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This Time Last Year...

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This Time Last Year...

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As a recent member of 30s club I decided to compare a few things with last year. This time last year I was just starting a new project and a new colleague was insisting on using wicket. We had just finished some projects with JSF, so everybody in the team was quite familiar with that technology. I was personally very interested in Flex which was version 2 by that time.
At that time Wicket had just been moved to Apache and was in incubation period.
By that time last year my impressions about JSF, Wicket and Flex were;


JSF is outdated, we must leave it behind and evolve. Ajax and Javascript sucks. I am very keen on trying any technology which will replace Javascript. Meanwhile Netbeans are offering nice tools for JSF but i can't even imagine replacing Eclipse. GWT can be a nice alternative.
Wicket is nice, you code and debug in the native Java platform. The Java and HTML code is totally seperated but still not easy enough to allow a designer and developer to work seperately. The learning curve is not so easy even though it is just plain Java code. Although wicket has embedded Javascript features, you still need to code Javascript which caused our project not to run on Firefox at the beginning of the development. Since Wicket is under Apache now I think their future is bright.
Flex is fantastic but for a year I have been waiting them to make a leap which they couldn't. I think that developers are too afraid to leave HTML behind and work in the Flash runtime. News about Flex 3 is everywhere. I believe the learning curve is very easy and since Flex builder is just a plugin for Eclipse, it feels so comfortable to code.


JSF is still popular, as developers are so experienced with it. Sun is making good progress and Version 2 Early Access is available. My thoughts about JSF have changed a lot. I believe it is still a good choice since people are so experienced, and JSF and its tools have become so mature. New version of Netbeans again offering nice features but still I can't imagine migrating to Netbeans from Eclipse. We are all waiting for Weblets. Several application servers are now JavaEE 5 compatible which indirectly makes JSF stronger. Well my new project will be on JSF, I will miss Flex a lot but corporations still prefer JSF.
Wicket is a disappoinment. One year passed and I don't see any progress, I haven't seen any big projects developed on Wicket and people are concerned about future of Wicket. My ex-colleagues (all are Flex developers) who are joining my old project doesn't want to learn and use Wicket. After Flex developers don't find Wicket fun, the output is plain, Javascript is still on the stage and JSF is much more mature and developers are more experienced on it.
Flex is version 3 for over 4 months which was not a major release but still very fun to use. Licence prices of the builder dropped. BlazeDS, which is a subset of LiveServices, is now open sourced. We have completed 2 successful projects with Flex and the one which is 70% Wicket, the rest Flex, is  still struggling. The team is quite experienced with Flex now and Flex at last made the leap I was expecting long ago. Version 4 news hits the blogs and the new features are amazing. Everything is really progressing on the Flex side.

Well when I look back I see that my views have changed so dramatically that I am not sure what will this year bring. Last month we had a presentation and workshop on Flex with a Java back-end in which everything went very smoothly and we could finish a project from scratch. Next week I will be in caves of JSF again so now I am watching the news of JSF 2.0 with more caution.

As I said before, today I am officially a member of 30s club, am I considered to be a wise and aged programmer? :)

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