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Good solution to J2ee's messy front end?

I've been switching back and forth at my company doing ASPX and j2ee programming.  (we write small sites in ASPX and put em on hosted solutions, and our custom applications/BIG websites are j2ee).    Now java is a fine language, only marginally weaker then C#, but what it seems to lack is a good front end solution.  We have a beautifully designed system all the way up until our JSPs, where we have all kinds of code strewn throughout them.  Its disgusting.  Is there anything comparable to ASPX's webforms?  We've tried using i18n tag libraries (blech), but thats about it.  Has anyone found a good solution?  What are some of the ways you guys do it?

Vince
Sunday, July 20, 2003

You need an MVC framework. Personally I would go with www.springframework.org .

Other more established frameworks are Struts (messy) and WebWork (hang out for version 2).

Rhys Keepence
Sunday, July 20, 2003

I think Velocity is fantastic - http://jakarta.apachce.org/velocity/ - it's a templating soultion with only a few directives (output, looping, assignment, little else) which more or less forces you to keep your dynamic html pages as simple as possible. Since it's a general-purpose templating soultion you can also use it to generate xml documents too.

The Spring approach is drawn from Rod Johnson's J2EE book and allows you to use any templating technology you like (eg. JSPs, Velocity templates, XSLTs). The criticisms he makes of other approaches seem well thought out. It's a pity his book seems a little harder to get than it should - it's very good.

Walter Rumsby
Monday, July 21, 2003

I'm a big fan of tapestry (http://jakarta.apache.org/tapestry/). Takes a while to get the hang of, but makes it very easy to make component-based web sites. I'd recommend giving it a try. The sample app shipped with the distro uses EJB's, so it's a good starting point.

Matt Christensen
Monday, July 21, 2003

I will second the recommendation for velocity... it is absolutely awesome... a perfect example of "less is more".

mph
Monday, July 21, 2003

What about rolling your own simple MVC and use XMLC for the presentation? Works like a charm and your designers can do the HTML without worrying about too much code.

Joe
Monday, July 21, 2003

WebObjects http://www.webobjects.com/ is what you're looking for.

Chris Hanson
Monday, July 21, 2003

I recently started using Millstone ( http://millstone.org ) because it allows you to create a nice looking browser based front end with out having to deal at all with XHTML, XSL, etc. I haven't deployed the app yet though, and I'm not sure about how responsive it will be.

A nice resource I found comparing many different front ends can be found here:

http://waferproject.org/index.html

Daver
Tuesday, July 22, 2003

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