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Three RIA Tools Examined: JSF, Flex, and JavaFX

2008 is going to be an important year for Rich Internet Applications

2008 is going to be an important year for Rich Internet Applications. Most organizations are delivering or planning to deliver Rich Internet Applications; however, at the same time, most IT managers are facing a dilemma: which Rich Internet Application technology and platform to use? The number of different frameworks and libraries is too vast to even consider evaluating a fraction of them.

 To make this task manageable, I'm going to narrow things down to three different technologies for delivering enterprise-level Rich Internet Applications. While the first two (JSF and Flex) are proven technologies that have been used for a numbers of years, JavaFX is a new declarative language for building rich user interfaces using Java.

More Stories By Max Katz

Max Katz is a Senior Systems Engineer at Exadel. He has been helping customers jump-start their RIA development as well as providing mentoring, consulting, and training. Max is a recognized subject matter expert in the JSF developer community. He has provided JSF/RichFaces training for the past four years, presented at many conferences, and written several published articles on JSF-related topics. Max also leads Exadel's RIA strategy and writes about RIA technologies in his blog, http://mkblog.exadel.com. He is an author of "Practical RichFaces" book (Apress). Max holds a BS in computer science from the University of California, Davis.

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Most Recent Comments
Tom Van den Eynde 04/19/08 04:00:16 AM EDT

It's simple: go with Adobe Flex - it simply rocks.

DW 04/18/08 11:18:54 PM EDT

Hmmm, have you checked out the Orbeon Forms?(http://www.orbeon.com/)

Hmmm 04/02/08 01:38:47 PM EDT

Yes, XForms sounds good. PicoForms offers a solution that would work, and Yahoo has done their new mobile back end using server-side tech. An on-device XForms processor would help write portable mobile apps.

skalvi 03/25/08 07:43:14 PM EDT

If I want to write an enterprise application for my business and I want my PC user's to be able to use it as well as mobile user's, java will not work. Web start will work on the PC but not a PDA, since I would have to use a midilet. Same with flash. I would have to develop in flash lite for the PDA's. I would have to write different version of the same program for different devices. The same with GWT for the PC based version. I would have to write a seperate application for Android and the Davlik jvm. This is where JSF is most suitable, with the concept of plugable rendering kits. Why can't I just use GWT on the gphone? Maybe I can. Maybe we should hybridize JSF. So what is the best platform for write one run anywhere? anyone?

Confusion Solution 03/01/08 04:46:58 PM EST

> The number of different frameworks and libraries
> is too vast to even consider evaluating a fraction of
> them

So just use Flex instead, hehe!

Max 02/28/08 03:34:19 PM EST

@Michael: Nowhere am I comparing JSF and Flex, I'm merely discussing various technologies and delivery platforms for RIA applications. Nowhere am I saying that one is better than the other. I'm not sure why you would want to hand-code JavaScript, unless you are building a framework, doing a school project or some research. Do you consider GWT (Google Web
Toolkit) to be a good Ajax framework? They do exactly the same, they hide the JavaScript from you.

Michael 02/28/08 07:30:10 AM EST

sorry, but comparing JSF and Flex is ridiculous. JSF has nothing to do with RIA. You might say that JSF is a possibility to build Ajax apps, but then: why JSF? It is utterly unsuited for Ajax compared to other web frameworks BECAUSE it hides the JS from the dev.

Alex 02/20/08 12:59:53 PM EST

Good article. It misses one important comment though. Your JSF example has to make a server call to the pojo to increment the click counter, while both Flex and JavaFX example do not need to do this because of their stateful nature, which is very important.

Out of these three, Flash Player's UI looks better than others.

DW 02/20/08 10:07:40 AM EST

What about XHTML and XForms Offline?