Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Java Champion and Developer Advocate at Okta. developer.okta.com

The JHipster Mini-Book The JHipster Mini-Book is a guide to getting started with hip technologies today: Angular, Bootstrap, and Spring Boot. All of these frameworks are wrapped up in an easy-to-use project called JHipster.

This book shows you how to build an app with JHipster, and guides you through the plethora of tools, techniques and options you can use. Furthermore, it explains the UI and API building blocks so you understand the underpinnings of your great application.

For book updates, follow @jhipster-book on Twitter.

10+ YEARS


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.

FreeMarker vs. JSP 2

I've been doing quite a bit of prototyping with Spring MVC and Struts 2 with both JSP and FreeMarker in the last few months. I'm trying to migrate a proprietary servlet-based framework with a proprietary JSP compiler to something that's open source. There's a couple of important features that the proprietary view framework has:

  1. It's expression language allows methods to be called with arguments.
  2. Templates can be loaded from a JAR on a remote server.
  3. XML in variables is escaped by default.

For #1, I've found this to be impossible with JSP EL or JSTL. I've created JSP functions that allow argument passing, but they don't allow overloading of functions. FreeMarker solves #1.

For #2, JSPs again fail because the templates have to be on the file system or in a WAR. FreeMarker solves this problem as well.

For #3, neither JSP or FreeMarker solve this problem. I realize it can be fixed in FreeMarker by hacking the code - I've done the same with Tomcat and solved it for JSP as well.

So based on the requirements in this project, FreeMarker is the clear winner. Here's some problems that I see with using it:

  • No XML escaping of expressions by default
  • No compile-time checking of expressions
  • IDE support is limited to Eclipse (meaning very little in the way of code-completion)

FreeMarker users - are there other problems you've experienced when using FreeMarker in your applications?

Posted in Java at Jan 17 2008, 12:37:12 PM MST 12 Comments

Java Web Framework Smackdown at TSSJS in Vegas

This year's TSSJS is starting to look like an excellent conference. I'm particularly excited to be moderating the following Expert Panel.

Java Web Framework Smackdown: Struts 2, Spring MVC, Grails, Seam/JSF and Wicket
The leading advocates of today's popular Web frameworks will duel under the Vegas Lights. Come and learn when to use your favorite framework and to see if it can live up to its hype.

We're talking about productivity, scalability and maintainability of Java-based Web applications. The emerging trend is that simplicity is better and productivity matters. Furthermore, if maintainability is the most costly part of any application -- how do these frameworks perform?

Attend if you're a Java Web developer, or if you simply like good entertainment. A working knowledge of the popular Java Web framework options will make this session more fun. If you haven't worked with any framework, come and learn who has the best spokesman.

The Venetian I plan on bringing the boxing bell from OSCON 2005 to make this session one of the best in the show. I'll be coming up with a list of questions for these experts in the next couple of months. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

With a venue like The Venetian, why wouldn't you go? ;-)

Posted in Java at Jan 11 2008, 12:06:24 PM MST 19 Comments

AppFuse Light 1.8.1 Released: includes upgrades to Spring 2.5 and Wicket 1.3

AppFuse Light 1.8.1 is a bug fixes release that includes an upgrade to Spring 2.5 and Wicket 1.3 RC1. See the Release Notes for more information on what's changed since the last release.

What is AppFuse Light? Click here to find out.

AppFuse Light now offers 60 possible combinations for download:

  • Web Frameworks: JSF (MyFaces), Spring MVC (with Ajax, Acegi Security, JSP, FreeMarker or Velocity), Stripes, Struts 1.x, Struts 2.x, Tapestry, WebWork, Wicket
  • Persistence Frameworks: Hibernate, iBATIS, JDO (JPOX), OJB, Spring JDBC

AppFuse Light Screenshot - click on the box at the bottom right of AL to activate StyleSheet Switcher

If you have any questions about this release, please subscribe to the AppFuse user mailing list by sending a blank e-mail to users-subscribe@appfuse.dev.java.net. You can also post questions in a forum-like fashion using Nabble: http://appfuse.org/forum/user.

