Some Oracle bloggers have been writing and hinting about what oracle is doing with AJAX and JSF. Especially Jonas Jacobi has provided some interesting information about current developments at Oracle.

Oracle’s JSF implementation is called ADF Faces. Introduction to JSF components and the ADF Faces Components is a small introduction to Oracle ADF Faces:

…Oracle ADF includes well over 100 JSF components (ADF Faces) that provide end users with a very rich and powerful experience. There are components like color pickers, list of values and calendars…

All these components currently use HTML and WML as the markup languages…

Oracle is in the midst of revamping the renderers of these components by adding a combination of DHTML and JavaScript support, which will provide an even richer user experience, including partial page rendering. This new render kit, called the rich client, is so powerful that it almost deprecates the use of Swing.

This last statement comes with a screenshot showing a rich user interface in a webbrowser, titled: ADF.Faces.NEXT.

DHTML, Javascript, partial page rendering, this all sound a lot like what most people today call AJAX. A big post about the basics of AJAX can be found on Tug’s blog: Web UI: What’s behind AJAX? Simple use cases using XMLHttpRequest

Jonas Jacobi writes why JSF would be the right technology to support AJAX in his post: Quote - “JSF is not a rich client technology”:

One of the key differentiators of JavaServer Faces (JSF) is its ability to be markup agnostic, allowing you to attach any available presentation technology (HTML, DHTML, Telnet/Character mode and eventually SVG, Flash, XUL, etc.) to a set of reusable components.

And this is what Oracle has been doing as can be read in his post Wireless development with JSF

ADF Faces EA16 supports XHTML … We are working on an additional richer render kit support what has lately been known as Ajax (XHTML, XmlHttpRequest, JavaScript, and DOM.

And it looks like some screenshots have been posted recently which display these AJAX components in action. Justin Kestelyn posted some impressive looking Oracle BAM screenshots: New Oracle BAM Screenshots. His post doesn’t mention the technology used in these screenshots, but you can see the application is running in internet explorer. However, it could technically still be webforms or something similar. But we see a lot of graphs, which could be the BI components Jonas Jacobi is writing about in Wireless development with JSF:

leveraging JSF as the base … our Business Intelligence team is working on a set of ADF Faces BI components

Grant Ronald is also blogging about web applications with a rich gui: So can you have a productive end user with a pure web application? Included are some interesting screenshots: 1 (no longer available), 2, 3, 4 & 5 . Grant doesn’t tell us if this application is built using JSF, but if you hover over the pictures you see a hint with the following text: “Faces UI”.

So it looks like we’ll soon see JSF components with support for AJAX technology. When can we expect this? Again, Jonas Jacobi gives us a hint in JSF renderers for mobile devices, xhtml:

When we go production with JDeveloper 10.1.3 we will have Telnet, PDA’s, and ASK (IM, SMS, MMS, SMTP, Paging, etc..,) support, and also integration with peripheral devices such as scanners, portal printers

And in Quote - “JSF is not a rich client technology” he writes about ADF.Faces.NEXT:

We are still not there to be able to provide you with an early access release of these components until earliest August 2005. Work that is currently on going is to get the underlying framework together so that the components can support e.g. drag and drop

I guess it’s save to say that JDeveloper 10.1.3 will include ADF Faces, but no support for AJAX. But as the screenshots show, AJAX support is progressing quite nicely.

I think Oracle is building a real alternative for Oracle Forms, a technology which will allow you to build rich gui data entry applications (and ofcourse a lot of other types of applications as well), but this time it’s build on open standards. And you’ll also be able to use your applications on pda’s (or smart phones)and through telnet. jsf,ajax,oracle,adf faces