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Open-source framework integrates AJAX and JSF

The final release of open-source AJAX4jsf framework 1.0 is now available. The project, sponsored by Exadel and hosted on java.net, extends the benefits of Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) functionality to component framework JavaServer Faces (JSF), which supports UI development for J2EE applications.

"It was amazing how this open-source community helped us create a lot more stable product," says Max Katz, senior systems engineer, Exadel. "We've been testing it for several months with hundreds of users and fixed a lot of bugs." A team of 10 developers worked on the project, and development for the next release is underway.

"Because of this component approach it is becoming easy to build sophisticated applications," says Katz. The AJAX4jsf framework uses a JSF component library, which is based on JSF standards. The pre-built components hide the complexity of AJAX development by not requiring developers to write any JavaScript code. Several toolkits take writing JavaScript out of the AJAX equation.  "There are a lot of other frameworks but where they fail is to provide the close integration with JSF," Katz observes. "Basically it's another framework, which you then end up integrating with JSF." AJAX4jsf supports full integration with the JSF framework including lifecycle, validation, conversion and resource management.

With the AJAX4jsf toolkit, developers can take a JSF application and add AJAX functionality to existing components or the full page. The developers have full control over how they want to develop the AJAX functionality. AJAX4jsf also works with any other JSF component libraries, so developers can mix and match components. Exadel offers a commercial Visual Component Platform library with 12 pre-built AJAX components and 20 skinnable UI widgets.

The binary and source distributions of AJAX4jsf release 1.0 are available for download. The code is licensed under a Common Development and Distribution License.  

The project team plans to release a component development kit later this year. "If companies want to build their own AJAX components, they can use the framework and we will provide the core functionality and the core features for them," says Katz.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards (krichards@1105media.com) is the editor of RedDevNews.com and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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