If you're a developer of one of the frameworks that AppFuse Light uses - I'd love a code review to make sure I'm "up to snuff" on how to use your framework. I'm also more than willing to give commit rights if you'd like to improve the implementation of your framework.

Live demos are available at:

What's on tap for AppFuse Light 2.0? Here's what I'm hoping to do:

  1. Drop the seldom-used persistence frameworks: JDBC, JDO and OJB.
  2. Drop Struts 1.x and WebWork as web frameworks (replaced by Struts 2).
  3. Support the same persistence frameworks as AppFuse: Hibernate, iBATIS and JPA.
  4. Re-use appfuse-service, appfuse-hibernate, appfuse-ibatis and appfuse-jpa in AppFuse Light. I'll likely include the core classes (User, Role) since AppFuse Light is more "raw" than AppFuse.
  5. Require Java 5.

Let me know if you disagree with any of these items or would like to see other enhancements.

Posted in Java at Nov 29 2007, 09:28:06 AM MST 3 Comments

AppFuse 2.0.1 Released

The AppFuse Team is pleased to announce the release of AppFuse 2.0.1. This release squashes a number of bugs and includes an upgrade to Spring 2.5. To learn more about Spring 2.5's features, see InfoQ's What's New in Spring 2.5: Part 1 article.

For information on upgrading from 2.0, see the 2.0.1 Release Notes or changelog. AppFuse 2.0.1 is available as a Maven archetype. For information on creating a new project using AppFuse, please see the QuickStart Guide or the demos and videos.

What is AppFuse? Click here to find out.

The 2.0 series of AppFuse has a minimum requirement of the following specification versions:

  • Java Servlet 2.4 and JSP 2.0 (2.1 for JSF)
  • Java 5+

If you've used AppFuse 1.x, but not 2.x, you'll want to read the FAQ. Join the user mailing list if you have any questions.

Thanks to everyone for their help contributing code, writing documentation, posting to the mailing lists, and logging issues.

We greatly appreciate the help from our sponsors, particularly Atlassian, Contegix, JetBrains, and Java.net. Atlassian and Contegix are especially awesome: Atlassian has donated licenses to all its products and Contegix has donated an entire server to the AppFuse project. Thanks guys - you rock!

Please post any issues you have with this release to the mailing list.

Posted in Java at Nov 26 2007, 09:29:43 AM MST 4 Comments

AppFuse 2.0 Released!

I'm extremely happy to announce we've finally finished developing AppFuse 2.0. The road to AppFuse 2.0 has been a long journey through Mavenland, annotations and generics. Thanks to all the developers, contributors and users for helping test, polish and prove that AppFuse 2 is an excellent solution for developing Java-based applications. Your time, patience and usage of AppFuse has made it the strong foundation it is today. Last but certainly not least, thanks to all the great Java developers who wrote the frameworks that AppFuse uses - we're truly standing on the shoulders of giants.

What is AppFuse? Click here to find out.

AppFuse 2.0 is available as a Maven archetype. For information on creating a new project using this release, please see the QuickStart Guide or the demos and videos.

If you've used AppFuse 1.x, but not 2.x, you'll might want to read our Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any questions or issues, please post them to the user mailing list. The Maven Reference Guide has a map of Ant » Maven commands. Maven for Newbies might also be useful if you've never used Maven before. There is some support for Ant in this release.

AppFuse 2.0 contains over 200 pages of documentation, downloadable as a PDF (3 MB). You can also download all its dependencies and install them in your local repository if you want to work offline.

For more information, please see the 2.0 Release Notes. The 2.0 series of AppFuse has a minimum requirement of the following specification versions:

  • Java Servlet 2.4 and JSP 2.0 (2.1 for JSF)
  • Java 5+

New features in AppFuse 2.0 include:

  • Maven 2 Integration
  • Upgraded WebWork to Struts 2
  • JDK 5, Annotations, JSP 2.0, Servlet 2.4
  • JPA Support
  • Generic CRUD backend
  • Full Eclipse, IDEA and NetBeans support
  • Fast startup and no deploy with Maven Jetty Plugin
  • Testable on multiple appservers and databases with Cargo and profiles

We appreciate the time and effort everyone has put toward contributing code and documentation, posting to the mailing lists, and logging issues.

