Category Archives: BootsFaces

How to Use BootsFaces and PrimeFaces in the Same Project

I’ve always promoted BootsFaces as a companion framework for PrimeFaces, but many developers report it’s difficult, if not impossible, to combine these two frameworks. Things are particularly nasty if you’ve already got a (possibly huge) PrimeFaces application. Some developers report that even adding a single BootsFaces component will distort your application’s layout. So I’ve decided to examine the problem more closely and to do something about it. This article sketches how to integrate BootsFaces components into a PrimeFaces application. I’ve also created a project at GitHub demonstrating the idea. Note that this article doesn’t show how to use a PrimeFaces component in a BootsFaces application. Of course, that’s almost the same problem, but the source codes below only consider the first use case.
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What’s New in BootsFaces 1.0?

BootsFaces 1.0 has been released. Actually, we’ve already published the first bugfix release, BootsFaces 1.0.1. I was a bit shy to proudly announce the 1.0.0 version because we had so many obstacles to overcome. Apart from the usual obstacles like exhausting projects at work (and they were exhausting this time!), there were also the earthquakes in Italy, which kept at least one of our team members busy, although they didn’t suffer any physical harm.

Be that as it may, BootsFaces 1.0 (and 1.0.1 in particular) is a great step to maturity. It’s the first version we officially call “production-ready”. Truth to tell, we were always convinced you can safely use BootsFaces in production. But most versions we’ve published in the past focused on features. This time we tried to focus on stability instead of new features when we prepared the 1.0 version. I counted 26 bugfixes that were important enough to open a bug ticket. Plus, almost twenty minor enhancements and three new components. However, we also added one or two major improvements, such as adding support for both horizontal and inline forms.

Download coordinates

Before starting the long list of details, let me provide you with the download coordinates:

Add these lines to your project’s pom.xml:


Add this line to your project’s .gradle build file:

compile 'net.bootsfaces:bootsfaces:1.0.1'

The BootsFaces project comes with both a Gradle build file and a Maven build file. The Maven pom.xml is the easy way to get started and should suffice for most purposes. Only if you want to tweak and optimize BootsFaces, you need the Gradle build. In particular, the Maven build doesn’t generate the CSS and JS files itself, but relies on the output of the Gradle build. By the way, that’s the reason why we keep the generated file in GitHub.

In any case, the URL of the repository is

Update Dec 27, 2016: Bugs

During the last couple of days, we’ve found and fixed a couple of bugs. If you happen to run into a bug, check our bug tracker if we’ve already solved the bug, and check out the sneak preview version of BootsFaces 1.1.0-SNAPSHOT. Strictly speaking, this version is not intended to use productively. Use at own risk. Of course, BootsFaces is published under an Apache V2 license, so every version of BootsFaces is published on an “as-is” basis, without any warranties. The difference between the snapshot and the final version is that we’ve tested the final version more intensively.

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How to Wrap BootsFaces (or JSF in General) as a Native Desktop Application

When I showed the draft of my last post (the “Java on the Desktop” survey article), my friends surprised me by saying that nowadays desktop applications are sort of exotic. Everybody’s doing mobile or at least web applications. But the good old desktop has fallen into oblivion. That’s pretty strange, given that most of us do most of their daily work at desktop PCs or decent-sized laptops.
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Java on the Desktop

For some reason, the vast majority of developers has accepted the browser as the operation system for their applications. While there are some good reasons for this, I never really bought into it. HTML5 has eliminated most of the pain point of web applications, but I still insist that most customers don’t really want to use a web application. We’ve taught them to accept to open the browser to do their daily work, but there are still quite a few disadvantages to this approach. The “old stagers” among you know how many obstacles we had to overcome before the browser became a really useful operation system for writing applications. Just for the fun of it, let’s start this article summarizing some of them:

  • How to deal with the “back” and “forward” buttons in a web application?
  • How to print a document from a web application? Most developers export documents to be printed as PDF files, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to print documents without this detour?
  • How to import an Excel file into your application?
  • More generally speaking, web applications run in a sandbox preventing access to low-level resources such as your computer’s file system.

