myfaces-users mailing list archives

Site index · List index
Message view « Date » · « Thread »
Top « Date » · « Thread »
From Stan Carney <>
Subject Re: JSF and AJAX without custom components?
Date Tue, 05 Jun 2007 15:30:01 GMT
Thanks for your response Ernst!

Yeah, I have looked around at pretty much every JSF AJAX framework out 
there and it isn't that I'm not impressed. There are definitely some 
smart people working to create generic components to be consumed by the 
masses. In our current position though I don't think these frameworks 
make a lot of sense for us to use. We have an extremely strong UI 
developer and we just want to be able to expose his talents, and in our 
current circumstance having to use pre-built AJAX components or having 
to create our own would severely hamper his abilities.

So anyway I have solved my problem via the following process. It allows 
us to interact with JSF, i.e. forms, via AJAX without having to write 
components. It has some significant short comings if it was going to be 
used for general consumption by the JSF community (i.e. lacking 
configuration, you can shoot your foot off easily, etc...) but works for 
us. So keeping with good list etiquette I'm posting my solution below 
for those, if any, that get a hit on my initial question.

I have created a PhaseListener that runs after the RESTORE_VIEW phase 
and checks for the presence of a known parameter. Every parameter on 
every request is checked which I'm not a fan of but from what I have 
seen most other JSF/AJAX solutions do the same and it appears to run 
super fast. If a 'known' parameter exists the PhaseListener instantiates 
the class associated with the parameter for processing. In my case all 
of these 'processor' classes implement a simple interface with one 
method, process(), that takes a CaseInsensitiveMap as an argument. This 
map contains the map returned value from the getParameterMap() method on 

HttpServletRequest req = (HttpServletRequest) 
CaseInsensitiveMap map = new CaseInsensitiveMap();

The process() method then does what it needs to do. Typically finding 
components by their ids in the restored view, that are either known by 
the class or sent as parameters, and updating their values accordingly. 
Then the class composes an XML document that our client side JavaScript 
(taconite and/or JQuery) understands and returns this XML string. The 
PhaseListener then determines if the returned string contains a 
javax.faces.ViewState placeholder we came up with and substitutes the 
placeholder with the new ViewState value generated below. If there is no 
placeholder, i.e. not interacting with a JSF form, we can omit the 
updating of the ViewState value. In that case though we typically do 
straight HTTP and bypass JSF completely.

    try {
            UIViewRoot viewRoot = context.getViewRoot();

            StateManager stateMgr = 

            SerializedView serializedView = 

            Object[] savedState = new Object[3];
            Object treeStruct = serializedView.getStructure();
            if (treeStruct != null) {
                if (treeStruct instanceof String) {
                    savedState[0] = treeStruct;
            savedState[2] = viewRoot.getViewId();
            String viewState = StateUtils.construct(savedState, 

            return viewState;
        } catch (Exception e) {
            throw new RuntimeException(e);

The PhaseListener writes out the string to the response stream and marks 
the response as complete. The client JavaScript interprets the XML and 
updates the DOM. The DOM should now match the DOM stored on the server.

It works well for us and results in the creation of only one class, 
after the initial PhaseListener creation, per Ajaxable event. The above 
code does tinker with the internal workings of MyFaces which may/will 
cause us issues on an upgrade. I haven't tested it for thread-safety yet 
but everything I have seen with other frameworks leads me to believe all 
is well.


Ernst Fastl wrote:
> Hi,
> I can understand you don't like to write your own component for
> soving this problem (although seeing the stuff you posted I guess
> you are skilled enough for that).
> Anyway, have you tried the
> existing solutions like PPRPanelGroup from the tomahawk sandbox
> or Ajax4JSF?
> regards
> Ernst

View raw message