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Posted by editor on January 28, 2008 at 7:40 AM PST

A number of JSF-related items

After focusing so much of the front page's attention last week to mobile and embedded issues, apropos of the Mobile & Embedded Developer Days, it only seems fair to start the new week by turning our attention back to the server side. Today, we've got a couple of items of particular interest to the JSF developer.

Is it a good time to be a JSF developer? It sure seems like it, though just how good is a highly subjective subject. A recent article on JavaLobby is sure to draw both attention and controversy, as contributor rhightower cites historical job listing data to claim JSF catches Swing as the number one GUI component model for Java:

JSF did well in 2007. Let's put it this way: If job demand for the Struts framework and JSF were a stocks and you invested in it in April of 2005 by July of 2007 you would barely break even with Struts but with JSF your investment would have grown 700% as of July 2007. (According to

Struts continues to do really well; it is still number 1. Yet after Struts, JSF is doing well and Struts growth is as flat as EJBs.

The article's graphs also show JSF listings as compared with other Java enterprise frameworks, including WebWork and Wicket. However, JavaLobby founder Rick Ross isn't yet convinced:

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that I have doubts about the "number of jobs" equals "market leadership" relationship that seems to be the underpinning of this post and many others we have all seen over the years. Couldn't it be the case that Swing is still stronger, but employers are not having as hard a time locating Swing talent, so they aren't needing to place job ads? Maybe the employers have invested in cultivating Swing skills in their existing teams through training programs, so they have the staff to meet their needs?

As Rick raises the question about job postings as a measure of a library's popularity, it does make you wonder if that's a truly useful barometer of popularity. Not only does it miss the possibility of finding help through means other than job listings, as Rick notes, it also overlooks the concept that libraries may be popular outside of work contexts. Are people building small business or personal websites with JSF? Are they building small, informally distributed GUI apps with Swing? These uses might not show up with this kind of analysis.

But then again, there's certainly a sense that JSF has been growing strongly over the past few years, so it's not like the job listing numbers are inconsistent with popular conceptions. Maybe it's just a matter of how far you're willing to take the numbers.

Another JSF-related item in Java Today offers help to those frustrated with the complexities of writing a JavaServer Faces component: with the help of's JSFTemplating and Woodstock projects, you can write a component with only two files. The SDN article JSFTemplating and Woodstock: Component Authoring Made Easy offers a step-by-step guide, and suggests that the Scales project will host more of these kinds of components in the future.

Meanwhile, the NetBeans team is putting out an invitation for Second Life users: "please join us in Sun's Developer Playground in Second Life on Thursday, January 31 at 10am PST as Brian Leonard and David Botterill, NetBeans Technology Evangelists, discuss NetBeans IDE 6.0. Learn how this latest release enables greater developer productivity with a faster, smarter editor, multi-language support, and a customizable IDE."

Of course, there will be lots of follow-up from last week's ME conference, starting with the latest Java Mobility Podcast. The episode Java Mobility Podcast 35: Live from Mobile and Embedded Developer Days
features voices from the first ever Java Mobile and Embedded Developer Days. "We talked to many of the people presenting poster sessions on Sun Microsystems' Santa Clara campus as well as some of the contestants trying to win one of four SunSPOTs."

This week's Spotlight is on the ROME Modules Subproject, which combines a number of contributed ROME plugins into a single distribution for users who want to work with feeds from major RSS sources. Included modules allow you to work with such feeds at iTunes podcasts, A9 OpenSearch, Slash-based blogs, Yahoo! Weather and more. The subproject's wiki page serves as a guide to module-makers, as well as providing guidance to users of the modules.

In today's Weblogs, Ben