Oracle Offers Stripped Down ADF Java EE Framework

Oracle has released a stripped down and free (to develop and deploy) version of its Application Development Framework (ADF). Dubbed ADF Essentials, the company is calling this release "a free packaging of key technologies" from that framework "that can be used to develop and deploy applications without licensing costs."

The ADF is a Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) framework created to simplify enterprise app development -- and to attract developers to Oracle's Fusion Middleware ecosystem. Originally billed as a "productivity framework," it provides coders with less than an expert's command of Java EE with visual, declarative and guided-coding features.

The original ADF is based on the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern for enterprise app development, and so is the leaner version. But while the full ADF requires Oracle's WebLogic application server, the Essentials version runs on the open-source edition of the GlassFish app server (also free). Also, the Essentials license does not restrict deployment to a specific server.

Other differences: The Essentials version includes: ADF Faces Rich Client Components (Java ServerFaces-JSF); ADF Data Visualization Tools; an enhanced version of the JSF controller called the ADF Controller; the ADF Binding metadata abstraction layer; and the ADF Business Components layer for developing business services against relational databases.

It doesn't include ADF mobile, desktop integration, or security features. And you won't find the ADF Web service data control; ADF remote taskflows; the ADF Business Component's Service Interfaces; or the ADF Data Controls for BI, Essbase, and BAM. Also, the Essentials version is not actually integrated with key Oracle Fusion Middleware features. Although ADF Essentials does not include the declarative Web Service Data Control, Oracle says users will still be able to use the Java Bean data control to access Web services by creating a proxy client Java class "that accesses and interacts with your Web service and then expose that class as an ADF data control."

The Essentials version is not open source (neither is the original ADF), but Oracle claims in its product FAQ sheet that the stripped down version "is aimed at removing licensing barriers for adoption of the Oracle ADF technologies."

"With the ability to leverage the Oracle ADF functionality for production applications without incurring a license fee, as well as the ability to deploy to open-source servers, more developers can adopt Oracle ADF as the base for their applications," the company argues. "Oracle believes that increased use of Oracle ADF can also help the adoption and usage of Java in enterprise applications."

Oracle is pitching its home-grown JDeveloper integrated development environment (IDE) as the right tool for ADF Essentials users, and it says it will extend support for its Enterprise Pack for Eclipse IDE in a future release.

The new Essentials edition of Oracle's Application Development Framework is available now for download from the Oracle Technology Network.

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].