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What web development technology should I use?

Clare McLennan
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 02, 2007
Posts: 13
Hi

I'm the sole developer in a small company, currently developing EJB apps on top of JBoss AS.

Up until now we've had no need for web-based apps. But that is about to change. Basically I've got carte blanche to use whatever technology I like to develop our web front ends (so long as it will sit on JBoss).

What would you recommend? I'd like a robust technology that is easy to use, but also something that will look good on the CV and make it easy to get another job!

Opinions welcome

Clare
[ January 24, 2008: Message edited by: Clare McLennan ]
Ben Souther
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 11, 2004
Posts: 13410

Originally posted by Clare McLennan:
but also something that will look good on the CV


Well, that's honest of you.
Hopefully, your company will end up with the right technology for their project.

If you're new to web development with Java, my recommendation is to avoid frameworks altogether until you are comfortable working with servlets, JSP, the Model, View Controller (MVC) pattern, ant the Command (or Front Controller) pattern with servlets and JSP. Once you've got these things under your belt, you will be in the strongest position possible to evaluate and decide which, if any, framework to use.


Java API J2EE API Servlet Spec JSP Spec How to ask a question... Simple Servlet Examples jsonf
Jesus Angeles
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 26, 2005
Posts: 2057
If you choose jsp/servlet, for IDE, if you are not using it yet, try Eclipse, or any of its 'flavors' like MyEclipse, and IBM RAD.
Clare McLennan
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 02, 2007
Posts: 13
Thanks for the advice so far

I have been talking to a few people and, yes, I think I will use JSP and Servlets.

But a few people have also suggested Struts framework - do you have an opinion on that?

Clare
Ben Souther
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 11, 2004
Posts: 13410

Originally posted by Clare McLennan:
... Struts framework - do you have an opinion on that?

For the project or for your CV?
Clare McLennan
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 02, 2007
Posts: 13
Both!

Of course I want what is best for the company, but I also don't want to use a dead end technology. I'm not naive enough to think that a job is for life so of course I am going to keep an eye on trends in the marketplace.

Is that so wrong???
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61220
    
  66

Originally posted by Clare McLennan:
But a few people have also suggested Struts framework - do you have an opinion on that

Struts is built on JSP and Servlets so it's not an either/or proposition.

I'm not going to expand on my own opinion of Struts, but I will emphasize and highly recommend what Ben suggested. Wrap your head around JSP and Servlets and the very important patterns that he mentioned before adopting any framework such as Struts. That way, you will be in an educated position to decide if it's the right framework for you or your project, and you won't have the framework getting in the way of learning how things really work.


[Asking smart questions] [Bear's FrontMan] [About Bear] [Books by Bear]
Ben Souther
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 11, 2004
Posts: 13410

Originally posted by Clare McLennan:
Is that so wrong???

I said it with a smiley, hoping that you would see it as friendly joke.

Seriously though...
Struts does look good on a resume.
For the better part of a decade it has been the most popular framework for large enterprise web applications so there is, and will be for some time, a demand for developers who know it.

For the project, you might want to look at alternatives first.
When it came out, Struts filled in a lot of gaps in the servlet and JSP specs. Since then, the addition of the Java Standard Tag Library (JSTL) and JSP expression language (EL) have improved JSP enough that the tags Struts provides aren't as important. Also, some of the components that were built for and provided by Struts have been broken off and made available as separate libraries (commons/fileupload and commons/digester for example).
This allows you to pick technologies in an ala-cart fashion instead of shipping the whole world when all you needed were a few features.

There are newer, lighter frameworks out there that take advantage of these changes and are a lot easier to learn, configure, and deploy than Struts.

As I mentioned earlier, a solid understanding of Servlets, JSP, and the patterns mentioned above, together with a good understanding of your domain will give you the tools to decide which if any framework is right for your project.

Also, we have a Struts forum on this site.
You may get some more pro-Struts replies there.
Ultimately though, you'll have to be the judge.
[ January 23, 2008: Message edited by: Ben Souther ]
Vesa Tanhua-Tyrkk�
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 16, 2008
Posts: 25
Hi,

One option is also Netbeans IDE that enables you to use servlets, Ajax, CSS, JavaScript, and JSF.
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61220
    
  66

I don't think that Clare was necessarily looking for IDE recommendations.
Aaron John
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 30, 2005
Posts: 74
Originally posted by Clare McLennan:
Hi

I'm the sole developer in a small company, currently developing EJB apps on top of JBoss AS.

Up until now we've had no need for web-based apps. But that is about to change. Basically I've got carte blanche to use whatever technology I like to develop our web front ends (so long as it will sit on JBoss).

