Sun Gives JavaServer Faces Open Source Treatment

Sun Microsystems is giving more of its code
to the open source community under its new licensing scheme, this
time with its JavaServer Faces (JSF) reference implementation.

The source code for Sun’s JSF implementation (Version 1.2) was made available
under the company’s Common Development and Distribution License
(CDDL) Wednesday.

Sun’s JSF reference implementation 1.1 was opened under its Java Research License (JRL) and Java Distribution License (JDL) in June 2004.

The JSF project is hosted at Sun’s developer community site,, and includes the source for the 1.0 and 1.1 versions of
the Sun implementation. The source code for a “mostly stable”
build of JSF 1.2, according to project officials, is located at’s GlassFish Project site.

The JSF 1.2 specification is still in the the final stages of
becoming a Java standard. A proposed final draft for Java
Specification Request 252 (JSR-252) was submitted Thursday.

Roger Kitain, JSF 1.2 co-specification lead, said the release of
the JSF implementation fits well with the rest of its open source
offerings. Earlier this year, Sun released the source code for
its OpenSolaris (operating system) and
GlassFish (application server) projects under the CDDL.

JSF defines a standard set of JavaServerPages (JSP) tags and APIs
With these reusable components from JSF in place, the developer
has one less component to create in their application. JSF also
simplifies connecting the GUI components to application data and
bridging client-side events to server-side handlers.

By itself, the JSF specification approved by the Java Community
Process (JCP) doesn’t help developers. What they need is an
implementation of the technology.

There are a number of JSF implementations and several open source
versions, like Apache myFaces and smile. JSF also has
competition in the form of Apache Struts, a popular top-level
project at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), though the two
are interoperable.

What makes Sun’s implementation stand above the others is its
support for the latest features to be found in JSF 1.2, Kitain said.

“Other implementations don’t have some of these 1.2 features,” he
said. “One of the advantages of Sun’s reference implementation is
that its development timeline has always been close to the
specification itself.”

Sun has spent a busy year getting its code open sourced under its
somewhat controversial CDDL license:

  • Last month the company started the Open Web
    Single Sign-On project
    around source code from its Java System
    Access Manager identity management software.
  • The Open Enterprise Server Bus (Open ESB)
    was announced
    in June using source code from Sun’s Java System
  • The GlassFish project was announced at the same time
    as Open ESB, using source code from the Java System Application
    Server Platform Edition 9.0.
  • The release of OpenSolaris source code in June started the
    recent release torrent, based on the Solaris 10 operating system.
    The OpenSolaris Initiative was first
    announced in January.

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