Getting started with open source tools for the Java platform such as Spring, Hibernate, or MySQL can be difficult. Throw in Ant or Maven, a little Ajax with DWR, and a Web framework -- say, JSF -- and you're up to your eyeballs just trying to configure your application. This article show you how AppFuse uses open source tools to help you develop Web applications quickly
and efficiently. AppFuse
's community is healthy and happy -- and one of the few places where users of different Web frameworks actually get along.
It's written by Matt Raible, the author of AppFuse, so it's really a clear explanation of the reasoning behind AppFuse itself.
AppFuse is an open source project and application that uses open source tools built on the Java platform to help you develop Web applications quickly and efficiently. I originally developed it to eliminate the ramp-up time I often found when building new Web applications for customers. At its core, AppFuse is a project skeleton, similar to the one that's created by your IDE when you click through a wizard to create a new Web project. When you create a project with AppFuse, it prompts you for the open source frameworks you'd like to use and then creates your project. It uses Ant to drive testing, code generation, compilation, and deployment. It provides your directory and package structure, as well as the libraries you'll need to develop a Java language-based Web application.
Unlike the products of most "new project" wizards, AppFuse-created projects contain a number of classes and files from the very beginning. These files are used to implement features, but they also serve as examples for you when you're developing your application. By using AppFuse to start new projects, it's possible to eliminate the usual first week or two of development time. You don't have to worry about configuring open source frameworks together because that's already done for you. Your project is preconfigured to talk to a database, deploy in an application server, and authenticate users. There's no need for you to implement security features because they're already integrated.
When I first developed AppFuse, it only supported Struts and Hibernate. Over the years, I've found better Web frameworks than Struts, so I added options for them as well. Today, AppFuse supports Hibernate or iBATIS as persistence frameworks. For the Web framework, you can use JavaServer Faces (JSF), Spring MVC, Struts, Tapestry, or WebWork.
AppFuse comes out of the box with features that many applications need, including:
This out-of-the-box functionality is one of the main things that separate AppFuse from the other CRUD generation frameworks (from create, retrieve, update and delete), including Ruby on Rails, Trails, and Grails. The aforementioned frameworks, as well as AppFuse, allow you to generate master/detail pages from database tables or existing model objects.
- Authentication and authorization
- User management
- Remember Me (which saves your login information so you don't have to log in every time)
- Password reminder
- Signup and registration
- SSL switching
- URL rewriting
- Page decoration
- Templated layout
- File upload
The reasons are:
- Security features and extensibility
- Code generation with AppGen
What do you think of AppFuse? It's open source, so there's more or less an open invitation to add features or contribute to the project, as many already have; are you a user of the project? What strengths and weaknesses do you see in it?
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