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MyEclipse for Spring 10.0: JSF/Primefaces and Spring Scaffolding

Scaffolding a JSF 2.0, Primefaces and Spring CRUD application in minutes

Niel Eyde

Skyway Software, Inc.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Goal
3. Prerequisites
4. Create Web Project
5. Add JSF Capabilities
6. Scaffold from Database Tables
7. Update Expression Language (EL)
8. Deploy the App
9. What's generated?
10. Conclusion
11. Additional Developer Resources

1. Introduction

One of the goals of MyEclipse for Spring (ME4S) is to help developers write less code from scratch and use code generation more broadly, and ME4S offers the richest set of code generation options available anywhere. ME4S can generate software components for Spring MVC, Spring Web Flow, Spring Security, REST, JAX-WS, Adobe Flex, Google Web Toolkit (GWT), JPA, DAO and JSF 2.0/Primefaces. As an alternative to writing software components from scratch, ME4S helps developers generate software components that are specific to their project. In many cases the software components may be used as-is, or they may be used as a starting point for further development. Furthermore the developer can edit the ME4S templates to further customize how the software components are generated.

Scaffolding refers to the superset of ME4S's broad code generation functions, from generating a specific set of requested software components to generating fully implemented ready-to-run applications. Besides the obvious benefits of reducing application development effort and sparing developers from some of the chores of development, scaffolding is also frequently used for rapidly developing functional prototypes, learning new technologies, and application modernization projects. The ability to quickly generate a full application is very beneficial to prototyping because you can iterate on a domain model and regenerate a functional prototype in minutes. The prototype can be used with business analysts as a tool for elaborating requirements and as the starting point for development. ME4S helps many developers learn new technologies by generating contextual reference projects, which are personalized projects that are based on their own data model. This is a considerably better approach than hunting for sample projects that are often incomplete, don't follow modern best practices, and are based on trivial data models. ME4S can also be used to jumpstart an application modernization effort by leveraging application artifacts from the current system for generating a significant portion of the application components for the new system.

The objective of this tutorial is to walk you through the generation of software components for JavaServer Faces (JSF), which is a standardized, component-based, and event-driven web framework for building user interfaces for Java web applications. The goals of JSF are to simplify the development of user interfaces using a XML-based view template language that can easily integrate with backend code written by Java developers. Primefaces is a component library for JSF 2.0, and it provides a rich set of UI components that can be easily used with JSF. In addition to generating the JavaServer Faces software components, this tutorial will also generate the software components for the service, domain, and data access layers. This will result in a fully implemented ready-to-run JSF/Primefaces application that can be immediately used for validating and testing the generated JSF components, and it will also serve a reference implementation for how the generated JSF components integrate with the other components of an application.

Figure 1. Application Layers - JSF 2.0

Application Architecture:

  • Web Layer - JSF 2.0 and Primefaces

  • Service Layer - Spring (@Service)

  • Domain Layer - JPA (@Entity)

  • Data Access Layer - Spring (@Repository)

MyEclipse for Spring uses the Create-Read-Update-Delete (CRUD) application pattern for generating applications that allows the end-user to manage application data. While CRUD isn't the only application pattern, it's a fairly typical application pattern. While not all web applications are satisfied solely by the CRUD application pattern, developers find that the resulting generated application artifacts lend themselves to being easily re-used, customized and extended. CRUD applications are tied to an application domain model that is used as the input into the scaffolding engine. The domain model can exist in many forms, and the MyEclipse for Spring scaffolding functionality supports the use of Java beans, JPA entities, or database tables as inputs.

2. Goal

This tutorial is going to walk you through producing a ready-to-run JSF 2.0, Primefaces and Spring 3.0 application that implements the CRUD application pattern for a domain model.

  • Domain model: CUSTOMERS table from the MyEclipse Derby database.

  • Target Container: MyEclipse Tomcat

  • Target Database: MyEclipse Derby

MyEclipse for Spring will be used to generate the entire JSF 2.0, Primefaces and Spring 3.0 application within a matter of minutes that includes:

  • A JPA entity corresponding to domain model (CUSTOMERS)

  • A DAO for managing the JPA entity,

  • Finder methods (JPA named queries) in the DAO based on domain model fields,

  • A Service with fully implemented CRUD operations for managing domain model,

  • JSF 2.0 UI templates using the Primefaces component library

  • JSF components fully implemented to support UI events

  • Layout managed user interface using Sitemesh,

  • CSS for UI styling

  • JUnits for every Service and Controller,

  • SpringSource certified code and configuration files,

  • Generated code that follows Spring Recipes,

3. Prerequisites

The prerequisites needed to complete this tutorial are:

4. Create Web Project

  1. Create a MyEclipse Web Project (or Eclipse Dynamic Web Project) called CustomersJsfApp.

    Figure 3. New Web Project

5. Add JSF Capabilities

Since we are going to scaffold a JSF 2.0 project, then we must add the JSF capabilities to the project.

  1. Right-click on the CustomersJsfApp project, and choose MyEclipse > Add JSF Capabilities...

    Figure 4. Add JSF Capabilities

  2. From the Add JSF Capabilities wizard, select "JSF 2.0" for the JSF specification level. Click the Finish button.

    Figure 5. JSF Capabilities

6. Scaffold from Database Tables

It's now time to generate all the software components and configuration files required to implement the CRUD application.

  1. Right-click on the CustomersApp project, and choose MyEclipse > Scaffold Spring CRUD application...

    Figure 6. Scaffolding Wizard

  2. The first step is to select the type of artifact you want to scaffold from. As mentioned in the introduction there are a variety of possible inputs into scaffolding. For this tutorial we're going to scaffold from a pre-existing database table that comes with the MyEclipse Derby database. Choose the Database Schema option on the Select Artifact Type(s) panel. Click the Next button.

