Developer Toolkits: Everything Under The Sun?

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Brian M. Coyner
Jul. 14, 2003 08:31 PM

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The other day I wanted to play with JavaServer Faces, again. I tried using EA3 when it first came out, but nothing worked right so I gave up. When I realized that EA4 was out I thought I would try again. But wait, where are the JAR files? Oh! Sun decided to shove them into the Java Web Services Developer Pack v1.2. So much for making my life easy. Now I have to download a monolithic file (I think it is around 50 megs) and install a bunch of stuff I do not want. Sure the "installation wizard" allows me to skip over tools, but why should I have to download them in the first place? Also, why do I need an "installation wizard" to copy a bunch of JAR files to my harddrive?


I think it is rediculous that I am forced to download tools that I do not care about. For example, this "toolkit" has Ant 1.5.2 bundled with it. I already have Ant 1.5.3 installed. How about Tomcat? Yep, I have that installed and configured, too. Ohhh... Web Service APIs, I don't want them, either. I want JavaServer Faces. I comprehend that these are complimentary technologies, but I should not be forced to install a "toolkit". Why is this so hard for Sun to understand?

A Simple Example

Why should I care about EJBs if all I want are servlets? Not every servlet application uses EJBs, and not every EJB application uses servlets. I am working for a client where we are using Swing and EJBs. Is Sun going to put Swing into J2EE? Perhaps J2SE and J2EE will become J2EUS? "Java 2 Everything Under the Sun" (no pun intended).

What's In It?

Just for fun here is the list of tools that come with the Java Web Services Developer Pack v1.2 (this list came directly from Sun's website):

  • JavaServer Faces (JSF) v1.0 EA4
  • XML and Web Services Security v1.0 EA -
  • Java Architecture for XML Binding (JAXB) v1.0.1
  • Java API for XML Processing (JAXP) v1.2.3
  • Java API for XML Registries (JAXR) v1.0.4
  • Java API for XML-based RPC (JAX-RPC) v1.1 EA
  • SOAP with Attachments API for Java (SAAJ) v1.2 EA
  • JavaServer Pages Standard Tag Library (JSTL) v1.1 EA
  • Java WSDP Registry Server v1.0_05
  • Ant Build Tool 1.5.2
  • Apache Tomcat v5 development container
  • Ws-I Supply Chain Management Sample Application 1.0 EA

That is a lot of stuff to clutter up a harddrive. Remember that all I want is JavaServer Faces.

What Can Sun Do?

I understand that Sun wants to attract new talent, and all inclusive toolkits makes it very appealing for new programmers to get started. Perhaps Sun wants to be like Microsoft: bundle everything together and force you to use their tools. Whatever the case, Sun could make a lot of people happy simply by giving us a choice: monolithic toolkits and individual tools.

Brian M. Coyner is coauthor of the Java Extreme Programming Cookbook and a Senior Software Engineer with Object Computing, Inc. in St. Louis, Missouri.