ADF and Spatial

I attended an excellent Modelling and Development SIG in Manchester last week.

When the Oracle Product Manager for FUSION made her presentation there was much interest.

I won’t go into the comments from the floor about the instability of recommended Java technologies because I want to concentrate on Oracle’s ADF.

What is ADF?

ADF stands for Application Development Framework. What is that? Is it standards compliant?

“Oracle’s ADF Faces is a fully compliant JSF component library which offers a broad set of enhanced UI Components for JSF application development.”

So, what is JSF?

“JavaServer Faces (JSF) is a new Model View Constroller (MVC) standard Java framework for building Web applications. It simplifies development by providing a component-centric approach to developing Java Web user interfaces.”

Or, from Apache’s MyFaces project:

“JSF is a framework built upon Java Servlets and JavaServer Pages (JSPs) technologies to provide a better Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture.”

Following on from the release of the JavaServer Faces API developers have been creating JSF Component libraries. ADF is a name given to Oracle’s collection of these.

Ok. So, they are proprietary, right? They cost money, right? They only work with Oracle’s JDeveloper, right?

Truth might just be stranger than fiction. Oracle has built over 100 ADF “controls” (see for a listing).

Why would anyone want to pay for such things when they are in any IDE you might buy (eg Visual Studio)?

Lesson: there is no money in technology components.

The Oracle rep at the M&D SIG said that Oracle had donated all their 100 AFD components to the public domain via the Eclipse project (there are links to this from the MyFaces project as well). So, they are also available for Eclipse (not just JDeveloper) developers.

I have not validated this claim as I don’t profess to be a programmer.

But the interesting thing I want to propose is that if you do a Google search using “what is ADF Java” (without the quotes) you get Oracle and ESRI appearing in the first page.

I didn’t mean this to happen but it was an interesting but unexpected comparison.

Oracle have worked hard to be standards compliant (cf my blog on OGC and SQL/MM) as have ESRI. Oracle’s implementation of spatial has the appropriate standards certificates yet ESRI still announces an ESRI Spatial Type for Oracle. Seems to me to devalue the worth of standards in everyone’s eyes (reminds me of the anti-establishment Intergraph poster I have seen on the walls of too many geospatial professionals in Oz: “The nice thing about standards is, if you don’t like them, create your own” – sums ESRI up perfectly).

But it also highlights a difference in the companies that is worth commenting on: Oracle has given their ADF components to the public domain; ESRI charges for them.

So, open source community: How about a SourceForge project to design and develop open source ADF components for geospatial use….