    Figure 7. Select Artifact Type(s)

  3. The next step is to select the DB connection for accessing the MyEclipse Derby database. This panel will show you all configured DB connections in the MyEclipse workspace, and you must select the MyEclipse Derby connection, which is a preconfigured DB connection in MyEclipse. Click the Next button.

    Figure 8. Specify Persistence Connection Properties

  4. The next step is to specify which database table(s) to scaffold an application from. Start by selecting the desired schema, and the select the database table(s) that should be used for scaffolding. When the CLASSICCARS schema is selected, the tables list will be populated with a list of tables. The CUSTOMER table should be added to the scaffolding list. Click the Next button.

    Figure 9. Select Database Tables

  5. The next panel will prompt you to select parent objects, and this panel also lets you override the derived name of the Java Object that will be created from the database table. Since we're only scaffolding from a single database table, the Customer Java object must be the parent. For this tutorial there's nothing that needs to be changed on this panel. Just click the Next button.

    Figure 10. Database Scaffolding Options

  6. The next step is to specify which layers of the application should be scaffolded and which package names should be used for each layer. All the layers are enabled by default. Enter org.customerapp as the base package. The package names for the different layers will be automatically derived from the base package. A sub-package (i.e. web, service, DAO, and domain) will be added to the end of the base package.

    Figure 11. Application Layers and Packages

  7. The next step is to specify which web clients should be generated for the web layer. As you can see, there are a variety of different web clients available, including Spring MVC, Spring Web Flow, JavaServer Faces (JSF), Adobe Flex, GWT, and iPhone. This tutorial is focused on JavaServer Faces, so click on the Generate checkbox for Java Server Faces.

    Figure 12. Select Web Client

  8. The next step is an optional step to specify the REST scaffolding options. Since REST scaffolding is beyond the scope of this tutorial, we'll just skip to the next step of the wizard.

    Figure 13. REST options

  9. The next step is in an optional step to customize the UI. For this tutorial we'll go with the defaults.

    Figure 14. Customize UI

  10. The next step is to specify where the application (source code, configuration files, JSP, etc...) should be generated to in the current project and a few additional scaffolding options. For this panel the defaults are fine. Click the Next button.

    Figure 15. Select Target Folders

  11. The final configuration step is to specify the libraries that should be added to the current project, how they should be added (classpath containers or copied into project), and the version of Spring to use. For this panel the defaults are fine. Click the Next button.

    Figure 16. Runtime Dependencies

  12. The final panel will give you a summary of everything that will be generated for you. Click the Finish button to scaffold the application from the information you provided in the wizard.

    Figure 17. Summary

That's it. Once the wizard is complete you have a ready-to-run JSF 2.0, Primefaces and Spring application that implements the CRUD application pattern for the domain model (CUSTOMERS DB table).

7. Update Expression Language (EL)

In order to run JSF 2.0 applications on Tomcat 6, you will need to update the expression language (EL) libraries in Tomcat. For this tutorial we will be deploying to MyEclipse Tomcat, and the easiest way to update the EL libs is to prepend the new libraries in the classpath.

  1. Download both EL libraries: EL API and EL implementation

  2. To access the classpath configuration window for MyEclipse Tomcat, right-click on MyEclipse Tomact and select Configure Server Connector.

    Figure 18. Configure Server Connector

  3. Swith to Paths and add the two downloaded EL libraries to the Prepend to classpath configuration.

    Figure 19. Dashboard

8. Deploy the App

The next step is to see the application in operation by deploying it to Tomcat. The running application can be used for validating the generated JSF/Primefaces components and observing the integration with the other components of the application.

  1. To deploy the application, right-click on the CustomersJsfApp project and select Run As --> MyEclipse Server Application.

    Figure 20. Run As --> MyEclipse Server Application

  2. MyEclipse Tomcat will start up. The first page will be a dashboard for accessing all scaffolded web clients. Since this tutorial only scaffolded a single database table for JSF 2.0, the only option under JavaServer Faces is View Customers. Click on it to see generated JSF 2.0 application in operation.

    Figure 21. Dashboard

  3. The JSF 2.0 application can be used to (a) list all customers, (b) view customer details, (c) edit customer details, (d) delete customers and (e) add new customers. The following screen shots show some of the views.

    Figure 22. CustomerJsfApp - List

    Figure 23. CustomerJsfApp - Edit Details

9. What's generated?

The scaffolded application is compromised of many integrated software components, and the following diagrams provide an overview of which software components were generated and where they can be found in the project. Understanding what gets generated (and where) will help you find the individual or set of software components that you want use in your own developent projects.

Figure 24. What's generated with JSF 2.0 Scaffolding (part 1)

Figure 25. What's generated with JSF 2.0 Scaffolding (part 2)

The JSF 2.0 scaffolding blueprint provides a snapshot of what gets generated during scaffolding. The JSF blueprint and the blueprints for the other ME4S code generations capabilities are covered in more detail in the MyEclipse for Spring reference guide. (see Additional Developer Resources).

Figure 26. JSF 2.0 Scaffolding Blueprint

10. Conclusion

Now that you have a running JSF 2.0 application, you may want re-run the tutorial and scaffold different web clients, including Spring MVC, Spring Web Flow, Adobe Flex, Google Web Toolkit (GWT), and iPhone.

You may also want to try the Spring Annotator, JAX-WS Annotator and JPA annotator tutorials which are available in the Eclipse help system and online (see Additional Developer Resources).

What was your experience with this tutorial? Share your experience with us by completing a very brief survey.

11. Additional Developer Resources

Thank you for you interest in MyEclipse for Spring. If you are interested in learning more, the following developer resources are available: