Sun Gives JavaServer Faces Open Source Treatment

By Jim Wagner (Send Email)
Posted Aug 30, 2005

Sun Microsystems  is giving more of its code to the open source community under its new licensing scheme, this time with its JavaServer Faces (JSF) reference implementation. Continuing its open source rollout, Sun releases the latest reference implementation to its Web application developer technology under CDDL.

The source code for Sun's JSF implementation (Version 1.2) was made available under the company's Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) Wednesday.

Sun's JSF reference implementation 1.1 was opened under its Java Research License (JRL) and Java Distribution License (JDL) in June 2004.

The JSF project is hosted at Sun's developer community site, Java.net, and includes the source for the 1.0 and 1.1 versions of the Sun implementation. The source code for a "mostly stable" build of JSF 1.2, according to project officials, is located at Java.net's GlassFish Project site.

The JSF 1.2 specification is still in the the final stages of becoming a Java standard. A proposed final draft for Java Specification Request 252 (JSR-252) was submitted Thursday.

Roger Kitain, JSF 1.2 co-specification lead, said the release of the JSF implementation fits well with the rest of its open source offerings. Earlier this year, Sun released the source code for its OpenSolaris (operating system) and GlassFish (application server) projects under the CDDL.

JSF defines a standard set of JavaServerPages (JSP) tags and APIs With these reusable components from JSF in place, the developer has one less component to create in their application. JSF also simplifies connecting the GUI components to application data and bridging client-side events to server-side handlers.

By itself, the JSF specification approved by the Java Community Process (JCP) doesn't help developers. What they need is an implementation of the technology.

There are a number of JSF implementations and several open source versions, like Apache myFaces and smile. JSF also has competition in the form of Apache Struts, a popular top-level project at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), though the two are interoperable.

What makes Sun's implementation stand above the others is its support for the latest features to be found in JSF 1.2, Kitain said.

"Other implementations don't have some of these 1.2 features," he said. "One of the advantages of Sun's reference implementation is that its development timeline has always been close to the specification itself."

Sun has spent a busy year getting its code open sourced under its somewhat controversial CDDL license:

  • Last month the company started the Open Web Single Sign-On project around source code from its Java System Access Manager identity management software.
  • The Open Enterprise Server Bus (Open ESB) project was announced in June using source code from Sun's Java System ESB.
  • The GlassFish project was announced at the same time as Open ESB, using source code from the Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0.
  • The release of OpenSolaris source code in June started the recent release torrent, based on the Solaris 10 operating system. The OpenSolaris Initiative was first announced in January.

This article was originally published on internetnews.com.

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