We're also grateful for the help from our sponsors, particularly Atlassian, Contegix, JetBrains, and Java.net. Atlassian and Contegix are especially awesome: Atlassian has donated licenses to all its products and Contegix has donated an entire server to the AppFuse project. Thanks guys - you rock!

Comments and issues should be posted to the mailing list.

Posted in Java at Sep 18 2007, 03:22:20 PM MDT 7 Comments

AppFuse Light 1.8 Released

AppFuse Light 1.8 adds CSS Framework integration, as well as support for Stripes (1.4.2) and Wicket (1.2.6). It also has significant upgrades for JSF and Tapestry; to versions 1.2 and 4.1.3 respectively. See the Release Notes for more information on what's changed since the the beta release of 1.8.

What is AppFuse Light? Click here to find out.

AppFuse Light now offers 60 possible combinations for download:

  • Web Frameworks: JSF (MyFaces), Spring MVC (with Ajax, Acegi Security, JSP, FreeMarker or Velocity), Stripes, Struts 1.x, Struts 2.x, Tapestry, WebWork, Wicket
  • Persistence Frameworks: Hibernate, iBATIS, JDO (JPOX), OJB, Spring JDBC

AppFuse Light Screenshot - click on the box at the bottom right of AL to activate StyleSheet Switcher

If you have any questions about this release, please subscribe to the AppFuse user mailing list by sending a blank e-mail to users-subscribe@appfuse.dev.java.net. You can also post questions in a forum-like fashion using Nabble: http://appfuse.org/forum/user.

If you're a developer of one of the frameworks that AppFuse Light uses - I'd love a code review to make sure I'm "up to snuff" on how to use your framework. I'm also more than willing to give commit rights if you'd like to improve the implementation of your framework.

Live demos are available at:

Yes, I realize that 60 combinations is ridiculous. I didn't create the frameworks, I'm just integrating them so you don't have to. ;-)

Unfortunately, it's a real pain to create Maven archetypes or they'd all be as easy as mvn archetype:create. Rumor is that the archetype plugin will allow you to create-from-project in the future. When that happens, I'll make sure all the combinations are available as archetypes.

Posted in Java at Sep 14 2007, 11:01:46 AM MDT 2 Comments

Does Struts 2 suck?

As far as I can tell, Struts 2 sucks. To be fair, so does Stripes. Why? Because there's no developer feedback for invalid properties or OGNL Expressions. What does this mean? It means if you fat-finger a property name, nothing happens. The OGNL exception is swallowed and you never know you did anything wrong. Furthermore, no one seems to care. The XWork folks will help you build, but not solve the problem. This seems like a major deal-breaker to me, However, I also believe it can be fixed - so maybe there's hope.

To demonstrate the problem, I did an experiment. I used the "user details" page in AppFuse Light to fat-finger a property name for the following frameworks: Struts 1, WebWork, Struts 2, JSF, Spring MVC, Stripes, Tapestry and Wicket. First, I tried changing the "lastName" property to "LastName" to see if the framework's property evaluation was case-sensitive. I found that with WebWork/Struts 2, Stripes and Tapestry, the property is not case-sensitive. I prefer case-sensitivity, but maybe that's because I prefer Unix over Windows.

The 2nd thing I tried was changing "lastName" to "pastName" to see if I'd get an error. An error occurred for all the frameworks mentioned, except for WebWork/Struts 2 and Stripes. This makes me believe these frameworks suck. The both use OGNL, so they could blame it on that, but Tapestry uses OGNL and it presents an error message. After this small experiment, my conclusion is the following frameworks have the best developer feedback:

  • Struts 1
  • JSF
  • Spring MVC
  • Tapestry
  • Wicket*

* Wicket seems like it needs some work as all it presents is "Internal Error" and makes you dig through your log files to find the problem.

Without good developer feedback, how can you have good productivity?

