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From "Ji Kim (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] Created: (TOMAHAWK-1250) Adobe Flex components as MyFaces JSF components
Date Tue, 06 May 2008 21:04:55 GMT
Adobe Flex components as MyFaces JSF components

                 Key: TOMAHAWK-1250
             Project: MyFaces Tomahawk
          Issue Type: New Feature
         Environment: Have tested using os [windows xp], browsers [firefox 2.0, opera 9.25,
ie 6.0], and app server [tomcat 5.5.23].
            Reporter: Ji Kim

I wished to contribute set of components to give users capability in creating Adobe Flex components
as MyFaces JSF components. So users would create the components as normal JSF components and
the contribution will create the necessary SWF files and etcetera and link the values of the
components back to the managed beans using JSON+Javascript and etcetera.

The components require Adobe Flex SDK to be extracted to C:\Program Files\flexSDK or /usr/local/bin/flexSDK.
Optionally users can modify the mxmlConstants.xml or can pass the directory as a JVM parameter

Requires ANT during compile time, so have modified the sandbox's POM with the dependency.
Have tested using FireFox 2.0, Opera 9.25, and IE 6.0 browsers with TomCat 5.5. Also have
used Sun's JDK for Adobe Flex SDK [JAVA_HOME].

The basic design is as follows [will implement it better later] :
(1)	All Flex components must be nested within <s:mxmlApplication /> tag as it is the
top component and this tag must be outside the <h:form /> component [due to IE's  
          use of objects].
(2)	There exists replaceMapping XMLs which will tell how to pick the fields from the components
[i.e. by attributes of the UIComponent or by method call for that object].
(3)	There exists templates [users can modify it if they wish to have some default capability
to all similar component] which will be used per component to create preMxml 
          files. In a nutshell, it is nothing but a simple file that contains tokens which
will be replaced by component values using the replaceMapping XML and ANT's Replace 
(4)	Necessary source files will be created to their respective directory [i.e. ActionScript
file[s] that is/are needed by the system and XML file[s] that is/are needed by the 
          ActionScript files[s] and should be defined within mxmlConstants.xml]
(5)	After all the components' preMxml within <s:mxmlApplication /> have been created,
MXML file and SWF file will be created using ANT by the MXMLApplication class. 
          <s:mxmlScript /> will give capability in writing ActionScript	contents as
the body content of the Tag by extending UIComponentBodyTagBase. Similar flexibility is given
          other	Tags by extending MXMLUIComponentBodyTagBase; however it should be used sparingly
and should be used mainly for components that extend 
          MXMLUISimpleBase component. One additional thing to note is that mxmlPackageName
attribute for <s:mxmlApplication /> tag will be used to name the mxml file and 
          the swf file.
(6)	Also <s:mxmlApplication /> will create JSON objects which will be rendered onto
the page for initial values of the Flex components.  The reason for this is because 
          <s:mxmlApplication /> has various modes :
		debugMode	=>  meaning preMxml, Mxml, and SWF files would be created in each run as well
as JSON objects
		simplySWF	 =>  meaning Mxml which has been modified by the user exists, so create only
SWF files and JSON objects [users can use this to modify the mxml 
                                                   file and create a swf file]
		productionEnv	=> meaning SWF file already exists, so nothing to do here but create JSON
objects [this is the default value to ensure that users do not run the 
                                                  components in either of the two other modes
in an environment that is higher than dev]. One thing to note is that all directories of 
                                                  WebContent/swf/* should be copied to their
corresponding directory within the Workspace during the move to higher env [since the 
                                                  system uses servContext.getRealPath(new
String()) as the root directory of preMxml, Mxml, and swf directory and TomCat for example
flushes it  
                                                  out to their cache directory under metadata].
	 For large components such as DataGrid, am planning to write it as a service in retrieving
and setting the values
(7)   Uses dojo during the onLoad time to connect all the Form's onsubmit event with a pageUnload
	Also each Flex/Flash app will communicate back to the page when it has finished setting up
on its side [such as	setting callBack methods and etcetera], JSON will be 
        passed to the apps to set the initial values with the check interval set to 500 milliseconds.
So the values will be decoded [for example htmlText allows XML tags and 
	etcetera, so on the Java side there will be encoding and decoding on the Flex/Flash side]
and set to the component's values.
(8)   During the form's onsubmit action, pageUnload will return false and make a call to Flex/Flash
app to return the component's values to the page. When returned, nodes 
        will be appended to the form that was in the process of	submission and will submit
the page 
	On the Flex/Flash side, there will be an ActionScript which will use E4X [love it] to look
up within an XML file the property/attributes that the component must return as 
        JSON objects to the page, so that the page can create the elements with their attributes
as child nodes of the form element.

Will write this better later and will plan on making the code much cleaner and better during
free time, but wanted to see if this is something that could be considered as a contribution
within the group. Thanks!!!

Oh yes, one note regarding preMxml files. In order to keep everything simple and debugging
easy, a simple method was chosen to create the preMxml files for each component. Namely the
file with mxmlPackageName_[Major Num][Minor Num].pre_mxml will be created per component within
directory named WebContent/preMxml/[mxmlPackageName]/. So for instance, MxmlApplication will
have Major Num and Minor Num set to 0 and the first child of MxmlApplication will have [1,0]
set with it's sibling set to [1,1] and etcetera. Due to how it's written, there maybe an issue
such that when depth equals a certain value and the components within that depth has 3 digits.

For example,
	001121	this can mean 
		(1) major level 1 with minor level 121 {meaning there exists at least 120 components within
the swf}
		(2) major level 2 with minor level 1 {meaning this is a child of [1,1] and the second sibling
with depth two}
	Since issues with this kind of scenario will occur when (1) doesn't exist [meaning sibling
120 exists and 121 is placeholder] and (2) exists [meaning [2,1] exists], this will 
        be very rare. Also if someone has over 100+ components within a single swf file, I
think it should be reconsidered and rewritten.

I will possibly considering writing more regarding it later during my free time. Thanks!!!

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