July 01, 2004


I've been going to quite a few sessions on Java Server Faces (I still have one to go, tomorrow). It's certainly one of the hot issues of the conference. They've ranged from the interesting and engaging to the boring and dreadfully badly presented. One of the best was David Geary's session, which included best practices, client-side validation a la Struts, and most intriguingly, using Tiles with JSF. The only real trick is to stick tiles-scoped variables into request scope so that they can be used in the JSF EL.

David did call JSF an MVC framework; there seems to be no clear line on this. I've also heard differing opinions as to why the EL uses # instead of $, though it certainly seems to be involved with the stage at which it's evaluated, and there was a definite-sounding commitment to merge the two varieties somewhere down the line.

The picture seems to be clear that JSF will take over from Struts; it has achieved commercial backing remarkably fast and within a few month there will be an explosion of tools that use it and components and renderkits for it (Oracle will be releasing 70+ components for it next month). Apart from simplifications over Struts and the fact that it is a standard, the "toolability" (yes, I've heard this word used!) of JSF is seen as the main reason it will succeed.

Now it's almost 10.30pm and so time to go to the JDO 2 BOF.

- 2 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Chris May

    I find the 'toolability' argument a bit unsettling (quite apart from the word itself ;-)) because it's exactly the same argument that was presented for EJB2 - "Don't worry about the Home interface & Bean interface & abstract implementation & deployment descriptor & container configuration that you need for your SLSB to work – the tooling* will sort all that out for you". Sure, the tools do generate that for you, but that doesn't mean that EJBs aren't (a) a pain to debug (b) a pain to test and (c) a pain to model.

    The problem, ISTM, is that if you permit a complex solution on the grounds that tools will hide that complexity, the complexity always manages to find somewhere to show up. Maybe it won't be in any of a,b,or c this time round (although debugging certainly seems to have got harder with JSF than with JSP/JSTL) but I bet it will come out somewhere.

    Plus ca change…

    • tooling was the equivalent of toolability 2 years ago, as I recall – an ugly word used just slightly out of it's normal context.

    01 Jul 2004, 07:10

  2. I don't think it is the same argument being advanced. JSF is simple; backing beans are POJOs and aren't coupled to the framework. What they mean is not that you'll need tools to hide complexity in JSF (you don't; I've been doing it by hand and it's not hard), but that there will be a ton of tools that will speed up prototyping and allow web designers and coders to collaborate.

    01 Jul 2004, 19:28

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