Saturday, December 8, 2007

JSF Intro

What is JSF ??
JSF is a specification with implementations offered by multiple vendors. It defines a set of user interface (UI) components—basically, a one-to-one mapping to the HTML form element set plus a few extras—that can be used right out of the box, as well as an Application Programming Interface (API) for extending the standard components or developing brand new components.

JSF is not limited to HTML or any other markup language. Renderers that are separate from the UI components control the actual markup sent to the client, so the same UI component coupled with different renderers can produce very different output—for instance, either HTML and WML elements

JSF gives you lots of flexibility in how you actually develop the user interface. All JSF implementations are required to support JavaServer Pages (JSP) as a presentation layer technology, with JSF components represented by JSP custom action elements (also commonly known as custom tags). The JSF API, however, is flexible enough to support other presentation technologies besides JSP. For instance, you can use pure Java code to create JSF components, which is similar to how a Swing UI is developed. Alternatively, you can bind JSF components to nodes in templates described by plain HTML files,

JSF brings a component-based model to web application development that is similar to the model that's been used in standalone GUI applications for years. Each component has an id attribute for the elements representing dynamic content so that it can be changed !

JSF UI components declare what events they can fire, such as "value changed" and "button clicked" events, and external event listeners (representing the Controller) attached to the components handle these events

An event listener may set properties of the JSF components—for instance, adjust the set of rows shown in a table—or invoke backend code that processes the submitted data (say, verify that a credit card is valid or update a database).

A separate renderer class (representing the View) renders each JSF UI component, making it possible to render instances of the same component type in different ways (e.g., either as a button or a link, or using different markup languages) just by attaching different renderers.

Besides the UI components, JSF also defines artifacts like validators and converters, each with a well-defined

The best fit for JSF is a true web application—a web site with a lot of user interaction—rather than a web site with some dynamic content.

JSF does not necessarily replace current technologies. It's a complement that brings structure and maintainability to the application user interface. The following sections describe how JSF fits with some established Java web application technologies

As you have already seen, JSF plays nicely with JSP. In fact, all JSF implementations must support JSP and provide tag libraries with custom actions for representing the standard JSF UI components in JSP pages.

Struts and similar frameworks as application frameworks, and to JSF as a user interface framework. this to emphasize that they have different objectives. An application framework's objective is to support the development of complete applications; it's concerned with the Big Picture. This type of framework acts as a traffic cop, routing HTTP requests to request handling code and internal view requests to response rendering code based on mappings between symbolic names and the different types of application components. An application framework doesn't care about details, such as how the user interface is rendered, or make any distinction between user actions that only affect the user interface (e.g., asking for the next set of rows to be displayed in a table) and actions that need to be processed by backend code (e.g., processing an order on an e-commerce site). Struts, for instance, can use JSP, Velocity, XSLT, or any other presentation layer technology to render a response. The Struts servlet just routes requests to application classes that process them and then tell Struts which page to display next.

A user interface framework, on the other hand, focuses on the user interface details and isn't concerned with how the rest of the application is implemented. It defines a detailed API for user interface components, for how user actions result in user interface events and how these events are handled, how the components are tied to the business data they visualize, and so on.

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