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

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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.

Equinox (a.k.a. AppFuse Light) 1.7.1 Released!

Equinox 1.7.1 contains a number of dependency updates, and not much else. This will be the last release with the Equinox name. This project is changing its name to AppFuse Light and will be referred to by that name going forward. The project will be moving its source code to http://appfuse-light.dev.java.net. The equinox.dev.java.net project will remain because Cool URIs don't change. In addition to the name change, I'd like to try to merge the AppFuse and Equinox user communities. Since the technologies are so similar, and AppFuse 2.x will use some of Equinox's Ant scripts, it makes sense to bring these projects closer together.

In AppFuse Light 1.8, I plan on adding support for Stripes and Wicket as well as integrating the CSS Framework (like AppFuse uses).

50 possible combinations are available for download:

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

All of the frameworks used in Equinox, as well as most of its build/test system is explained in Spring Live. Going forward, documentation will be put on the AppFuse site.

A summary of the changes in this release are below:

  • Removed custom JavaScript and CSS for MyFaces Tomahawk's
  • Dependent packages upgraded:
    • Ajax4JSF 1.0.6
    • Cargo 0.9
    • Commons Collections 3.2
    • Commons DBCP 1.2.2
    • Commons Lang 2.3
    • Commons Validator 1.3.1
    • DWR 2.0 RC2
    • FreeMarker 2.3.9
    • JPOX 1.1.7
    • JUnit 3.8.2
    • Hibernate 3.2.1
    • iBATIS 2.3.0
    • MyFaces and Tomahawk 1.1.5
    • Spring 2.0.4
    • Spring Modules Validation 0.8
    • Struts 2.0.6
    • Tapestry 4.1.1
    • Velocity 1.5
    • Velocity Tools 1.3
    • WebWork 2.2.5

For more information about installing the various options, see the README.txt file. Live demos (thanks to Contegix!) are available at:

If you have any questions, please read the comments from the 1.7 release or ask them on the AppFuse mailing list.

Posted in Java at Apr 21 2007, 05:27:33 PM MDT 2 Comments

Comparing Java Web Frameworks: Proposed Outline

I'm just now starting to create my Comparing Java Web Frameworks presentation for ApacheCon Europe. According to Dave, I'm way late on submitting my presentation. However, I haven't received any late notifications from ApacheCon's organizing committee, so I don't feel too bad.

I think it's interesting how most conferences don't spend much time organizing from a speaker's perspective. The Colorado Software Summit and NFJS are two exceptions. As a speaker, you always know exactly what's going on, what the deadlines are and where you're supposed to be when. With ApacheCon, I feel like I'm in the dark on almost everything - including if I have a hotel room or not. I guess that's the difference between a volunteer organization and conferences where the organizers make money.

Luckily, I've done this presentation quite a few times in the past, so it's mostly an update rather than a rewrite. The biggest changes: dropping Struts 1 and adding Stripes and Wicket. Of course, I could keep Struts 1 since it's not much additional work, but since I only have 50 minutes for the talk (10 minutes for QA), it makes sense to drop it. And yes, I know many of you'd like to see Grails, Seam, GWT, RIFE and Click added to this presentation - but no one wants to sit through a presentation on 11 web frameworks in 45 minutes.

Here's the abstract for the session:

One of the most difficult things to do (in Java web development) today is pick which web framework to use when development an application. The Apache Software foundation hosts most of the popular Java web frameworks: Struts, MyFaces, Tapestry and Wicket. This session will compare these different web frameworks, as well as Spring MVC and Stripes. It will briefly explain how each works and the strengths and weaknesses of each. Tips, tricks and gotcha's will be plentiful. Lastly, it will provide attendees with a sample application that utilizes all 6 frameworks, so they can compare line-by-line how the frameworks are different. This sample application will include the following features: sortable/pageable list, client and server-side validation, success and error messages as well as some Ajax functionality. The frameworks will be rated on how easy they make it to implement these features.

