Working to simplify Web

By eweek  |  Posted 2006-06-12 Print this article Print

2.0 and open AJAX"> Is that the framework used by components under Oracles JDeveloper 10g tool set?

Right, the ADF Faces are those components. If you look at the reference implementation of JavaServer Faces, it comes with a minimal set of components. Most customers really want much more data-aware, much [richer] components. Thats what we provided earlier this year. You have 100 components from complex tables and trees to streaming video and images. The response to that has been really positive.

Those were what we called standard HTML components—they used HTML and some JavaScript. What we announced at JavaOne was that we were going to contribute our AJAX [Asynchronous JavaScript and XML] JavaServer Faces components—which are new—to open source later this year. We have to get it approved by the project. The first set went through Apache MyFaces. Theres no reason why we wouldnt follow that trend.

The big difference is that a lot of vendors are saying "AJAX is great" [and that] its the basis of "Web 2.0." All those solutions require you to train your developers in JavaScript and DHTML [Dynamic HTML], or some proprietary XML language, and theyll generate that for you. Thats a lot of overhead. Youre writing a lot of JavaScript code that you then have to manage. We didnt change the programming model.

In the same way you could have taken those original 100 JavaServer Faces components, you just program those using JSP and JavaServer Faces. The new components are no different. You program our AJAX components using JSP and JavaServer Faces, and the render kit of those components uses all the AJAX technology for you.

So does this stratify the complexity of AJAX so that the developer sees a familiar component model, while the user experience still has the benefits that people want AJAX to deliver?

Not only do you not have to learn JavaScript or DHTML, you dont have to learn SVG either, and you still get charting and graphs and things like that.

Are we getting closer to seeing real meaning in the expression, "standards-based browser," rather than just "browser popular enough to be worth testing and accommodating"? Is Achilles catching up with the tortoise in that regard?

Early this year, we joined the OpenAJAX effort for that purpose. We like AJAX. Were all committing to AJAX. And its important for the community to make it work in all the browsers and on all the servers. I think thats important so that we do get convergence as time goes on.

Read more here about the OpenAJAX Alliance. Itll be interesting. We definitely stretch the capabilities of DHTML and SVG. Over the next few years, well see people being creative and see vendors making improvements. It wont stop. If we give developers what they want, theyll always want more.

I think peoples expectations for interaction will continue to rise, but you wont be retraining your developers. The same skill sets [that] developers have been using to build Web 1.0 applications will not only apply to Web 2.0 with AJAX but also to any other device you want to target.

So, will developers still need to tailor content presentation to different user environments but perhaps need fewer separate skill sets to do that?

Exactly. There are situations where you want a generic thing to try to display itself anywhere, and thats successful up to a certain point. But people have expectations about what theyre looking at and how theyll interact with it, and I do think youll need to target the device youre going for.

What do developers get from the tools approach that Oracle is taking that they wont get by relying on Eclipse plus its ecosystem of plug-ins?

Weve really tried to ensure consistency so that anything that plugs into JDeveloper, from an internal or from an external group, will follow the same behavior and use the same concepts such as services or components. Some of the stuff were doing relies on controlling the core of the integrated development environment. When people sit down and play with the tool, most people are incredibly impressed.

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