Dear Struts 2 and Stripes Developers,

What do you think about improving your error messages for invalid properties and expressions? Is this a feature you think you could add? We'd love it if you did.

Sincerely,

Your Users

Click here for some screenshots of how a fat-fingered property looks in various frameworks:

Update: Stripes doesn't suck and Wicket has excellent error reporting. See my comment below for more details.

Update 2: I've created a patch to (hopefully) solve this issue in XWork. If you have any feedback on ways to improve this patch, I'd love to hear about it.

Posted in Java at Sep 05 2007, 11:21:57 AM MDT 39 Comments

AppFuse 2.0 RC1 Released

The AppFuse Team is pleased to announce the release of AppFuse 2.0 RC1! This release marks a huge step in the march to releasing AppFuse 2.0. This release puts the finishing touches on the AppFuse Maven Plugin (AMP), which offers CRUD generation, as well as the ability to change AppFuse from "embedded mode" to "full source" (like 1.x). In addition, we've addressed over 100 issues in preparation for the final 2.0 release. We hope to fix any bugs related to this release and release 2.0 Final in the next week or two.

The videos still represent how M5 works, but things have been simplified (now you don't need to run appfuse:install after appfuse:gen).

AppFuse 2.0 is available as a Maven archetype. For information on creating a new project using this release, please see the QuickStart Guide or the Hello World video.

If you've used AppFuse 1.x, but not 2.x, you'll want to read the FAQ. Join the user mailing list if you have any questions. The Maven Reference Guide has a map of Ant » Maven commands. Maven for Newbies might also be useful if you've never used Maven before. There is some support for Ant in this release.

For more information, please see the 2.0 RC1 Release Notes. The 2.0 series of AppFuse has a minimum requirement of the following specification versions:

  • Java Servlet 2.4 and JSP 2.0 (2.1 for JSF)
  • Java 5+

We appreciate the time and effort everyone has put toward contributing code and documentation, posting to the mailing lists, and logging issues.

We also greatly appreciate the help from our sponsors, particularly Atlassian, Contegix, JetBrains, and Java.net. Atlassian and Contegix are especially awesome: Atlassian has donated licenses to all its products and Contegix has donated an entire server to the AppFuse project. Thanks guys - you rock!

Comments and issues should be posted to the mailing list.

Update: I've uploaded a 247-page PDF version of the RC1 documentation to java.net. This PDF contains the relevant pages from the wiki that help you develop with AppFuse 2.0. Who knew I'd end up writing another book? ;-)

Posted in Java at Sep 04 2007, 01:42:15 AM MDT 7 Comments

AppFuse 2.0 M5 Released - now with CRUD generation and XFire support

The AppFuse Team is pleased to announce the release of AppFuse 2.0 M5! This release marks a milestone in the features of AppFuse 2.x. This release adds CRUD code generation, full source support (just like 1.x) and XFire integration. In addition, we've fixed all the issues related to switching persistence frameworks, and you should now be able to easily switch from using Hibernate to to iBATIS or JPA. The videos have been updated for M5. The Easy CRUD with Struts 2 video shows how code generation currently works.

AppFuse 2.0 is available as a Maven archetype. For information on creating a new project using this release, please see the QuickStart Guide or the Hello World video.

If you've used AppFuse 1.x, but not 2.x, you'll want to read the FAQ and join the user mailing list if you have any questions. The Maven Reference Guide has a map of Ant » Maven commands. Maven for Newbies might also be useful if you've never used Maven before. There is some support for Ant in this release.

For more information, please see the 2.0 M5 Release Notes. If you'd like to use AppFuse offline (or download everything at once), you may want to grab the dependencies and extract them into your ~/.m2/repository directory.

The 2.0 series of AppFuse has a minumum requirement of the following specification versions:

  • Java Servlet 2.4 and JavaServer Pages (JSP) 2.0
  • Java 5 for Development (Java 1.4 for deployment using the Retrotranslator Plugin)

Comments and issues should be posted to the mailing list.

