ZK Studio Java IDE Now Available as Eclipse Plug-In

Potix Corporation, the creator and chief commercial supporter of the open source ZK framework, has just made its ZK Studio integrated development environment (IDE) available as an Eclipse plug-in.

ZK is an open source Ajax framework written in Java. The company calls it an "Ajax-plus-mobile framework," because of its support for Java Mobile, Android and various mobile browsers. The core of the framework is an Ajax-based event-driven mechanism, XUL and XHTML-based components, and a markup language for designing UIs. The framework complies with JSP, JSF, Portlet, and Java EE technologies, and it can be integrated with existing enterprise environments and Java IDEs.

XUL (pronounced "ZUL," and sometimes written that way) is the XML User Interface markup language that was developed by the Mozilla project. It uses an open source implementation of the Mozilla Gecko layout engine, tri-licensed under the GPL, LGPL and MPL.

ZK-based applications can be built using pure Java, markup languages and/or scripting languages. The company says it provides developers with "a true event-driven model facilitating simple and transparent development of rich internet applications using pure Java."

First released in August 2008, ZK Studio is a visual development environment designed to provide intuitive tools that span the entire Java Web-app development lifecycle. It comes with tools for UI design, prototyping, development and deployment when implementing ZK applications. The list of features in the Eclipse plug-in includes a zscript to MVC extractor, code completion, Ajax widget palette and a style designer, among other features.

The ZK Studio Eclipse plug-in supports Eclipse 3.6 (Helios), Eclipse 3.5 (Galileo), and Eclipse 3.4 (Ganymede), as well as MyEclipse, IBM RAD 7.5, and the Spring Tool Suite v.2.5.1.

Potix is best known for its Direct RIA architecture, a pure Java application engine designed to provide developers with direct access to user interface, databases, and web services. Based on ZK, Direct RIA and aims to simplify and speed up the creation, deployment and maintenance of rich Internet apps. By programming user interfaces directly, the company says, Web app development becomes "as intuitive as programming desktop applications."

ZK itself is maintained by an active developer community. The community has produced more than 20 translations, 100 articles/blogs, 100,000 lines of codes, and 1,500,000 downloads from more than 190 countries. It has been deployed by several Fortune Global 500 companies, including Barclays, eBay, Deutsche Bank, Sony, Sun Microsystems, Audi and Toyota. It supports a number of third-party widgets, including JFreeChart, JasperReports, Google Maps, FCKeditor, Timeline, Timeplot, ExtJS, and Dojo.

The ZK Studio plug-in can be downloaded now from the Eclipse Marketplace. As a plug-in, you must install Eclipse. The company recommends installing the Eclipse IDE for J2EE Developers or the Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP) before you install ZK Studio.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].