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How to Use Advanced Search Expressions with Mojarra, MyFaces or OmniFaces

I consider the advanced search expressions of PrimeFaces and BootsFaces tremendously useful. In particular, @next and @previous make it a lot easier to move input fields around on the screen or from one screen to another during the prototype phase of your project. The only problem with the search expressions is that they only work with PrimeFaces and BootsFaces components. If you also use the base components like <h:inputText />, you back to using ids and the four search expressions defined by the JSF standard (@form, @this, @all and @none).

JSF 2.3 may change that. It’s not settled yet, but there an ongoing discussion to include a similar search expression framework in JSF 2.3.

But what about now?

That’s a bright look-out. Problem is, most of us live don’t live in the future. Quite the contrary, from a technical point of view, most of us developer live in the past. I know many projects currently developed with JavaEE 6, a technology presented seven years ago. In other words: even if Oracle is going to accept our proposal in JSF 2.3, that doesn’t help many developers before 2020. So the challenge is to find a way to add the search expressions to JSF 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2.

How to do it

Cutting a long story short: I’ve found such a solution. It’s not exactly elegant, but it does the trick. The nice thing about my solution is that you don’t need to add the BootsFaces library to your project just to use the search expressions. You only need a single package of BootsFaces. Most likely I’m going to publish this package on Maven Central after running some more tests.

Actually, it’s fairly simple to use the search expressions in non-BootsFaces components. Every attribute of a JSF component supports EL expressions. This includes the attributes for, render and execute. So I’ve defined a JSF bean allowing you to resolve the advanced search expressions:

<h:message for=
 "#{searchExpressionResolverBean.resolve(component, '@previous')}" />

Of course, that’s a far cry from what we really want:

<h:message for="@previous" />

Luckily, there’s a second option we can use to simplify things. JSF allows us to register a “facelets decorator”. This class is called when the XHTML file is loaded and parsed. The facelet decorator can modify each facelet and replace it with another facelets. That’s how the HTML5 friendly markup of JSF 2.2 has been implemented. The JSF 2.2 recognizes an HTML input tag and replaces it with a JSF h:inputText if there’s an JSF attribute. We can use the same trick to replace the string "@previous" by "#{searchExpressionResolverBean.resolve(component, '@previous')}"". In other words, our decorator translates the search expressions to something core JSF can understand at load time.

How to activate the search expressions

Unless you’re already using BootsFaces, copy the folder to your project. This folders contains the entire search expression resolver library, and it also contains the decorator in a subfolder.

If you want to benefit from the simplified syntax of the decorator, you have to activate it by adding a few lines to your project’s web.xml. If you don’t use BootsFaces, that’s:


If you use BootsFaces, chances are you also want to benefit from the full power of the relaxed HTML5-like coding style of BootsFaces. If so, you have to register a different, more powerful decorator:


Limits of the decorator

I encountered a surprising limitation of the decorator when I tried to use it with f:ajax. Both the render and the execute attribute are translated by the decorator, but they are ignored – at least by Mojarra (I didn’t try MyFaces yet). That’s fairly annoying because it forces you to use my first, verbose proposal. You can abbreviate the long name of the JSF bean SearchExpressionResolverBean by deriving a bean with a shorter name, but there’s no way to reach the simple syntax we really want.

Still, being able to use advanced search expressions with frameworks like Mojarra, MyFaces, RichFaces, or ButterFaces that haven’t been designed to be extended that way is nice.

Benefits for users of BootsFaces and PrimeFaces

Every once in a while, even users of such huge libraries like PrimeFaces (157 components) and BootsFaces (68 components) need a component that’s not part of the library. A popular way to build components is to build them from scratch using the base libraries. Another popular way is to add a library like OmniFaces, that’s not aware of the search expressions, either. But it does contain components like <o:commandScript /> that may benefit from the search expression.

By the way, if you prefer PrimeFaces over BootsFaces, you can also use their search expression framework. I didn’t prepare code to use it, but it’s fairly simple. The source code is at The key class is the SearchExpressionFacade. There’s no facelets decorator, but I’m sure you’ll be able to migrate the BootsFaces facelets decorator to PrimeFaces within a few hours.

