too for people that are choosing ZK for web development.
In the opposite way of Flex and Rails, with this technology is easier than zk for find good books that cover the recent versions
of these technologies, for Rails 3 or Flex 4 there are several new books (free books too) . Four or three books aren't enough in for years.

Real Open Source Success!

Rails technology make possible to bring to community many good applications and tools like github, scribd, slideshare, twitter and very useful open source applications like redmine, lovebyless, spree web commerce (See More in open source rails to more) . With Flex it's the same....the number of good applications in google code, github and sourceforge are grow up day by day.

People behind off Zk framework should to help this great framework to grow and turn this easy too new people too believe that this worthwhile. Using money to pay more people to work with ZK, more books, more tutorials, more resources, more good open source initiatives, more media, more screen-casts more services

and ...

less mess, less legacy code, less fragmentation, less poor small talks, less poor documentation

Zk has a great idea, architecture and philosophy but some good new realizations and decisions should be take for
rescue ZK from the limbo.....like open laslo experience. It's time to win the battle!

HTML 5 is coming....


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answered 2011-04-01 02:06:20 +0800

Steva77 gravatar image Steva77 flag of Italy
1014 3

interesting considerations indeed.
I am not that expert but I think the upgrade/update rythm could be the main reason why documentation is not always aligned.
As I see several people are still using old versions of ZK, finding old posts could be useful as well - it is up to the developer - mainly in an open source environment - to check if the version in use is the same the small talk/tutorial applies to.
At the very end, it is up to Zk's team and the information they have (and we don't) about their business (model).
A book could be great, but again - it takes a lot to be written and published, it will be old soon and it will be rarely sold (does anybody know the real percentages of books illegally shared as pdfs?!)
I will spread the word about ZK internally and externally - please consider anyway that when customer come they rarely go for ZK+Java+PostgreSQl, but rather Silverlight+.NET+SQLServer ... at least as far as I can see here (we use it in research projects).
Good luck

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answered 2011-04-04 12:23:59 +0800

zedkey gravatar image zedkey
138 1 1 3

Bera, Steva77

Absolutely agree with you. Just a few notes. I'm still on 3.6 too. Reason: layout managers are not included in the generally available 5.x bundles. I think the licensing model is crap, and overcomplicated. Why not opensource if not used in a commercial project? It is that simple.

I think this is really the best Java RIA out there, but you're right, there's not enough vibration in and around ZK. Let it be either due to lack of resources or a flawed business model, or both this is rather unfortunate for ZK's future.

It is not enough to have a good piece of software. You have to sell it, you have to build community and resources around it.

Lets hope ZK's still going to be a success,

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answered 2011-04-04 13:08:35 +0800

zedkey gravatar image zedkey
138 1 1 3

You mentioned OpenLaszlo. I had had a look at it a while ago, and I liked its awesome polished UI but the the architecture and the way you had to deploy to the "presentation server" (oh my goodness) wasn't as good. Now that you mentioned it I had another look, and it seems rarther quite over there. Not too many forum entries from the past few months, the whole website is a little bit deserted. Do you know what is happening there? Laszlo Inc for example made an announcement of 4.7 I think, with Flash 9 support, but no mentioning of 4.9 with Flash 10 support at all which is a bit weird.

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answered 2011-04-05 08:20:10 +0800

Bera gravatar image Bera
121 1 3

thanks Zed

I'm glad that you feel and have a similar opinion of mine. Zk have a chance to be a very large adopted technology in modern wed development, but is necessary (again) more effort and more energy to bring Zk more popular with better documentation, better examples, better tutorials, more step-by-step examples, more great open source applications, better quality in the reference documents and more and more.

I believe this community would be follow the example of Rails and Flex community, increasing the quality and the number of resources in general, manly for new people to want to use zk to develop new applications.

Again, there are chances to believe that ZK would be a big player in modern ajax development, but it's necessary effective changes and innovations!


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answered 2011-04-05 09:05:03 +0800

Steva77 gravatar image Steva77 flag of Italy
1014 3

updated 2011-04-05 09:05:09 +0800

I think a word by ZK team is necessary here...

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answered 2011-04-05 11:06:02 +0800

zedkey gravatar image zedkey
138 1 1 3

By the way, who knows what happened to OpenLaszlo? Is it still alive?

