Sun harnesses the power of Java for the enterprise
Java Studio Creator empowers developers to design dazzling apps
For apps that require multiple, linked JSPs, JSC presents a view in which individual pages are graphically connected and flowed as needed. Remarkably, all this capability is simple to use. Sun has done an excellent job of making JSC intuitive and productive. Despite this simplicity, Sun provides good, easy-to-follow tutorials on its Web site.
The generated code includes everything needed at deployment: Java, JSPs, HTML, XML, and SQL. JSC builds and tests the files and then bundles the files into an EAR (Enterprise Application Archive) or WAR (Web Application Archive) file. Versions 1.3 and 1.4 of J2EE are supported, and the apps will run without change on most J2EE-certified servers. Developers can modify the generated code. An upcoming release, the preview version of which will be released at the JavaOne Conference this summer, adds re-factoring support, integration with version control systems, and a style sheet editor.
JSC includes a copy of NetBeans for all this code-level work. Code changes made to JSPs are immediately reflected in the drag-and-drop interface and vice versa. The default installation of JSC includes a copy of Sun's Java System Application Server Platform Edition 8 and the PointBase embedded database to simplify testing of the generated code.
Although the elegance of Sun's design impressed me, I noticed a few shortcomings. JSC accesses databases through JDBC rowsets only. If you use Hibernate, JSC can't see the data. Additionally, JSC does not support Struts; you use JSP and JSF or nothing. Sun encourages new projects to use JSF instead of Struts, and I suspect much of Struts will eventually migrate to JSF. Nonetheless, Struts support would be useful in the interim.
In addition, the build-deploy cycle on JSC is occasionally slow, cutting the frequency with which I would test prototypes. Finally, the product screams to be a plug-in to Eclipse and NetBeans. At only $99 per year, per developer, however, it's hard to complain about any of these drawbacks. JSC is a terrific value: It's easy to buy and use.
JSC goes head-to-head with NitroX for JSP from M7, a strong, more expensive competitor that has many similar, intuitive features. JSC also competes with the JSF capabilities in IBM's Rational Developer products. IBM's offerings, however, are oriented more toward pure development: They invite code twiddling, which JSC wisely discourages.
If you can live without Struts, and if most of your data is accessible via JDBC, then you'll find that Java Studio Creator delivers a remarkably productive and intuitive tool at a terrific price.