Best UI tools/widgets for a rich web experience?
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Posted By:   Steve_S
Posted On:   Tuesday, October 31, 2006 02:57 PM

I have a heavyweight Java application which acts as the client portion of a client/server architecture. It's already been decided based on requirements that the UI be deployed within a web browser. While AJAX is sure to be employed to provide a more interative experience there is still going to be some heavier lifting, such as socket connections to receive binary data streams, listen to streaming audio, render complex 2D graphs, etc. which will need to be handled by applets. Which brings me to my question... It is likely that there will be multiple smaller "rich apps" running in a portal, i.e. they will be portlets. To try to keep a uniform look & feel across them all, would it be wise to attempt to render all controls   More>>

I have a heavyweight Java application which acts as the client portion of a client/server architecture. It's already been decided based on requirements that the UI be deployed within a web browser. While AJAX is sure to be employed to provide a
more interative experience there is still going to be some heavier lifting, such as socket connections to receive binary data streams, listen to streaming audio, render complex 2D graphs, etc. which will need to be handled by applets. Which brings me to my question...


It is likely that there will be multiple smaller "rich apps" running in a portal, i.e. they will be portlets. To try to keep a uniform look & feel across them all, would it be wise to attempt to render all controls using HTML/JavaScript/CSS and leave the applets strictly to the 2D graphics rendering, socket streams, etc.(obviously requiring the use of bidirectional commns between applet and JavaScript) Or, would it be wise to move the UI controls into the applets themselves for those portions of the portal which already require the use of an applet for heavier lifting?


The reason I ask is that there are "rich" elements which will be required in the UI like sliders for volume controls, panning, etc., as well as spinners for tuning. I've come across a few JavaScript/CSS solutions that look pretty good and we could probably use successfully but I want to try to stay away from as much "hand rolling" of lower level JavaScript/CSS as possible.


Are there any open source or commercial rich UI toolkits out there which incorporate easily into JSPs or can be easily used with a JSF implementation? Or... is going to route of rendering the controls outside of the applet(where applets are used) not the best choice?


Once again, the key thing here is that we will need some controls like sliders and spinners which are not normally associated with HTML.


Thanks.

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