Developer Toolkits: Everything Under The Sun?

by Brian M. Coyner

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The other day I wanted to play with JavaServer Faces, again. I tried
using EA3 when it first came out, but nothing worked right so I gave up.
When I realized that EA4 was out I thought I would try again. But wait, where are the JAR files? Oh! Sun decided to shove them into the Java Web Services Developer Pack v1.2. So much for making my life easy. Now I have to download a monolithic file (I think it is around 50 megs) and install a bunch of stuff I do not want. Sure the "installation wizard" allows me to skip over tools, but why should I have to download them in the first place? Also, why do I need an "installation wizard" to copy a bunch of JAR files to my harddrive?


I think it is rediculous that I am forced to download tools that I do not
care about. For example, this "toolkit" has Ant 1.5.2 bundled with it.
I already have Ant 1.5.3 installed. How about Tomcat? Yep, I have
that installed and configured, too. Ohhh... Web Service APIs,
I don't want them, either. I want JavaServer Faces. I
comprehend that these are complimentary technologies, but I should not
be forced to install a "toolkit". Why is this so hard for Sun to understand?

A Simple Example

Why should I care about EJBs if all I want are servlets?
Not every servlet application uses EJBs, and not every EJB application uses
servlets. I am working for a client where we are using Swing and EJBs. Is
Sun going to put Swing into J2EE? Perhaps J2SE and J2EE will become J2EUS?
"Java 2 Everything Under the Sun" (no pun intended).

What's In It?

Just for fun here is the list of tools that come with the
Java Web Services Developer Pack v1.2 (this list came directly from Sun's website):

  • JavaServer Faces (JSF) v1.0 EA4

  • XML and Web Services Security v1.0 EA -

  • Java Architecture for XML Binding (JAXB) v1.0.1

  • Java API for XML Processing (JAXP) v1.2.3

  • Java API for XML Registries (JAXR) v1.0.4

  • Java API for XML-based RPC (JAX-RPC) v1.1 EA

  • SOAP with Attachments API for Java (SAAJ) v1.2 EA

  • JavaServer Pages Standard Tag Library (JSTL) v1.1 EA

  • Java WSDP Registry Server v1.0_05

  • Ant Build Tool 1.5.2

  • Apache Tomcat v5 development container

  • Ws-I Supply Chain Management Sample Application 1.0 EA

That is a lot of stuff to clutter up a harddrive. Remember that all I want is
JavaServer Faces.

What Can Sun Do?

I understand that Sun wants to attract new talent, and all inclusive
toolkits makes it very appealing for new programmers to get started.
Perhaps Sun wants to be like Microsoft: bundle everything together and
force you to use their tools. Whatever the case, Sun could make a lot of people happy simply
by giving us a choice: monolithic toolkits and individual tools.

Does anyone like being forced into using a "toolkit"? Or do you like being able to assemble the tools you want?


2003-07-15 14:12:01
Preach it brother
2003-07-16 04:51:08
If you think JWSDP is huge, ...
Just wait until it gets folded into the J2EE SDK!
2003-07-16 08:08:20
case in point
There was a problem with the Sun ONE web server where they included a peculiar version of Xerces that was quickly outdated. The result created irreconcilable conflicts with new versions in the JVM for the container. I understand the JCP addressed this issue in newer servlet specs, but it demonstrates a lack of foresight. Apache and Tomcat, thank you very much.

Choice is what will always distinguish open source from monsters like Microsoft and SAP. It may seem easier to bundle, but if they don't make things individually available too, they will lose developers fast to alternatives. How does Sun expect to win in embedded systems if they bury small, useful libraries in massive distributions? On their own, I guess.