Re: Rapid development of desktop-like web applications

Lew <>
Mon, 13 Sep 2010 12:41:02 -0700 (PDT)
carmelo wrote:

I'm looking for a visual RAD IDE that would allow me the rapid
development of desktop-like web applications. It should assist me on
data binding too. If you know Visual Basic, it should be similar to

The web application requirements are:
- CRUD functionality for record management in relational databases
- displaying data in tabular form, master/details form
- generate reports
- generate graphs

I've got no restrictions on languages, the goal is to find tools that
make development the fastest possible.

Since you posted to a Java newsgroup I'll speak only of Java.

Would you have any advice?

Any of the standard Java IDEs, namely NetBeans, Eclipse and JDeveloper
just to name three of the free ones, have power at least equivalent to
Visual Basic within the Java world, albeit they aren't the same as it
or each other.

Speed of development is leveraged more by frameworks than by tools.
You speak of web applications with database connectivity, quite the
standard pattern, for which there are dozens of productivity-enhancing
frameworks. For the visual interface Java Server Faces (JSF) with
Facelets is a big boon. Database connectivity gets power from the
Java Persistence API (JPA), embodied by Hibernate, EclipseLink and
OpenJPA. XML processing is easy with the Java API for XML Binding

Personally I avoid Spring and RichFaces. So far. Every project on
which I've worked that uses Spring is XML hell, and Spring
practitioners seem pathologically averse to type safety. Just
freaking code your widget, OK? Dependency Injection is no more a
universal cure than penicillin injection. The condition has to call
for it. Even when it does, uses I've seen of Spring are more like
trepanning than inoculation.

Part of the problem with Java is that there are so many frameworks, so
many of which are well engineered and robust, perhaps even useful.
For web applications I routinely use:

  Apache log4j
  Tomcat 6.x for the application server
  MyFaces or Mojarra for JSF, version 1.2 or 2.x
  Tomahawk JSF library
  JAXB (comes with Java now)
  Apache Commons libraries for things like file uploads and codecs
  EclipseLink or other JPA framework (annotations rock!)
  PostgreSQL or Derby (a.k.a. "Java DB") RDBMS

  JUnit 4.x for unit tests
  Ant for builds

Make sure your Java version is at least 6u21.

Always build your deployments from the command line, e.g., using

Always use source control - CVS, Subversion (SVN) or git - even if
you're the only developer. Always.

Do not include IDE artifacts (e.g., ".settings/" or "project/"
subdirectory, ".project" or custom "build.xml" file) in the trunk of
the source-control project. I keep these meta-files in a branch
specific to each development environment, and the real files in the
trunk (e.g., the real "build.xml" used from the command-line Ant


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