Friday, January 5th, 2007

ZK Roadmap for 2007

Category: Framework

Tom Yeh over at the ZK project has released his roadmap for 2007. It’s an intriguing list of tools, features, and developer support:

  • Expanded support for data binding.
  • A visual design tool for Eclipse.
  • Support from mobile platforms: ZK Mobile, a Java ME client, will be released in the first half of 2007.
  • To work with existing applications more efficiently, ZK components will be available in the form of JSP tags. Maybe also as JSF components.
  • Support for browsers without Javascript.
  • Support for other scripting languages than Java, such as Groovy and Ruby.
  • ZK books and more online tutorials.
  • “Mega” components, such as spreadsheets, forums, etc.

Lots of good stuff, especially the news about ZK Mobile and the visual design tool.

One thing I’d like to see happen with ZK (and Echo2, the other, similar server-side framework), is the development of something similar to the Spring Rich Client framework. What is Spring Rich Client?

The Spring Rich Client Project (RCP) is a sub-project of The Spring Framework. Spring-RCP’s mission is to provide an elegant way to build highly-configurable, GUI-standards-following rich-client applications faster by leveraging the Spring Framework, and a rich library of UI factories and support classes. Initial focus is on providing support for Swing applications but a goal of Spring-RCP is to be view agnostic as much as possible.

Both ZK and Echo2 resemble desktop GUI frameworks, and thus could benefit in the same way as Swing. In fact, if Spring-RCP is truly view agnostic, it might make sense to try to use Spring-RCP directly.

Posted by Dietrich Kappe at 12:21 pm

4 rating from 19 votes


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I’m biased against ZK since the performance on their live demos is terrible. Unfortunately, Echo2’s team seems to be strapped with work, and hasn’t released an update in a while despite bugs here and there cropping up in the forums. I’d really like them to release something, since I think ZK might win this battle purely due to communication. Zk’s constant release cycle and long term plan release like this bend me in their direction.

Echo2 also really needs to integrate the EPNG components, there seems to be a world of functionality that lives on the sideline that probably should get the same star treatment the proper Echo2 components do.

My 12c on the subject ;)

Comment by Ivan — January 5, 2007

Terrible? From my experiences, it is, at least, faster than echo2’s demo. However, I hope ZK can improve the controllability of client. Client side actions are not enough. Animations and customized JavaScript codes, which somehow can improve performance further, are in my wish list.

Comment by Samia — January 7, 2007

I have to say I am pretty happy with ZK as it stands – it certainly has a lot less loose ends than Echo2, and appears to have a dedicated team. As Ivan says, the relentless release cycle is good.

As for performance, I have found it to be /reasonable/, after a few simple tweaks. There are several areas which I plan to investigate further after doing some quantitative tests. But even with the current level of performance, our user representatives are happy. This is partly because the richer user interface makes productivity higher, even if some page loads delay for a moment.

In terms of wishlist, the one thing I would ask for is more convenience methods on the UI controls. For instance, to get the value of a Decimalbox directly as a double, instead of just a BigDecimal. Set the selectedItem in a list based on the value of a child Listitem. Allow comboitems to carry a value payload.

Comment by Cameron Smith — March 3, 2007

I think what ZK team is really need to do is to develop a nice GUI, maybe they should think how could they render the code into flash, like OpenLaszlo.

Great Job ZK!

Comment by James Pang — June 18, 2007

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