Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Web Architecture Consultant specializing in open source frameworks.

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Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Can you base a web framework on another web framework?

It looks like the Struts guys are going to base Struts 2.0 on JSF (detailed proposal, wiki). It should be interesting to see a web framework developed on top of another web framework. Of course, it's been done before. The two things I really like in this proposal are 1) a built-in IoC container and 2) the security stuff (remember me, user registration). Here's the details from the proposal:

3.5 Service Provisioning APIs

Inversion of Control (IoC) containers (the techniques are also referred to as Dependency Injection) are becoming a popular mechanism for assembling the required services and logic of an application. If Struts included such a framework, it would provide a solid basis for building maintainable apps, as well as allowing the framework to configure itself using the same capabilities.

Rather than building such a container ourselves, we should seek to incorporate an existing one that is license-compatible and which can be integrated into the JSF managed beans facilities (so that value binding and method binding expressions can leverage the facilities of this container transparently). From my research so far, I like Spring's capabilities in this area the best, but am open to other suggestions.

3.6 Authentication and Authorization APIs

In order to support reasonably complete solutions for applications that wish to provide their own authentication and authorization services (as well as interact with container managed security), we need APIs available for performing user registration, implementing "remember me" features, and represent the results via a wrapped request (so that apps depending on getRemoteUser(), getUserPrincipal(), and isUserInRole() will still work). Using JDK 1.4 as a base platform would allow us to integrate mechanisms like JAAS. Other alternatives include plugins like SecurityFilter.

I added the emphsis on Spring. I'm all for this because 1) I'm on the JSF Expert Group (as of last week) and 2) it'd be nice to see JSF stretched, poked and prodded. IMO, JSF needs more "real-world" usage and the popularity of Struts will give it that. By "real-world" usage - I mean it needs to be used by developers that aren't cooped up in some cube with a fancy IDE. I also like the proposal because there's tons of Struts apps out there - and many of them might want to "upgrade". This means more (potential) work for me. Of course, I also plan on spending more time with Tapestry so I can offer client's an "educated" suggestion. BTW, the reason I joined the JSF EG is to be the "developer's voice" among the IDE Vendors. So if you'd like your voice to be heard - send me your suggestions, I'm all ears.

The question is - when will Shale be released? Of course, since it's open-source, the answer is "when it's ready". My guess is 1 year from today. I'm thinking of making AppFuse 2.0 use this new stuff. Of course, it'll have Tapestry and JSF options long before that.

If nothing else, the Shale proposal should motivate other web framework developers to highlight their roadmaps and what's new and cool on their horizons.

Posted in Java at Nov 08 2004, 08:59:01 AM MST 10 Comments