Sun has introduced a Java specification to simplify the development of graphical client applications.
Java has proved popular for building back-end, server-based applications that use Java 2.0 Enterprise Edition application servers. But, until now, it lacked the ease-of-use required for programming the front-end common in products such as Visual Basic .net.
To address this, Sun has introduced Javaserver Faces, a technology it claims will simplify the development of user interfaces for Javaserver applications.
Like Visual Basic, Sun said the technology will help developers of varying skill levels build web applications by assembling reusable user interface components in a page, connecting these to an application data source, and wiring client-generated events to server-side event handlers.
Jyoti Banerjee, chief executive at analyst firm MyBusiness.net said previously .net was the only option for programmers who wanted to build web components easily and support mark-up languages for non-HTML applications such as for PDAs or RFID devices.
"With the arrival of Javaserver Faces, programmers working in the J2EE environment have the same kind of graphical and visual capabilities on tap," he said.
Javaserver Faces includes a set of application programming interfaces for representing user interface components and managing their state, handling events and input validation, defining page navigation, and supporting internationalisation and accessibility.
Javaserver Faces also incudes a Javaserver Pages (JSP) custom tag library for expressing a Javaserver Faces interface within a JSP page.
Sun set to develop Java GUI tool
In mid-2004, Sun is due to begin selling a tool called Java Studio Creator, incorporating the Javaserver Faces technology for Solaris, Windows, Windows XP and Linux. The tool will provide "key elements corporate developers and IT departments can rely on to develop and deploy reliable, secure multi-tier distributed applications", according to Sun. It will include:
Drag-and-drop layout of user interfaces and component infrastructures to provide consistent look and feel of applications
An event-based coding model based on Javaserver Faces
Access to databases, via the JDBC "Rowsets" technology
Simplified access to web services through Java-to-XML technologies.