We appreciate the time and effort everyone has put toward contributing code and documentation, posting to the mailing lists, and logging issues. We also greatly appreciate the help from our sponsors, particularly Atlassian, Cenqua, Contegix, JetBrains, Java.net and KGBInternet. Without them, working on this project wouldn't be nearly as much fun.

Update: The videos are much lower quality than the ones I originally recorded (13 MB vs. 70 MB). If you want to view the high quality videos (they're much clearer), you can download them from java.net. If someone has a better way to compress these (I just used QuickTime's Export feature), please let me know.

Also, this release contains the first release of the AppFuse Maven Plugin. This plugin is largely based on Hibernate Tools. We modified many of the FreeMarker templates from Hibernate Tools to default to certain annotations, as well as clean up the formatting. These templates are currently available in AppFuse's SVN. Hopefully making them available is enough to satisfy Hibernate's LGPL license.

Posted in Java at May 23 2007, 05:49:10 PM MDT 16 Comments

Help me help you (market your web framework)

Rather than trolling through google searches, mailing list archives and Amazon book searches, I'd like to try something new. For those projects represented in my Comparing Java Web Frameworks talks (MyFaces, Spring MVC, Stripes, Struts 2, Tapestry and Wicket), would you be interested in helping me gather statistics? I think by allowing projects to gather their own statistics, we'll get a more accurate number of their statistics. Here's the questions I need you to answer:

  1. How many tools (i.e. IDE plugins) are available for your web framework?
  2. How many jobs are available for your framework on Dice.com? What about Indeed.com?
  3. How many messages where posted to your user mailing list (or forum) in March 2007?
  4. How many books are available for your framework?

Of course, if you don't have time, I'll be more than happy to gather these statistics myself. However, those that do answer might get some extra marketing love during my talk. Answering in a comment or sending me an e-mail are the best ways to provide your findings. Thanks!

Update: Alastair asks for further clarification. Here goes:

> If you have lots of IDE tooling available, it probably means the configuration for the framework is overly complex and unmanageable without tooling.

While this may be true, if your framework is hot or uber productive, people want tools. Especially new developers. Remember there's a plethora of new Java developers every year and a lot of them prefer tool-based solutions. Good or bad, IDEs are nice and people like to use them. I've had many clients dismiss frameworks simply because no tools were available.

> The framework with the largest number of jobs available is probably Struts 1. Enough said.

Yes, you're definitely right. However, Struts 1 is not in this comparison - I dropped it because I don't want to recommend it to anyone.

> People only post to user lists when they are stuck. If the framework is hard to use, there will be lots of e-mails. If it has a steep learning curve, and/or the documentation is poor, this will be particularly so. On the other hand, an active list might point to a large active user base. Who knows which is which from a raw figure?

What about community? Mailing lists and their activity is a sign of an active community. Even though SiteMesh is a mature and good solution, its community sucks. There's little support, no new features, no bug fixes. An open source project w/o a community is tough for a company to adopt. Also, the best communities do a lot more than answer questions on mailing lists. They develop their applications, get advice, offer advice and sometimes even hang out. The Struts list used to have threads 30-50 messages long about development philosophies. When you joined the mailing list, you felt like you were a part of something, not just a user of a product.

> If your framework is fairly stable, and someone has written a fabulous tome on it that is universally acknowledged as "the bible", few people would bother writing another book for it.

I don't agree - this just means there's no market for other books because not that many people are using it. Look at Grails, Groovy, GWT and Rails - there's been quite a few books on each and no slowdown in sight. Then again, there weren't many Ant books and that was/is hugely popular. I'm willing to change this question to "How many good does your framework have?", but that's up to everyone's own interpretation. Again, lots of books means there's an active community outside the immediate mailing list - it's a sign the general "market" is interested and the framework fills a need.

Of course, I am interested in asking the questions that developers want to see answered. Do you have suggestions for replacement (or new) questions? Remember, people like hard facts, not wishy washy statements about how productive and OO your framework is. Every framework can be uber productive if you have the right developer(s) and they're genuinely interested in getting stuff done.

Posted in Java at Apr 26 2007, 01:58:30 PM MDT 15 Comments