Sunday, July 3, 2005

The JSF evolution

It's been more than 2 years since I started looking into JSF. JSF was in its early access avatar then and the JSF community felt like a startup trying to find its way into the unknown. And now 2 years on it's very heartening to see such wide spread industry support for JSF with any number of IDE vendors supporting it, every other technology on the block showcasing how it too can be integrated with JSF, JSF being the prime topic at many a J1 discussions, et al...

We at ESRI have been showcasing our GIS components for the past 2 JavaOnes. Doreen presented them in 2004 and Steve did it this year. They were well received on both occasions. But what has been even more interesting to me is the changing developer perspectives between J1 2004 and 2005 with regard to JSF. Last year they were just intrigued by this new technology and wanted to see what it was all about. This time around folks had a lot better understanding of it (they had either read extensively about it or actually used it themselves) and they wanted to see how they could actually use it in their organizations.

True JSF has its faults but IMO industry wide support should definitely tip the scales in its favor when it comes to developers choosing which framework to use in their new projects. But even without industry support I firmly believe that JSF has more merits than chinks. It does have a steep learning curve but when you are over it it's worth the effort in gold - it makes you think "components" and not request parameters, you now write business logic in POJOs and not worry about how the controller will call into them, you perform actions in simple methods in backing beans and not in an obscure action form or servlet - the list just goes on...

It's the same learning curve that one has to wade through when s/he went from procedural programming to OOP, from just getting the job done to perusing the GoF design patterns and employing them in their projects... It takes time but the end result is that you are a better programmer because of it.

No comments: