He is a entrepreneur and a software architect from Tel Aviv, Israel. He is also a technology freak with about 20 years experience working with computers. He is currently working on his first private initiative in the area of software development tools. His vision is to maximize the abilities of software developers by providing pragmatic tools that enable them to get fast results. Zviki has posted 36 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

The Best JSP/Struts/JSF Development Tool Is Now Free

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My previous project was based on Struts 1.x. With Struts, it was always a love-hate relationships. On one end, it was elegant and it turned some of the HTML/JavaScript work into Java work, which is a plus if you're a Java developer. On the other hand it introduced tons of XML configuration files which were a nightmare to manage. To top that, it has an incredibly steep learning curve. I used to train developers in Struts, and, IMHO, when it comes to novice developers (i.e. fresh graduates), the chances of fully understanding Struts in the first couple of months is less than 50%. 

The sheer amount of XML configuration in Struts is overwhelming. I'm talking about thousands of lines. At some point, we were working with one single file, shared by a team of about 20 developers. You can imagine the chaos. 

So, we started looking for a tool. I personally did a test drive on all the tools supporting Struts, including light alternatives like MyEclipse and behemoths like IBM RAD (used to be WSAD back then). There was only one tool which was acceptable in our case and it was called NitroX, developed by a small company called M7. Later on, it was acquired by BEA and renamed BEA Workshop, not to be confused with their incumbent BEA Workshop for WebLogic. The two tools were later merged and, eventually, found their way to the new owner, Oracle. It is now called Oracle Workshop for WebLogic. BTW, the only close alternative at the time was Exadel Studio, which was acquired by JBoss and became JBoss Developer Studio.

Last week, Oracle made an interesting move and decided to give it away for free (requires registration). The full workshop was an expensive piece of software, priced at up to $1000, if I recall correctly. What most people don't realize today is that this tool includes some Oracle/BEA specific parts, but also includes generic support for Struts 1.x, JSF and Hibernate and plugins for supporting Tomcat, JBoss, Resin, Jetty, and WebSphere. It is also a great tool for JSP editing. One of the few tools which came really close to near-WYSIWYG visual editing, with customizable design-time representation for JSP custom tags. 

If you're using any of these technologies, I suggest you check it out. I haven't tried all the features, but I know that the Struts/JSF/JSP support is as good as it gets. It currently officially supports only Windows and Linux and can be downloaded here. It is a true hidden gem now, tucked away in the humongous Oracle web site.  

From http://zvikico.typepad.com/problog


Published at DZone with permission of its author, Zviki Cohen.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Mostly Harmless replied on Mon, 2008/08/18 - 8:31am

Struts, JSF & Oracle described as the best? I agree that there is no right or wrong, but I know that those are not near the best.

Zviki Cohen replied on Mon, 2008/08/18 - 11:46am

I didn't say that Struts or JSF are "the best". However, it you are using either, the Oracle Workshop is the tool you should be using.

Mostly Harmless replied on Mon, 2008/08/18 - 11:59am in response to: Zviki Cohen

Ah. That is probably the case. Thanks.

Angie Tan replied on Wed, 2008/08/20 - 12:28am

I'm currently using the BEA WebLogic Workshop and it's a pretty decent IDE. At least I don't have to bother about downloading some plug-ins so that I can view the JSP page's layout. :-)

Will grab the latest copy off Oracle. It's a good deal not to be missed. :-)

Li Yab replied on Sat, 2008/08/23 - 12:36am

i was using this tool for two years,it's so great but i was always using the crack to the bea workshop but now don't need

Imran Baig replied on Wed, 2012/02/29 - 2:47am

how to learn jsf java technology?

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