Thursday, April 14, 2011

I still hate JSF - but a little less :D

If you know me you also know this for a fact: I hate JSF with a passion! There are no bad enough words that you could use to express the hatred I feel. What can I say - I'm broken this way...

Today I finally gave JSF2 a spin. This time I already knew that working with Java EE is a pain in the neck so I've decided to use my usual environment (Grails) to do the test.

JSF / JSF2 has some major drawbacks out of the box. It's heavy and it's a misery to introduce changes (again, out of the box). Sure you can use like JRebel and stuff to make your life easier but then JRebel costs money and if you're just playing with the technology with no apparent reason spending any money is just not justified at all.

So back to the topic: JSF2 on Grails. Sounds, scary, right? Yes, I've got the goosebumps too :)

What's in the box? (cited after

- Bean By convention (no need for faces-config)
- Bean access to controller parameters (session,request,params...)
- Beans dynamic methods for navigation redirect(action?,bean?,view?,uri?,url?) and - render(action?,view?,bean?),
- Automatic bean and service properties resolution
- - 'void init()' called at bean initialization if present
- 'void dispose()' called at bean destruction if present
- JSF Extended request scope ('view')
- Access to web.xml configuration via Jsf2Config.groovy
- Access to faces-config generated in web-app/faces-config.xml
- Converters for Locale, Closure, Currency, Timezone
- i18n ready, fast access with #{m['key']}
- create-bean script
- Hibernate session managed from view rendering to view response
- Execute groovy code in EL expression ( #{gtag.groov[' def i = 2; 3.times{ i++ }; i; ']} )
- Support JSF2 Components - @ManagedBean ...

And so my test went like this. I've installed the plugin the usual way, I've create a class called StatusBean (in a .groovy file!), a little bit of copy-paste from the plugin's page to figure out the signature of an event listener did the heavy lifting for me, I've checked the FAQ section to see where should I put my xhtml files and it all worked right out of the box!

Well, I'd definitely NOT go as far as saying that I actually like JSF2. Hell no! I despise it just as much as I did before. I do however recognize that there's world outside of GSPs and SiteMesh and the alternatives are good for some things.


Kim Baddeley said...

Hi Matthias,

Posting a comment here was the only way I could figure out how to contact you.

I am starting to get my head around Grails and have starting using your grails-json-rest-api plugin which is great!

I was having a problem and getting an 'Invalid object' response so started looking into the plugin code and thought it would be useful to return the errors. I made the following patch in JsonRestApiController to return the errors in the json response and wondered if you were interested in applying the patch to your git repository.
=================================== = null
data.result.message = 'Invalid object' // TODO: define an error message that makes sense
data.result.errors = = null
data.result.message = 'Invalid object'



Matthias Hryniszak said...

@Kim: contact me on Google Talk ( We can work this out.