When I first read Oracle’s announcement “Oracle donates ADF Faces to Apache“, I sort of jumped the gun and thought that Oracle had open sourced the entire Application Development Framework (ADF) and not just ADF Faces. That’s when I started writing this blog entry, to share the good news with fellow Java developers. ADF Faces becoming open source is good news but it’s nowhere near the news “ADF becomes open source”
For those unaware of ADF, Oracle ADF is a super framework for rapid J2EE application development and the only thing that I believe hampers its widespread adoption is that it isn’t open source and so usage is restricted to only JDeveloper users. The JDeveloper IDE is well integrated with ADF and with JDeveloper you can create a proper J2EE web application in about 5 minutes.
Here’s a small Q&A pick from my book on JDeveloper, Oracle JDeveloper 10g: Empowering J2EE Development
Q1) Once you develop with ADF, can you deploy only on an Oracle application server?
Ans) ADF applications will run on any J2EE-compliant application server.
Q2) Does ADF only work with Oracle databases?
Ans) No. ADF will work with other databases such as DB2, SQL Server, and so on.
Q3) Can you develop and maintain applications using non-Oracle tools?
Ans) As yet, no non-Oracle tool provides support for ADF development. However as ADF depends on XML files for its working, you do have the option of editing the XML directly using any other tool.
Q4) Is the learning curve steep?
Ans) JDeveloper provides many wizards and tools to simplify development with ADF. However, it does take some time to get used to the tool. The basic tasks are not very difficult, but advanced functions are a little complex.
Q5) Do you have to choose between pure J2EE and ADF, or can both work together?
Ans) ADF components can work well in tandem with normal J2EE components such as EJBs, JSPs, and so on.
6) Should you opt for ADF-based development on your project?
This is a tough question. ADF is certainly a useful offering. However, you need to consider whether you are committed to using JDeveloper and Oracle technologies over the long run. Also, it is unlikely that a job advertisement saying “expertise in ADF expected” would get much response. So individuals skilled in ADF become a vital resource. To build expertise, you will have to incur some training expenses.
As of today, ADF is very much proprietary and neither open source nor free. You can check details at the Oracle JDeveloper and Oracle Application Development Framework Pricing FAQ . I have no idea what kind of money Oracle makes from ADF, but I feel it’s too good a thing to be used just in Oracle circles and not be known to the Java community at large or used by it.
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