Using ADF without JDeveloper – good insight in the mechanics behind Oracle's Application Development Framework and JSR-227

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It has always been my understanding that choosing ADF (Oracle’s relative new Application Development Framework and the – perhaps premature – implementation of the JSR-227 – means choosing JDeveloper. However, after having said all this, I found the following article on OTN: Using ADF without JDeveloper, Clemens Utschig-Utschig and Steve Anderson JDeveloper/ADF Development Team January 2005. They describe how you can build applications that benefit from the ADF runtime for DataBinding in a non-JDeveloper environment. However, while they demonstrate that using ADF without JDeveloper is possible, they do not convince me that it is viable.

Nonetheless, this article provides good insight in the various runtime elements that make ADF binding tick. It demonstrates how you publish your own JavaBean as a DataControl, build a UIModel for a JSP and configure ADF’s BindingFilter to setup the binding-context according to the UIModel so that you can access the model-data from your JSP – relying on ADF to make it available.

This discussion makes it clear that ADF can be used with any IDE that provides facilities for conveniently reviewing and editing the runtime XML files required for ADF: the DataControl Definition files, the DataBindings.cpx file and the PageUIModel.xml files. One can but wonder how long it will take for Oracle to release a plugin for Eclipse that will deliver such facilities. I’d say it can only be a matter of time. Jan and Andrej will be proven right then.

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About Author

Lucas Jellema, active in IT (and with Oracle) since 1994. Oracle ACE Director for Fusion Middleware. Consultant, trainer and instructor on diverse areas including Oracle Database (SQL & PLSQL), Service Oriented Architecture, BPM, ADF, Java in various shapes and forms and many other things. Author of the Oracle Press book: Oracle SOA Suite 11g Handbook. Frequent presenter on conferences such as JavaOne, Oracle OpenWorld, ODTUG Kaleidoscope, Devoxx and OBUG. Presenter for Oracle University Celebrity specials.

11 Comments

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  5. I have used both Eclipse and JDeveloper, and have noticed some seemingly big differences between Eclipse and JDeveloper. First and foremost I thought the only edge Eclipse had over JDeveloper was, it was FREE. Now that JDeveloper is also FREE, time will tell how much the user base is going to tilt. One definite advantage with eclipse is the endless list of Free plug-ins that are available, but let the buyer beware, one needs to be prepared to invest some good amount of time in choosing and configuring the plug-ins and to make them useful in the production environment, this even for features that you absolutely cannot live without.
    This brings out another point, JDeveloper comes with all the must-have features which work fine, if not great, but most importantly ADF seems to be the greatest pull for JDeveloper. If ADF is made available as a plugin (even if it was possible, I do not think it will be available in the near future), the equations still would be in favor of JDeveloper for two reasons.
    If any PM decides to use ADF for his project, then there are two choices, to use Eclipse with a ADF plugin or to use JDeveloper.

    1. With the first approach, efforts are needed in 3 areas: 1. to integrate plugins with Eclipse and to try and make it work in a production environment. 2. And also apply efforts in training the team on ADF 3. and focusing on the real work.

    2. Instead if the PM chooses JDeveloper, 1. Train the team on ADF using JDeveloper in the training process, 2. and do the real work.

    Oracle seems to have a winner under its belt.
    Just my 2 cents.

  6. Agreed. I’m altogether more radical. Oracle is really losing the battle against Eclipse, Intellij, Netbeans et al…. from my point of view any investment in JDeveloper is really is a waste of time. Oracle should jump on the Eclipse bandwagon and provide cool plugins building on their main strength (ADF, Databinding, Database Development etc.) and add a little more Openess ;-) . ADF is a step in the right direction. That would be really a gain for the community as a whole.

  7. Yann, I quote agree. It may be that Oracle is not yet decided itself as to what to do. Oracle is one of the principal sponsors of Eclipse – surprising to many, as Eclipse is direct competition for JDeveloper. Providing an ADF plugin for Eclipse would certainly eliminate a substantial portion of the competitive edge JDeveloper may have over vanilla Eclipse. Then again, if Oracle wants to promote ADF, the JSR behind ADF as well as itself in the Java arena, such a plugin may make a lot of sense.

  8. That’s a fake pleasure… I can’t believe that ADF will be used under Eclipse if Oracle doesn’t provide any plugin to
    use graphical components. The first aim of JSF was to improve the productivity of development for the
    presentation layer; glad to see that Oracle (used to be so bad inthe “OO world” regarding to what
    they’ve build/bought in application servers area) is the first company which provide a useful pack
    of components. I can’t believe no reaction from IBM for next releases of RAD.
    But for now, using Eclipse without graphical components seems like coding J2EE app with notepad…

  9. This eclipse/jdeveloper issue seems to be a difficult problem: they have to endorse eclipse to some extend (and not look too insincere in the process) to not lose (or gain) the credibility in the java community they want so badly, but because of that the need and demand for jdeveloper is weakened at the same time.. I’m curious what oracle’s thoughts on this are!

  10. I’m keeping my fingers crossed! This would probably help in getting IBM on board of 227 again. http://jcp.org/en/jsr/results?id=2045
    Writing such a plugin shouldn’t be that hard for Oracle, because they’ve already done something similar for Oracle BPEL ;-)

    Then again, when Oracle delivers such a plugin – what does this say about their JDeveloper IDE effort?

  11. Leon van Tegelen on

    If Oracle is to have any chance with JSR-227 (Databinding) they will have to provide such a plugin. It would also would give them the Headstart on implementing the JSR-227 spec they so desparately want