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InfoQ Homepage News Rapid web development with J2EE Spider

Rapid web development with J2EE Spider

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J2EE Spider is a new open source tool for rapidly developing form-based web applications.  The objectives of J2EE Spider are simple:

Generating codes whenever you want, with whatever you want and however you want.

When allow us to generate codes not only in the beginning of the project, but also to perform an incremental build. This concept of successive builds uses merge whenever necessary so that it won't lose customizations that may have been done in the code.

With what is the flexibility in the choice of frameworks. This allows the developer to decide which technologies will be part of the generated code, taking advantage of his/her team's know-how. In the future, it is intended to allow the generation with the greatest possible number of frameworks.

How allows us to alter the generation code template so that the generated code will be as similar as possible to the development methodology of each team. It is also possible to add new resources to the standard code generation in an easy and simple way.

Key features of J2EE Spider include:

  • Visual interface for generating code
  • Integration with Eclipse
  • Incremental builds
  • Round-trip engineering
  • Generated code is Internationalized
  • Code generation using templates
  • Supports multiple frameworks

As well as being able to provide custom page templates for your applications, new technologies can be integrated as necessary.  However, for "out of the box" functionality the following  technologies are provided:

  • Web frameworks: Struts, JSF and Mentawai ( Brazilian web application framework)
  • Dependency Injection Containers: Spring
  • O/R Mapping: Hibernate
  • Page Templates: SiteMesh and Facelets

At the moment the documentation is limited.  The best source of information is through several screencasts.  These demonstrate the features in action and are available in several formats:

The minimum requirements to use J2EE Spider in your projects is Java 5, Eclipse (with WTP), a JEE or Servlet container and the J2EE Spider plug-in.  More information, as well as the download location for the plug-in, can be found at the J2EE spider website

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Community comments

  • How does it compare to Sculptor?

    by Andrew Swan,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Looks interesting. Could you please compare and contrast it to Sculptor?

    There's always more than one tool for a job, and it's good to have some basis on which to choose between them.



  • Re: How does it compare to Sculptor?

    by Bruno Braga,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Hi Andrew,

    I never used the Sculptor, but it seems to be a tool based on models - Model-Driven Development (MDD). The SPIDER is another concept. I will try to explain the differences.

    In SPIDER you don't need to create diagrams and has no dependency on the tool if you want to change the code. The SPIDER helps you to create the code of your project and after create the files it have a person as owner: the developer. The SPIDER don't need to maintain any regular sync with the code. You can continue your project manually... after a few weeks can use the SPIDER again for new Use Case.

    SPIDER doesn't have the dependency between code and tool, the two are completely independent. If half of the project you decide not to use more the SPIDER, ok. You can do this.

    Some other similar tools has some manual steps as: many commands maven or interface via prompt (DOS) using only commands (example: AppFuse). The abstraction of SPIDER is higher and doesn't need to know or learn anything to use the tool... It is much easier and allows more features eg choose layout (skin) visually - do this in a prompt would be bad.

    The facilities of SPIDER allow you to create projects much faster than with MDD tools or tools based on commands.

    The quality will also be good because the generated code is based on templates. You can use your template with the customizations you want.

    The UML diagram and documentation are important, but we don't need it to configure project or create CRUDs. The SPIDER is more agile and can create code (as you want) without using the concept of MDD, then you save time.

    In my opinion MDD is important (for example) for modeling a system and create it in several different technologies. If your system has only one technology (JEE), MDD is not necessary or not adds many advantages. So the SPIDER is not a MDD tool.

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