New Open Source Mobile/Touch Project Comes to the Java Community

Potix Corporation, the creator and chief commercial supporter of the open source ZK framework, recently unveiled a new community project: ZK Touch. The new project comprises a set of mobile components based on the recently released 6.0 version of the Java-based Ajax Web app framework paired with the jQuery Mobile touch-optimized Web framework for smartphones and tablets.

The company said its aim with this project is to realize responsive design, which "polishes" ZK's components to "fit different UI patterns and special cases for mobile devices, such that users across a broad range of devices and browsers access a single source of content, laid out so as to be easily read and navigated with minimum resizing, panning and scrolling." In other words, adapting, say, a small button that can be easily clicked with a cursor on a desktop PC to a mobile interface that requires a larger button for fat fingers.

The company describes ZK as 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.

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."

Released in 2006, jQuery is a free, open source, cross-browser JavaScript library designed to simplify the client-side scripting of HTML.

Version 6.0 of the ZK framework was released in March. One of the big changes in the new version is a new data binding system called ZK Bind, which accepts Expression Language (EL) 2.2 expressions. This allows for configurable data transfer between ZUML graphic components and server-side Java Objects. This new feature also provides the ability to bind on CDI, Seam or Spring beans. The old binding system from ZK 5 is still supported, the company said, "for those who need it, or do not want to upgrade right away."

ZK 6.0 also supports jQuery/CSS 3-style selectors for server-side Java code. Potix is known as a provider of server-side jQuery and CSS 3 style selectors using Java annotations. ZK Selectors are designed to make the implementation of such architectural patterns as Model-View-Controller (MVC) and Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) a straightforward process, the company says. The technology uses pure Java, and among its core capabilities is the ability to use Java annotations to automatically bind components to properties.

A beta version of ZK Touch is expected later this year. The company is offering a "sneak peek" video of ZK Touch on its Web site.

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].