ZK, AJAX without JavaScript?

ZK Demo

ZK is a slick-looking presentation layer toolkit that seems to at least be growing in popularity on SourceForge. I do not know of any real sites using it. It looked very interesting at first glance, especially in conjunction with something like Hibernate. After some further digging, my second impression is that it suffers from roughly the same major flaw that afflicted the first iteration of exhibition. Namely, it presented some simple ways to do complex things, but when it really came down to it, the complexity was merely being moved elsewhere. Not just that, but the complexity was now being exposed using a technology few people know or understand. Am I missing something here, or is ZK just refactoring the complexities of developing an application for the web?

One Reply to “ZK, AJAX without JavaScript?”

  1. I think that what the ZK project is doing is pretty fantastic. Yes, the project does encapsulate much of the JavaScript but this is a good thing. Java tools are much better than JavaScript tools. The only JavaScript syntax checker I have ever found is JSLint.

    With ZK, you can develop your web app using the XUL component markup language or you can develop your app of pages of you app directly in Java code. You can also mix Plain HTML and even Javascript with XUL markup if you happen to need to. You can do either and I think this in itself is pretty fantastic. They also have a GUI composer tool named ZeroCode which is in the works as well. You can integrate other web presentation elements as well if you need to such as JSP or JSF – if you need to. I think this tool compliments GWT although GWT is strictly client based and ZK is both client and server. ZK is more flexible than Echo2 – with Echo2 you are pretty much forced to create a desktop-like application. With ZK you are free to keep the feel of your application web-like or desktop-like – it’s up to you. Take a look at the ZK development guide.

    I’ve looked at all sorts of open source web frameworks and this one just rocks. I’ve researched over fifty including: Wicket, Tapestry, WebWork, Click, WingS, WebonSwing, SwingWeb, Echo2, ThinWire, Guise, and so forth. ZK is very elegant and complete.

    Managing complexity is what software development is all about.

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