What would you recommend? I'd like a robust technology that is easy to use, but also something that will look good on the CV and make it easy to get another job!

Opinions welcome

Clare



As others have suggested, being comfortable with JSPs and Servlets is the foundation for learning about web frameworks, such as Struts.

As an aside, my organisation is currently using Stripes as their web framework. You can read more about Stripes at http://www.stripesframework.org/display/stripes/Home

We used to use Struts previously, but all new development is under Stripes. The link above also features an argument about Stripes vs Struts. Personally I haven't used Stripes yet so I cannot go into any more detail.
Clare McLennan
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 02, 2007
Posts: 13
I said it with a smiley, hoping that you would see it as friendly joke.


It's ok, I didn't take you seriously!

OK so I'll start off by doing JSP and Servlets, then move onto using a Framework (Struts seems to be the most popular choice). I'll have a look at Stripes and then something else called Tiles that apparently works well with Struts.

One last question - I'm running on JBoss over here and will be using a bit of Seam. Seam needs JSF and Facelets at the moment.

I know that JSF is really big over the in US but it has not really taken off in the UK. I've heard a lot of negative things about it.

What are people's views on JSF?
[ January 24, 2008: Message edited by: Clare McLennan ]
Roger Chung-Wee
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 29, 2002
Posts: 1683
I think it is best to learn servlets first as it will be easier to then learn JSP. One of things I did was to buy a book (Core Servlets and JavaServer Pages) and build a small development web app using Tomcat which had lots of JSPs and servlet features. Yes, I admit it looked a mess, but you need to write code to learn.

I also think that there is a significant learning curve in getting to grips with the servlets, JSP, Tomcat and developing web apps which communicate with EJB. So, I am in agreement with other posters in forgetting about frameworks for the time being.


SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.3, SCBCD 1.3
Ben Souther
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 11, 2004
Posts: 13410

For the record, these days I use Bear's FrontMan framework.

It's small enough that you can review all of the source code in under an hour but big enough that it saves me tons of typing.
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61220
    
  66

What are people's views on JSF?
I can't speak for other peoples, but let's just say that my own opinion is less than favorable.
Scott Duncan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 01, 2002
Posts: 363
Here, try one of these

Echo
Cocoon
Millstone
OXF javascript: x()
shocked
SOFIA
Tapestry
WebWork
RIFE
Spring MVC
Canyamo
Maverick
JPublish
JATO
Folium
Jucas
Verge
Niggle
Bishop
Barracuda
Action Framework
Shocks
TeaServlet
wingS
Expresso
Bento
jStatemachine
jZonic
OpenEmcee
Turbine
Scope
Warfare
JWAA
Jaffa
Jacquard
Macaw
Smile
MyFaces
Chiba
JBanana
Jeenius
JWarp
Genie
Melati
Dovetail
Cameleon
JFormular
Xoplon
Japple
Helma
Dinamica
WebOnSwing
Nacho
Cassandra
Baritus
Stripes
Click
GWT
Wicket
Struts

Seriously, stick with JSP's and servlets. You will get sick with all of this framework nonsense.


No more rhymes! I mean it!<br /> <br />Does anybody want a peanut?
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 41865
    
  63
While it's a good idea to get a solid understanding of servlets/JSP/JSTL first, many people report being (or feeling) more productive using a framework of some kind. While others report the opposite, it's not a clear-cut case of "you're better off without using a framework". People work differently, and they think about development differently, and will consequently favor different styles of going about it. At the very least it's useful to take a close look at several of the ones out there, just to get a feeling of what they do, and how they do it. Even if one decides against using them, one might end up borrowing some ideas.


Ping & DNS - my free Android networking tools app
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61220
    
  66

Which was exactly my point (in case it got missed) -- some of us eschew large frameworks completely, preferring smaller pieces that work well together, while some think that the big frameworks are the bomb. My point was that until someone has their mind pretty well wrapped around how web apps, Servlets, JSPs, front controllers and their ilk work, they are not in a good position to judge where they fall upon that spectrum.
Bryce Martin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 19, 2007
Posts: 269
My suggestion lines up with what the guys have already said. I was in your same position about 5 months ago. I have been able to learn JSP, servlets, javascript libraries(such as jQuery), and a whole bunch more. A good place to start is Core Servlets as mentioned above. But you don't have to buy the book. It is available free online and you can print it out. Just google it

The stuff that will be most beneficial to you is probably chapters 15, 16, 17, and 19 unless you want to use a lot of JSP tags to do what a standard servlet and its subsequent classes should be doing instead (but thats just my opinion). I have yet to dig into any framework because JSTL and EL have yet to come up short on anything I've needed to do.

Best of luck, and congrats on getting on this educational roller coaster
 
 
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