For some time now there have been some excellent viewlets on OTN on the functionallity of the next generation JHeadStart version which will work with Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF).
Because of our special relationship with Oracle Consulting we were able to obtain a beta version of the JHeadstart ADF release. Last month I took it for a brief spin. I must say I really like the fact that it is built on top of ADF. This means JHeadstart can now use the “ADF API” to talk to the model, instead of using its own implementation with DataObjects en DataObjectHandlers. Using the ADF plumbing and extending it where needed the JHeadstart runtime could slim down. JHeadstart can now really focus on its main objective, giving you a headstart with “fast, reliable, and repeatable development of complex transactional systems”.
After some small difficulties were overcome I built a small application (JSP and Struts) based on three tables in an Oracle Database using JDeveloper 184.108.40.206 with the ADF JHeadstart plugin. After setting up the business components, I opened the Application Structure File and a default application already had been configured, I just had to generate and run and the application was working.
JDeveloper with ADF already promisses you “productivity with choice”. But still you have to handcraft each JSP and the application flow by hand. Even with the help of drag and drop and visual editors that will become a boring, time consuming repetitive task when you have a “standard” transactional application. That is were JHeadstart can provide you with an overdrive. It will generate the necessary JSPs , ADF metadata and the struts-config for you.
Besides JSP and Struts controller also the ADFc controller and UIX are supported.
I’m not going to give you a list of the new and deprecated features, just check out the viewlets for that, pictures say more than words.
Looking at the future I think it would be a good idea if JHeadstart would also support ADF Faces (Oracles Java Server Faces (JSF) implementation), as I think that 2005 could become the “Year of JSF”.
Another important question is if ADF (JDeveloper) will eventually provide some of the “application template” functionality JHeadstart offers.