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.

Comparing Web Frameworks: Time for a Change?

I first came up with the idea to do a "Comparing Web Frameworks" talk in 2004. I submitted a talk to ApacheCon and it got accepted. From there, I outlined, created sample apps and practiced this talk before ApacheCon. Believe it or not, that was my first time speaking in front of a large audience.

Historical note: October 2004 was a pretty cool month - I discovered Rails and Roller had a 1.0 release candidate.

When I created the presentation, it was in large part due to all the WebWork and Tapestry folks harassing me on this very blog. I started using Struts in June 2001 (the same month 1.0 was released) and had used it successfully on many projects. Part of the reason this blog became so popular was I posted lots of tips and tricks that I learned about Struts (and its related project) while using it. After a while, the noise became too heavy to ignore it - especially after I'd tried Spring MVC. So in an effort to learn more about the the other frameworks, I submitted a talk and forced myself to learn them. It seems to have worked out pretty well.

With that being said, I think it's time for a change. The reason I originally wrote this was to educate developers on how the top Java web frameworks differed and encourage developers to try more than one. A while later, I realized there's different tools for different jobs and it's not a one-size-fits-all web framework world. It's not a component vs. request-based framework world either. There's lots of options now. When I've delivered this talk earlier this year, I've always felt like I've left quite a few frameworks out. The solution could be to add more and more frameworks. However, I don't think that's a good idea. The talk is already difficult to squeeze into 90 minutes and it's unlikely that adding more frameworks is going to help.

The change I'd like to do is to reduce the number of frameworks down to (what I consider) the top web frameworks for deploying to the JVM. What are those frameworks? IMHO, they are as follows, in no particular order:

  • GWT-Ext
  • Wicket
  • Grails
  • Flex/OpenLaszlo
  • Seam
  • Struts 2

The RIFE, Tapestry and ZK folks can start bitching now. Sorry - less frameworks make for a more interesting talk. Maybe I'll add you in the future and I can ask the audience which ones they want compared then we can choose four and go from there. Why don't I mention Spring MVC? Because I think Struts 2 is easier to learn and be productive with and I also like it's more open and active community. I've written applications with both and I like Struts 2 better. As for Flex vs. OpenLaszlo, I'm somewhat torn. It seems like learning Flex is going to be better for your career, but it's likely useless without the Flex Builder - which is not open source. However, at $250, it's likely worth its price. I know the Picnik folks used Flex for their UI - I wonder how much they used Flex Builder in the process?

What do you think? Are these the top web frameworks for JVM deployment today? The next time I give this talk is this Thursday at ApacheCon. I may try to re-write my talk and then give the audience a choice of old vs. new. The downside of doing the new talk is I won't have time to write apps with GWT, Flex or Seam. Anyone care to post their top three pros and cons for any of these frameworks?

Posted in Java at Nov 12 2007, 04:46:56 PM MST 50 Comments

Roller and Struts 2 BOF at ApacheCon next week

ApacheCon Are you going to ApacheCon in Atlanta next week? If so, you might want to mark your calendar for the Roller + Struts 2 BOF on Wednesday night. It's from 8:30 - 9:30 in "Room 3" (whatever that means) and free beer will be sponsored by Atlassian. Thanks Guys!

Apparently, projectors aren't provided for BOFs, so we are in need of a projector to do a small presentation. If you happen to have a "projector connection" in Atlanta next week, please let me know.

Posted in Java at Nov 05 2007, 08:25:26 AM MST Add a Comment

Xebia Web Framework Contest

I found an interesting blog post today about a contest (English translation) a French company (Xebia) had with some Java web frameworks.

4 teams have developed the same web application, each with a framework (very) different. The frameworks used were:

  • Struts 2
  • Google Web ToolKit
  • Wicket
  • My Faces (JSF)

Overall, I think it's a good summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the various frameworks.

Posted in Java at Oct 30 2007, 09:32:34 AM MDT 8 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

Don Brown on OGNL

From the Struts Developers Mailing List:

My conclusion is OGNL is like Maven 2 - sometimes it really pisses you off, and you probably generally don't like the thing, but you've invested so much into it that it would be too painful to switch, and really, it does 95% of what you want anyways.

And with that, I'm off to Finland and Norway! See you on the other side of the pond.

Posted in Java at Sep 08 2007, 06:52:20 AM MDT 12 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

Integrating Struts 2 + JSF + Facelets

What if you didn't have to choose between a request-based framework and a component-based framework? What if you could use them together and use request-based for some pages and component-based for others? This is the functionality that the Struts 2 JSF Plugin provides.

To be fair, the JSF-Spring project says it does the same thing for Spring MVC + JSF, but there doesn't appear to be any documentation.

I did some prototyping of Struts 2 + JSF and discovered that it does indeed work. I also discovered that there's no documentation on integrating it with Facelets. Luckily, it's pretty easy to do - hence my reason for writing this entry. You might ask why I want to use Facelets when JSF 1.2 supports JSP fairly well? My reason is because JSP 2.1 hijacks #{}, which Struts 2's OGNL uses for some expressions. Because of this, I want to be able to run on a JSP 2.0 container until a workaround comes along. Sun's JSF 1.2 RI can run on a JSP 2.0 container, while MyFaces 2.1 cannot (at least in my experience).

There's two ways to get Struts 2 + JSF + Facelets working:

  • Create a WEB-INF/faces-config.xml file and override the default view-handler:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <faces-config xmlns="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee"
        xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
        xsi:schemaLocation="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee 
            http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/javaee/web-facesconfig_1_2.xsd"
        version="1.2">
    
        <application>
            <view-handler>com.sun.facelets.FaceletViewHandler</view-handler>
        </application>
    </faces-config> 
    
  • The 2nd way is to use Ajax4JSF and declare the view-handler in your web.xml (allowing you to get rid of faces-config.xml):
    <context-param>
        <param-name>org.ajax4jsf.VIEW_HANDLERS</param-name>
        <param-value>com.sun.facelets.FaceletViewHandler</param-value>
    </context-param>
    
NOTE: You have to use 2nd method if you want to use Ajax4JSF. It won't read the view-handler from faces-config.xml.

If you're using SiteMesh, you may have to add another <parser> element to your sitemesh.xml to get Facelets pages decorated:

<parser content-type="application/xhtml+xml"
    class="com.opensymphony.module.sitemesh.parser.HTMLPageParser"/> 

Thanks to Laurie Harper for his assistance figuring this stuff out.

Now you might ask - why would you want to do this? For one, Struts 2 has a better navigation model (IMO) than JSF. Also, if developers want to use JSF and think it's a better way for a certain module - let them go to it!

Posted in Java at Jul 26 2007, 12:13:59 PM MDT 18 Comments

OSCON 2007: Comparing Java Web Frameworks

This afternoon I delivered my Comparing Java Web Frameworks talk at OSCON in Portland. I told attendees I'd post it here afterwards, so here it is:Download Comparing Java Web Frameworks Presentation (5.1 MB)

For comments on this presentation from earlier this year, see related postings from ApacheCon EU and JA-SIG. This presentation is pretty much the same as the one from ApacheCon and JA-SIG, except it has a different theme and I chopped out the Sweetspots section (due to time constraints).

Portland is great this time of year, but unfortunately I won't be sticking around. I'm heading down to Salem to work remotely for a couple of days, returning for the Oregon Brewers Festival on Friday and heading back to Denver on Saturday. I'll be glad when July is over - I've traveled to a new state every week.

Posted in Java at Jul 25 2007, 04:50:55 PM MDT 9 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