Endless options mean web development does not have to hit the rails

As I have stated before, better application interaction across different devices should be the web standard we all aim for.

However, progress has been sticky – and it can be difficult for users to access applications on different devices.

Standards such as XForms and WHATWG provide a step in the right direction, but are constrained by either the need for user plug-ins or the slow development of the framework.

So, how do alternative standards – such as JavaServer Faces (JSF) and Ruby on Rails (RoR) – provide more opportunities for creating web applications?

As its name suggests, JSF is Java-based – and its component-based framework aims to ease the development of user interfaces (UIs).

The approach allows the creation and re-use of specific components, promoting the quick and flexible development of web pages.

One of the other key benefits of JSF is the ability to work with a range of internet technologies. Particularly notable is the interaction with Ajax, which can help developer’s enrich JSF designs with Ajax-based components.

Work on the JSF specification continues apace and a series of big-name vendors are helping to push the development and adoption of the standard.

RoR – which is an open source framework for creating web applications – is also receiving an increasing amount of backing.

The framework intends to push agile programming, providing standard models for web site construction and the automatic allocation of information in databases.

Apple started shipping the framework in late 2007 and other firms continue to show an interest.

Microsoft, for example, recently announced plans to increase its commitment to Ruby. The Redmond-based software giant plans to take part in the RubySpec project, an attempt to provide a complete specification for the RoR programming language.

Such progress shows how developers do not need to feel constrained as they attempt to create usable web applications.

As my previous posts have aimed to highlight, the world of front-end development for SOA is a crowded place and each framework offers a unique blend of benefits and constraints.

My advice is simple. First, don’t re-invent the wheel – there is definitely an available framework that suits your needs, without having to create a presentation platform.

Second, take tour time before sourcing a solution. Look at all your presentation requirements across online and offline experiences, analyse support for devices and variations in presentation, and also investigate the skills you may – or may not have – in your organisation.

Just remember that the options are out most definitely out there.


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4 Responses to “Endless options mean web development does not have to hit the rails”

  1. Vikas Agarwal Says:

    Good post! However, a particular statement of yours, i.e. “don’t re-invent the wheel -…” does remind me of a very common problem faced at the time when a project is in its inception phase and the decision about a suitable framework is to be made.
    Given that we already have a framework available suiting pretty much each of our technical needs, we cannot always be sure that our tech architect or the responsible person is open minded and is ready to consider enough number of choices of a suitable framework. Also, this decision is made only once and its analysis may be an expensive job, leaving the tech lead/architect going ahead with what they know rather than what they might have had chosen if the decision was backed up with sufficient research.

  2. dharmeshmistry Says:

    Thanks Vikas.
    I agree with you ! This is a big issue. I often find also that Architects find the challenge of designing their own solution more interesting than using someone elses. However, no good architect today would advocate writing their own database, their own web server or application server. So hence they certainly should not be advocating the development of their own presentation layer, if they do, I’m not sure they are the architect you want/need.

    Over the coming weeks I’ll be adding some more technical posts also, discussing the challenges with the presentation layer. These are too help people understand the full requirements for a presentation layer technology.

    The problem today tends to be the focus is on ease, flexibility and richness of user interface development. Whilst this is important, issues such as security, performance, cross browser rendering etc… are as important if not more so. Many of these non functional requirements often get missed when selecting a presentation layer framework / technology.

    regards D

  3. automotive floor jack Says:

    I have to say, I can not agree with you in 100%, but it’s just my opinion, which indeed could be wrong.
    p.s. You have a very good template . Where have you got it from?

    • dharmeshmistry Says:

      Thanks, but would be good if you could expand on what you disagree with, I would certainly value an alternative opinion ;o) The template is a simple one we created internally, glad you like it and appreciate you taking time to read the blog.

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