Five years of Thymeleaf

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Five years of Thymeleaf


Wow, it's been five years already. Yet only five years :)

On 17 July 2011, I published the first stable version of Thymeleaf. Some beta versions had appeared first, but 17 July was the big day when this thing really went public. The day Thymeleaf was born.

That was only five years ago, but a huge lot of (awesome) things have happened since that day. We have gone through 1.1 (18 Sep 2011), 2.0 (9 Feb 2012), 2.1 (4 Nov 2013) and finally the highly anticipated 3.0 published 9 May 2016, two years and a half after 2.1.

I was lucky to be joined from almost the very beginning by José Miguel Samper (zemi) and Emanuel Rabina (ultraq), extremely talented guys who are not only great software developers but also really, really nice fellows. And along these years we've had a large amount of contributors from almost every corner of the planet. Thanks to each and every one.

In five years, Thymeleaf has gone from zero to more than 84,000 downloads per month — and that's excluding any extensions, only the core jar file. That's just awesome. Something to be proud of, and also a big responsibility.

Of the 84,856 downloads in June 2016, 80,359 downloaded one of the Spring integration packages (for Spring 3 or Spring 4) along with the core. So it feels safe to conclude that approximately 95% of our current users use Thymeleaf in Spring applications. And this is no coincidence in my opinion, because the Spring people at Pivotal have always had extremely kind words for our template engine, treated us beautifully, and adopted Thymeleaf even in ways we couldn't have imagined. For us, seeing so many people use Thymeleaf as their template engine of choice in industry-changing Spring Boot is just AMAZING in capital letters. Thanks, thanks so much Spring!

By the way, do you want to know how the Thymeleaf - Spring relationship started? Well, it all started with a post on the Spring forum, back in January 2011, when Thymeleaf wasn't even called Thymeleaf yet: "Thyme: developing a new Spring MVC-compatible template engine". Sometimes a simple question changes so much. A guy called Grzegorz Grzybek answered that post and asked me why not integrate with Spring EL (Spring's expression language) besides OGNL. That started a revolution: I studied SpringEL, applied it... and from there I was able to create a much, much better integration package for Spring: th:field for form binding, message resolution, and almost everything that makes Thymeleaf such a good fit for Spring applications today. So thanks to you too, Grzegorz. You triggered an important part of all of this :)

And there's much more. Soon –if Oracle allows– MVC 1.0 (JSR371) will be among us, and that will open the landscape for a new type of JavaEE web applications using a request-style MVC web framework. Thymeleaf will be there too. And not only that: Reactive architectures and frameworks are here to stay, and the new engine in 3.0 will allow us to offer great value at the server-side view layer of these frameworks. Future is really exciting!

So how's Thymeleaf looking the day it turns five? Well, we have a very healthy project, an awesome community and the 3.0 release we've been dreaming of since 2012. And yes, tasks are already starting to pile up in the 3.1 backlog. So it's looking REAL GOOD! :)

Again, thanks to all of you. It's been awesome and it will get even better.

Daniel Fernández
Thymeleaf Project Lead