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JSF and Portal

Eugene Abarquez
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Joined: May 18, 2006
Posts: 211
Hello All,

I am wondering what is the state of Portals(JSR 168) and JSF? Does this technology mesh well together? I am thinking of building a portal application using JSF, but I don't know how mature the JSF-and-Portal combination is. I read from somewhere that Portal doesn't integrate well with MyFaces and Facelets, which I am planning to use also. Does this still hold true or has there been a workaround? Specifically, I will be using JSF, MyFaces, and Facelets which will probably be deployed on a Tomcat 5.5 server. On a portal server, not so sure yet.

Any recommendations or sharing of experiences will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


There's so much to learn in this industry, and not everybody has the necessary interest.
Eugene Abarquez
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Joined: May 18, 2006
Posts: 211
Any ideas?
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
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Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968
    
    1

Ok, you obviously havent gone through the free, multimedia tutorial on my website about how to put together a JSF portlet, and how easy it is. You know, I do all that work, and give it away for free, and nobody uses it. Like one of those trees falling in the forest that nobody hears.

But yes, JSF is the way to go with portlet development, as far as I'm concenrned. Now, not every portlet is a framework portlet, but if you need one, go JSF.

Apache has a bunch of 'bridges' that allow you to plop a JSF application into a portlet with almost no hassle. It's amazing! :thumb: You can create applications that can stand alone as a regular web app, or use them within a portlet as well. That's pretty compelling.

I'm an IBM afficiacondo, and I tend to appreciate where IBM leads the industry. I mean, they're not always right, but they're a good elephant to follow. IBM heavily supported Struts in their portal, providing a variety of struts brigdes to wrap a struts app in a portlet. It worked fairly well, but there were certainly rules to follow. However, I have seen the IBM portal team fairly heavily steer the ship towards JSF. Struts and portal certainly hasn't been thrown away, but from their integrated tooling and general support, it looks like they've decided quite clearly that JSF in a portlet is the new way to go.

Furthermore, I'd look ahead to JSR-286, as opposed to JSR-168. The new portlet specification JSR286 speaks quite a bit on the topic of JSF support. It's just an added bit of confidence that the JSF portlet apps we write now will be very portable in future portal applications servers.

So, is JSF the way to go? As I've always said, there is no right way to do anything, there are only wrong ways, and the best we can do is not do it the wrong way. (Is it any wonder why I lost my job as a motivational speaker? :p ) I can say with great confidence that JSF, while perhaps not the right way to go, certainly isn't the wrong way, and sometimes, it's right to simply not do something wrong.

And check out my signature links for the free portal tutorials. There's also a short chapter on JSR168 JSF portlets in my portlet book as well. Feel free to buy yourself a dozen copies.

-Cameron McKenzie
[ September 15, 2007: Message edited by: Cameron McKenzie ]
Eugene Abarquez
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 18, 2006
Posts: 211
A dozen? I need that much? Hehehehe.

Thanks Cameron for the lengthy reply. Sorry I am not aware that you have these tutorials, that's why I'm asking. Anyway, I just want to know if the JSF-Portal combination is mature enough to use for a relatively large web application that I will be building. And from your reply, it seems like JSF is the good way to go, which is good because I have been using JSF for quite some time, but not with portals though.

I just want to highlight though some of the things I mentioned from my previous post that you didn't answer:

Does Myfaces and Facelets mesh well with portals? I heard that there are some issues integrating these technologies, which causes some components to not work properly.

And lastly, what portal server can you recommend that works best with these technologies?

Thanks.
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
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Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968
    
    1

Yes, as you dig deeper, and try to merge any two technologies, you run into limitations of the merger. That's just a reality.

There are always considerations you must take into account when dealing with a portal. You don't have control over complete page aggregation, and things you do on one part of the page, or even JavaScript that you may embed within a portlet, may have an effect on other portlets on a page. I can't provide specific examples through experience, but I'm sure they're out there.

Remember, working with a portal requires a mind-shift from JSPs and Servlets (or JSF development) to portlet develoment. A portal is a much stranger monster, with its own nuances. Taking a big web app, and then just wrapping it in a portlet doesn't necessarily make sense - in face, often it doesn't. Usually, breaking up specific aspects of a large JSF application into smaller portlets which can potentially share information, or leverage user customizations, does make sense. It also makes developing, and testing, smaller pieces of releasable code easier. That's how you have to start thinking when you start developing portlets. It's a bit of a mind shift, and if you don't make that mind shift, you'll struggle against the portal, instead of using it to make you more productive.

Good portal servers? I'm a big fan of WebSphere 6. I also do alot of work with JetSpeed 2, and I usually test against Pluto. Heard lots of stuff about LifeRay, and of course, all the vendors have their own portals. To be honest, I hear they're all pretty good. JetSpeed 2 is free though - there's a benefit to that.

By the way, a full box of books is 22, just in case you want to maximize the return on the shipping costs. ;)

Kind regards,

-Cameron
Eugene Abarquez
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Joined: May 18, 2006
Posts: 211
Hey thanks for the heads up! :thumb:
Pavel Kubal
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Joined: Mar 13, 2004
Posts: 356
I'm not a big fan of IBM technologies like WAS, Portal and TAM (Tivoli Access Manager), because of poor documentation. But on the other hand, I have to use it.

We are building our portal solution on WAS 6.0, Portal 6.0 and TAM 6.0 and as it concerns JSF it works well with Apache MyFaces implementation. There are other problems, for instance configuration of SSO etc.

Currently, we're preparing prototype application and I'm not aware of any problems concerning using MyFaces and JSR-168. JSR-286 is far ahead, so we cannot count with that.
Jignesh Patel
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Joined: Nov 03, 2001
Posts: 626

Original Posted By Cameron:

Apache has a bunch of 'bridges' that allow you to plop a JSF application into a portlet with almost no hassle. It's amazing! :thumb: You can create applications that can stand alone as a regular web app, or use them within a portlet as well. That's pretty compelling.


Can you please provide the name of bridges?
Pavel Kubal
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Joined: Mar 13, 2004
Posts: 356
http://portals.apache.org/bridges/

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subject: JSF and Portal