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answered 2011-04-05 13:29:50 +0800

terrytornado gravatar image terrytornado flag of Germany
9393 3 7 16


in the next few weeks i will made a checkin for a multi-tenant erp/crm base application as open source on SourceForge powered by zk framework.
In the meantime if their are guys who are really interested in such are extendable solution and are willing todo some stuff they can write me.
one pic.



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answered 2011-04-05 23:15:52 +0800

tmillsclare gravatar image tmillsclare
799 2 5 29

updated 2011-04-05 23:47:01 +0800

Hey Bera,

Thanks for posting on the forum. Just to let you know I do work at ZK offices however what I post below in response is just my personal opinion.

First of all I would like to thank you for your feedback. Everything mentioned here will be brought up internally for discussion. I can however, answer some points with my own opinion and experiences.


Screencasts are something I am a big proponent of and gives users the ability to catch up with the technology quickly. I do like it but to make it worthwhile we would need a large number of users who prefer this method of learning. So I ask everyone in this thread.

How would you feel about ZK screencasts? Do you use screencasts to learn technology or do you prefer more traditional means such as documentation?


I agree the website needs an overhaul in certain areas it is definitely something that we are looking into. At the moment we cannot get rid of the older documentation as some people are still using the older version of ZK, therefore we need to maintain it.

For step by step I would recommend taking a look at ZK Essentials, that should walk you through the process step by step. Or maybe the tutorials here. Are these enough for you? If not what would you like to see?


I can confirm that we have had approaches from publishers wanting to do a follow-up on our previous books. However, there are some issues I personally see with books for ZK.

ZK is a highly innovative framework which introduces new releases every 1-2 months, this means that any book that we do now will not contain the very latest information on release. This is OK for competing frameworks that move at a slower pace than us but for us it isn't a good situation. This is the reason why our documentation underwent an overhaul ending in the ability to generate a PDF book from it. If you take a look at all our documentation it is in the format of a book.

I would ask whether you enjoy this style? Would a published book still be meaningful to you?

Open Source

I agree, I think we need a method of encouraging more people to write blogs, tutorials and articles etc. Actually we do have methods in place such as discounts for commercial licenses and support. However, it seems these haven't reached the users effectively. So I turn the question to everyone in this thread, how do you feel we can encourage people to get involved more?

In addition we probably do not do as good a job of promoting the ZK ecosystem, for example were you aware that a contributor's work was featured in yahoo news recently? I am refering to ZK Grails which got press there. Perhaps we need to celebrate this.

ZK 2010

"decisions should be take for rescue ZK from the limbo"

I think this comes down to the fact that we do not promote ourselves well enough to our community. Just to give you all some background on what happened in 2010.

ZK has had the most successful year it has ever had in 2010, we are deployed in around a quarter of all Fortune 500 companies around the world and we are anticipating a 1,000,000 user deployment very soon (yes that's 1,000,000 no typo). We aren't in "limbo", quite the opposite, we are moving forward and forward becoming more and more successful.

Therefore I would ask the community as to how you would promote this news? How would you say to the world as a whole ZK is going from strength to strength?


I agree with some of the points you bring up Bera, however, I see these points as "symptoms" of the root cause. This root cause being how can we work with you (our community) more effectively to spread ZK? It is an interesting question and one I would like to explore with everyone in this thread. Any feedback is more than welcome on these topics.

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answered 2011-04-06 03:46:07 +0800

Steva77 gravatar image Steva77 flag of Italy
1014 3

But.... that's amazing!
Does the community knows about http://www.forsthaus.de/blog/ and the information contained therein?
@Stephan - nice pic, very complex interface, great effort indeed

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answered 2011-04-06 09:06:18 +0800

zedkey gravatar image zedkey
138 1 1 3


I think ZK should rethink the licensing policy. Why not go with a simple licensing as free for non-commercial use and commercial licensed otherwise? I'm simply not looking into 5.x because the licensing is complicated. I don't actually have an open source project (yet), I'm just evaluating, learning ZK. Am I eligible for a free ZK 5?

About the books... I think we'd definitely need a detailed developer book for ZK, even if there are going to be things that outdate quickly. The small talks are good, but we'd need more concise documentation as well. I think creating such books are a good investment, becuase as the framework evolves, new and new editions can be relatively easily made just by upgrading the information in the book.

It's good to hear the 1M downloads, it is definitely a promising number.


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Asked: 2011-03-31 18:24:26 +0800

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Last updated: May 24 '17

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