XDoclet in the J2EE web tier
It's common that you'll find somebody using XDoclet to help build their EJBs, but how often do you find people using it to help with the J2EE web tier? In his recent weblog, Dave says he is trying to convince his team that using XDoclet is the way to go for generating artefacts like tag library descriptors and the web.xml file. I must admit that while XDoclet is very useful when building EJBs, I'm not sold on the idea of using for the web tier myself. Why? Well, I think that there are several reasons for this.
For each EJB, you have to build 3 classes and the ejb-jar.xml file - all of which can be automated with XDoclet and a single source file representing the bean implementation. This is nice because the remembering all that nasty EJB deployment descriptor stuff is a pain, and everybody knows it's a pain. In one of the JavaOne sessions that I went to this year, the EJB team talked about how they were thinking of taking advantage of the new J2SE 1.5 (Tiger) feature of annotations/metedata (JSR-175) so that the deployment descriptors were automatically generated. Basically this would make XDoclet-like, attribute-oriented programming available to the J2EE platform, and that can't be a bad thing.
Another reason to use XDoclet is so that package and class names are kept in sync between the Java source and the deployment descriptors. However, when you use tools like IntelliJ to refactor a class/package name, you can ask it to look in other files too so you get the deployment descriptor refactoring for free.
I do like using XDoclet for generating the EJB stuff, but for me it doesn't add much for the web tier technologies. Are you using XDoclet in your J2EE apps? I'd be interested to hear from anybody with thoughts on this.