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ICEfaces Authors: Ted Goddard, Steve Maryka, Pat Romanski, Ken Fyten, Shay Shmeltzer

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RIA & Ajax: Article

ICEfaces 1.7 Is Here! - Something for Everyone

The culmination of over 45 enhancements, 110 improvements, and 300 bug fixes

ICEfaces Dev Blog

ICEfaces 1.7 is here! A lot of sweat and a few tears went into it, and it took a little longer to arrive than many of us would have liked, but I think you'll be very pleased with how it turned out. The culmination of over 45 enhancements, 110 improvements, and 300 bug fixes, there's no question that it's a major leap forward in the evolution of ICEfaces. With significant enhancements and improvements in every direction you look, there is truly something here for everyone.

Perhaps the most visible changes are the 7 entirely new components (e.g. context menu, rich text editor, media player, Google map, split-pane, etc.), with an additional 6 subcomponents for Google Maps alone. Additionally, there have been a whopping 47 component enhancements made as well, including user-resizable table columns, multi-column / multi-row table headers, row-span grouping of table data, auto-positioning for popup panels - the list goes on and on. An entirely new theme has been added too, called "Rime", which provides a fresh new face for the  ICEfaces Component Suite.  I'm pleased to report that in this release we've been able to address most of the highest-ranked new component features as voted for by the ICEfaces community.

To better demonstrate all the new component features the Component Showcase sample applications have been completely redeveloped. The new Component Showcase features improved code-samples, more consistent styling and layout, and improved component demos for many components. It also provides additional links to component documentation and resources, tutorials, etc., providing an excellent starting point for anyone looking to learn more about the components. 

Less visible, but equally important to everyone leveraging ICEfaces' asynchronous update features (Ajax-push) in wide-scale deployments is the addition of out-of-the-box support for 5 leading Asynchronous Request Processing (ARP) implementations, such as Glassfish "Grizzly" and Tomcat 6 / JBoss 4.2 NIO. By leveraging these ARP implementations ICEfaces applications can  immediately benefit from reduced server-side resource consumption for asynchronous applications, resulting in increased scalability of asynchronous apps. on the same hardware and software. Special thanks to Jean-Francois Arcand at Sun for all his help with the Glassfish Grizzly integration.

In addition, we've re-engineered the JavaScript bridge to handle asynchronous connection management between multiple viewports using a robust connection sharing implementation that eliminates issues related to using multiple async. views between browsers and to the same host due to the HTTP 2-connection limit. The Asynchronous HTTP Server (AHS) has also been added into the core ICEfaces bundle for this release, along with a new servlet deployment mode that makes it easier to configure and use.

The changes above were a key enabler for ICEfaces much improved support for JSR-168 portlets, including full support for multiple ICEfaces portlets on a the same page, async. or synchronous, from a single .war file or several. ICEfaces 1.7 has been verified with 5 leading Java portal containers, including Liferay Portal, BEA WebLogic Portal, and JBoss Portal. Some really outstanding work has been done to bring robust portlet support to the ICEfaces community. I'd like to give a shout-out of thanks to our friends at Liferay in particular, who have been fantastic supporters of ICEfaces and continue to work with us to bring the best portlet development experience possible to the combined ICEfaces and Liferay communities.

New features are nice but without excellent documentation and examples they can be difficult to use effectively. On this front we've put a concerted effort in to review and upgrade the ICEfaces documentation in this release, beyond simply refreshing references, etc. for 1.7.  The net result is we've added of 8 entirely new sections and 2 new appendices. We've really tried to fill in some gaps in the and react to community suggestions for improvements. I'd strongly recommend to everyone to check out the new docs, it will save you time in the long run and allow to get the most out of what ICEfaces has to offer.

There really is far too much that's new and improved in 1.7 for me to cover here, updates to Tool integrations, new Seam sample applications, etc., etc..  Check out the Release Notes for the complete picture.

Finally, I'd need to highlight how greatly 1.7 has benefited from all the community involvement along the way. A special thank-you to everyone who's been working with the ICEfaces 1.7 early-access releases and reporting issues, offering suggestions, and making contributions. It's been a very challenging, yet satisfying release, and that's best kind, really. 

More Stories By Ken Fyten

Ken Fyten is VP Technology for ICEfaces. He blogs, along with the rest of the ICEfaces dev team, at http://blog.icefaces.org/.

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