Well, it’s clear, JSF has a long way to go before it gets to the look-and-feel capabilities of ASP.NET 2.0 and 3.0. Interestingly, I don’t feel this is a function of the implementation of the frameworks, but instead of the marketing and the pure power-house ASP.NET has been when it comes to sucking in software vendors as partners. You can buy a junk-load of Visual Studio IDE plug-ins (add-ons) to easily configure your .NET components for a brain-dead, easy development experience and a lovely end-user experience. Three important notes here:
1. You have to BUY the components – software for money is expected in the Microsoft community, yet shunned in the Java community (which is the enterprise language of choice for the up-and-coming “open-sorcerers” — yes I just thought up of that and coined the term — don’t steal it)
2. Brain-dead, easy development – brain-dead easy development is expected in the Microsoft community, yet shunned in the Java community (why do they put themselves through so much Struts — said fast, that is pronounced S-T-R-E-S-S)
3. Lovely end-user experience – a lovely end user-experience is expected in the Microsoft community, yet shunned in the Java community (okay, it is not “shunned”, but the components made for ASP.NET simply blow away the ones on the market for Java)
Yes, I can hear all my Java developers outside my house chanting “come out so we can beat you up” as they keep warm around the bonfire which used to be my car. But the ones that REALLY know me, know I am not really a completely die-hard Microsoft fan, nor do I hate coffee. Okay, I hate coffee, but I don’t hate Java.
I would like to see the software vendors of the world not only begin creating beautiful components for Java and JSF, but have a real economic reason to do so. I’m not talking about the big players like Oracle, but instead the small ones, like Ashok’s Software and Taco Shop — hey, if you recognized it, it wouldn’t be a small player. I think JSF opens the windows to this. There are many, many developers and some great companies embracing Java/JSF, but it has got to be a really strong push to catch up with the components out there for .NET. If it can be done with free or even open-source software, then I’m even happier, but I think some of that ideology might have to swing just a slight bit more towards capitalism to see it take off.