Without further ado, here's my proposed outline:

  • Introductions (5 minutes)
  • Pros and Cons (15 minutes, ~2 minutes for each)
  • Sweetspots (10 minutes)
  • Smackdown - evaluation criteria includes (15 minutes)
    • Ajax support
    • Bookmark-ability
    • Validation (including client-side)
    • Testability (esp. out-of-container)
    • Post and redirect
    • Internationalization
    • Page decoration
    • Community and Support
    • Tools
    • Marketability of skills (can it help you get a job)
    • Job count (is there a demand for skills on Dice)
  • Conclusion (5 minutes)
  • Q and A (10 minutes)

During the Pros and Cons, I won't be showing any code like I usually do - there's just not enough time. I'm also adding in a discussion on these frameworks' sweetspots. The Pros and Cons section is largely my opinion, and I think it's important to hear the framework authors' opinions as well.

In evaluation criteria, I'm dropping List screens and Spring Integration. All these frameworks have good Spring support and most support some sort of page-able/sortable list. I can add either of those back in based on your suggestions.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

Posted in Java at Apr 17 2007, 09:13:22 AM MDT 8 Comments

AppFuse 2.0 M4 Released

The AppFuse Team is pleased to announce the release of AppFuse 2.0 M4! This release marks a milestone in the usability of AppFuse 2.x. A lot of folks (including myself) have been using AppFuse 2.0 on projects and have fixed quite a few issues. In addition to polishing the tutorials, we've fixed a fair amount of i18n bugs and packaging issues with modular archetypes.

We were hoping to get AMP's code generation and XFire integrated in M4, but were it's going to have to wait until M5.

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

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.

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)

For more information, please see the 2.0 M4 Release Notes. To see how AppFuse 2.x works, please see the video demos.

Comments and issues should be sent 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.

Posted in Java at Mar 24 2007, 04:33:21 PM MDT 5 Comments

Large sites powered by Java web frameworks and Tiles + WebWork

Yesterday, I delivered a Comparing Web Frameworks seminar that included Struts, Spring MVC, WebWork, JSF and Tapestry. This was for a client that's in the process of re-working an extremely high traffic site (50+ servers currently) from Servlets + JSPs to a web framework. They love the idea of Tiles (and know how to use it) as well as plan on integrating many Ajax features.

We quickly eliminated Struts because of ActionForms since they're planning on moving to persisted POJOs. Spring MVC and JSF had a notch up because they work with Tiles. However, JSF has reportedly had scalability issues. Furthermore, it's the most-complained about framework out there. One attendee noted how she was impressed with the low number of complaints about WebWork.

WebWork doesn't integrate with Tiles (but probably will soon) and they were concerned about SiteMesh performance with large pages (1MB + of text). While I believe SiteMesh can do almost everything that Tiles can do, I also agree that Tiles is a good technology. Furthermore, the "advanced features" of SiteMesh to be largely undocumented, which can be a barrier for adopting it as a "development standard".

Spring MVC was dinged because it doesn't have built-in Ajax support like WebWork and Tapestry (via Tacos). However, it's support for Tiles might just make it the one they choose - especially since they plan on using Spring in the middle-tier/backend. While they loved the idea of Tapestry, they didn't think they could afford the learning curve and I don't know enough about the @Border component to verify if it has all of Tile's functionality.

One interesting thing that came up was the list of high-volume sites using these various web frameworks. Tapestry seems to come out on top when you look at the list of well-known sites. However, I'm sure there are plenty I don't know about. If you know of high-volume sites using any of these five frameworks, please let me know. I'm looking for major sites with millions of hits per day. Here's my current list (extra points for fancy templating with SiteMesh/Tiles + Ajax widgets):

  • Struts: None that I know of off the top of my head, but I'm sure there are plenty.
  • Spring MVC: None that I know of.
  • WebWork: JavaBlogs (don't know if this exactly qualifies as high-volume, there aren't that many Java developers). WebWork also has a few products based on it (i.e. Jive, JIRA, Confluence), but these companies also employ WebWork committers.
  • JSF: None that I know of.
  • Tapestry: NHL.com, TheServerSide.com (similar comments to JavaBlogs) and Zillow.com.

Thanks!

Related: How To use Tiles like SiteMesh and SourceLab's Web application technologies comparison (with performance numbers!).

Update: FWIW, I figured out How to use Tiles with WebWork and wrote a short howto for doing dependency injection with SiteMesh.

Posted in Java at Feb 15 2006, 11:55:57 AM MST 30 Comments