Trying to find information about Wicket? I’ve set up a new custom Wicket search engine courtesy of Google. Feel free to give it a twirl, and please ask me if you’d like any sites adding to it.
- How many tools (i.e. IDE plugins) are available for your web framework?
- How many jobs are available for your framework on Dice.com? What about Indeed.com?
- How many messages where [sic] posted to your user mailing list (or forum) in March 2007?
- How many books are available for your framework?
What on earth does he intend to do with them, I wonder? All of these numbers superficially look like they should be “more is better”. On second glance, they’re anything but:
- If you have lots of IDE tooling available, it probably means the configuration for the framework is overly complex and unmanageable without it.
- The framework with the largest number of jobs available is probably Struts 1. Enough said.
- People only post to user lists when they are stuck. If the framework is hard to use, there will be lots of e-mails. If it has a steep learning curve, and/or the documentation is poor, this will be particularly so. On the other hand, an active list might point to a large active user base. Who knows which is which from a raw figure? It might be better to find the number of posters, not the number of messages.
- If your framework is fairly stable, and someone has written a fabulous tome on it that is universally acknowledged as “the bible”, few people would bother writing another book for it. Niche books usually only get written if there is no book currently in that space or if the existing books are rubbish and the author(s) think they can do better. How many books are written is therefore a function of the number written on the subject before a good one arrives, and how stable your framework is. The first is a small random number, probably. The second number is “more is worse”, assuming you don’t like frameworks that change under you all the time.
So, I guess I’m curious what extrapolations Matt intends to make from these figures. ;-)
- Support for variable-height nodes (this seems to be the real killer).
- Plus/minus icons to expand/collapse nodes.
- Support for scaling the tree with font size, preferably including the padding around the lines and things.
- Standard tree lines to link nodes together.
- Fairly clean HTML, although I’m willing to sacrifice this for something that actually works.
Sounds impossible? Well, it’s not: Have a look at what I’ve come up with so far (doesn’t work in Internet Explorer quite yet).
View source to see how it works. Essentially, I nest everything deeply, and use the borders of the nodes to draw the tree lines. I then shift the plus/minus icons and the actual nodes with negative margins so everything lines up. This has the side effect of only requiring two images (one for the plus icon, and one for the minus).
Unfortunately, it currently uses nested CSS child selectors, which of course Internet Explorer doesn’t support (even IE7 doesn’t do this right for multiple concatenated selectors). I’ll try to make this work with IE shortly, but in the meantime, use Firefox. If I can make it fly in IE6/7 then needless to say, I’ll package this up into a Wicket component at a later date (possibly even in time for wicket-extensions 1.3.0 final).
If anyone has seen a better way of doing this, please shout.
Most programmers like writing things from scratch, but throwing it all away and starting again often isn’t feasible, especially with web applications. I’ve recently been migrating a JSP/servlet based app to Wicket and I suspect there are many people who are going down this path.
Eelco took my original ten minute hack and ran with it, and has produced something that covers a lot more edge cases. It handles anonymous inner classes, externalizables, things with custom writeObject() functions and a bunch of other stuff. It also plays nicely with SecurityManagers. You can find the code in Wicket 1.3′s SerializableChecker.java. It has a couple of custom Wicket bits, but would be completely trivial to strip those out if you wanted to use this somewhere else. At about 700 lines, it’s a bit more complicated than we both expected it to be, but it’s pretty robust. Good work Eelco! ;-)