The Added Value of JHeadstart

We just published the JHeadstart Feature List on the JHeadstart Product Center on OTN.
It includes an impressively long list of all the runtime features that can be generated, and also discusses the features and benefits for the developer. In contacts with customers and partners, we sometimes feel that the benefits of an agile development approach enabled by using JHeadstart are underestimated.  The feature list document attempts to summarize these benefits.

Some people question the added value of JHeadstart when JDeveloper release 11 will be available. From a feature perspective, this can be answered as follows: three main JHeadstart features, advanced search, (cascading) single-select List of Values, and wizard style pages will be much easier to build with JDeveloper 11.
Building these features without JHeadstart in JDeveloper 10.1.3.2 is very complex and time-consuming. So, yes, the amount of time saved by using JHeadstart to build these features is less, so you could say JHeadstart adds less value there. But that's not the whole story.
For a start, we take it as a compliment that major JHeadstart features have been recognized as being useful and powerful enough to get better declarative support in ADF. This confirms our message that JHeadstart is founded on ADF best practices collected on a daily basis by Oracle Consulting and other JHeadstart users worldwide.
Secondly, the easier a feature can be built manually, the easier we can generate it, and the easier you as a developer can modify it. For example, the JHeadstart runtime code that implements the sophisticated List of Values functionality in 10.1.3.2, is pretty complex. With release 11 we hope we can dramatically simplify that code. Less and simpler code is better for everybody: less bugs and easier to maintain, extend and override.
Thirdly, with 15 years of experience in building application generation technology, we know that the more powerful the underlying framework (either Designer/Forms or ADF) is, the more advanced features we can generate. New JDeveloper 11 features like page templating, page fragments, regions, new rich UI components, and ADF task flows open a range of new opportunities for JHeadstart 11. We have not finalized the list of new features yet, agile as we are :-), but here are some ideas we have:

  • Leverage the new UI components by adding numerous group layout styles, and item display types.
  • Add generator switches that allow you to generate one group or a
    collection of groups as an ADF region with bounded task flow. You can
    then assemble the final pages of your composite web 2.0 application by dragging
    and dropping WebCenter components, as well as JHeadstart-generated
    regions onto the same page. In other words, you can use JHeadstart to
    generate a library of reusable UI components. 
  • Support for data controls based on other technologies than ADF Business Components.
  • Tree and Tree-Table Layouts in List of Values
  • Report launch form for BI Publisher
  • Add persistable drag and drop support. Drag and drop in web pages is one thing, but you typically need to write some code to persist the drag and drop action to the database. JHeadstart can provide this code for you, just like we do today with the shuttle functionality.
  • Integrate JHeadstart permission-based security with ADF Model security. In release 11 the ADF Model security becomes "pluggable", which means we should be able to use JHeadstart permissions to authorize access to ADF model bindings.
Do you have additional ideas?  Let us know!

To summarize, we think the added value of JHeadstart will only increase with release 11!

Finally, as explained in the feature list and demoed at Oracle Open World, migrating to JDeveloper 11 is easiest when you start using JHeadstart today!

Comments:

This is less a technical request than a marketing one, but it impacts the technical side. JHeadstart should be an integrated part of JDeveloper. The biggest problem with "Web 2.0" application development is the management of complexity. If Oracle wants to own the world of Java-based Web 2.0 application development, this would be something that helps developers manage that complexity and bring applications to market faster and with fewer bugs. Additionally, tying JHeadStart to JDeveloper would eliminate the lag time between the different product releases, which creates a built-in delay of use of the latest JDeveloper release which doesn't yet have JHeadstart integration. It's hard to imagine that Oracle would leave much money on the table by bundling JHeadStart with JDeveloper when the potential gain in client base could easily overcome it (properly marketed, of course).

Posted by Brian on December 19, 2007 at 03:52 AM PST #

Perhaps some ideas: possiblity to make an email client and a UI component like Calender

Posted by Menk Slot on December 20, 2007 at 04:28 AM PST #

Menk. Added your suggestions to our list of enhancement requests Thanks. Steven.

Posted by Steven Davelaar on December 21, 2007 at 12:52 AM PST #

I'd like to be able to customize generation of the PageDefs, for example to execute some method of an Application Module. The ways to do this now are drag the method on the page and uncheck the "Clear Page Definition Before Generation?" property, or make a bean with some unintelligible EL expressions. Also I'd like a possibility to document some of the custom constructions used in de ApplicationDefinition groups.

Posted by Hendrik Jan Horst on March 06, 2008 at 08:04 AM PST #

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