Benefits for the rest of the JSF world

Well, that’s fairly obvious: you couldn’t use the advanced search expression before. Now you can. More likely than not, you don’t see the use case use. But that shouldn’t stop you. Just give @next, @previous, @parent, @after, and @styleClass(.) a try. Before you know, you’ll be addicted. Using fixed ids may be the most efficient way with respect to CPU usage, but at the same time, it’s very inflexible and limited if your JSF views are changed frequently. The advanced search expressions of PrimeFaces and BootsFaces make moving fields from one panel to another or from one view to another a breeze.

Wrapping it up

JSF is very flexible. So it’s possible to add search expressions to JSF using a couple of tricks. However, the f:ajax facet of JSF seems to ignore the changes of the facelet decorators, so the result isn’t as nice as it’s intended to be. But still, it’s nice to able to use the advanced search expressions in JSF 2.2 or below.

BootsFaces 0.8.6 has been Released

Fork me on GitHubThis weekend, we’ve published a new version of BootsFaces. Basically, BootsFaces 0.8.6 is not a big deal. It fixes half a dozen bugs. The most annoying bug that has been fixed was compatibility with Internet Explorer.

The other important change is a breaking change correcting another breaking change introduced with BootsFaces 0.8.5. Starting with BootsFaces 0.8.6, the process attribute of AJAX request now is 100% compatible with its PrimeFaces counterpart. We didn’t feel comfortable with introducing a second breaking change within merely two weeks, but at the end of the day compatibility with PrimeFaces was more important. We want you to be able to use PrimeFaces along with BootsFaces, and that means we should try to align our APIs as much as possible.

Another error we’ve fixed was basically caused by our documentation. Until 0.8.1, you could use <b:image /> with both the src attribute and the name attribute. BootsFaces 0.8.5 added the standard JSF resource library, which changed the meaning of name from “ignored” to “points to a file within the resources folder”. This, in turn, broke the application of at least one developer. Since BootsFaces 0.8.6, the src attribute has priority. Plus, we’ve corrected the documentation. Now it doesn’t claim the name attribute was necessary.

There are a few more bugfixes, as you can see in our release notes. If you’ve already adopted BootsFaces 0.8.5, we recommend updating to 0.8.6. If you haven’t, we recommend updating to 0.8.6, too, because the new version contains a lot of improvements and bug fixes. In any case, we don’t expect any migration effort, with the possible exception of the process attribute.

Like always, we’d like to thank everybody who’s reported a bug or a feature request on our bug tracker or on You’ve contributed to the success of BootsFaces, making it an even bigger success story than it already is!

Having said that, there’s only one word left to say:


What’s New in BootsFaces 0.8.5?

Fork me on GitHubWhat started as a small bugfix release, ended as a full-blown feature release. If the sheer number of commits is an indicator, the new release is awesome: the previous release counted 599 commits. In the meantime, 240 commits went into the 0.8.5 version, give or take a few. Needless to say, this amounts to a lot of added functionality: 11 new components, countless improvements and – of course – bugfixes. Plus, we’ve migrated the relaxed HTML-like markup style from AngularFaces to BootsFaces.

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What’s New in BootsFaces 0.8.1?

The open source branch of BootsFaces is still young. Only 14 months went by since the first release on Halloween 2014. But it’s already an impressive success story. In November, we’ve seen more than 1.000 downloads from Maven Central and Bintray. Ed Burns mentioned BootsFaces in one of his talks at JavaOne. JSFCentral and have asked us to write articles about BootsFaces. Obviously, BootsFaces has stirred a lot of attention, and many projects use it for their daily work.

Since the Halloween 2014 release, we’ve published five releases. That’s roughly a release every three months. The latest release took quite bit longer to finish. But it’s loaded with a host of new features, so it has surely been worth the wait. Personally, I call it the AJAX release, because that’s my big ticket. But there’s more in store four you. Other big tickets are the advanced search expressions inspired by PrimeFaces and the theme support. Plus, BootsFaces 0.8.1 has six new components. Seven, if you count the experimental <b:dataTable />. But that not a finished component yet. However, I felt it already is useful enough to include it with BootsFaces, even if it still requires polishing and “sugaring”.

But let’s talk about first things first.

Download coordinates

BootsFaces is available in two different flavors. There’s the regular version at Maven Central, and there’s a highly-optimized version at GitHub. The optimized version is 50 KB smaller, requires Java 7 or higher and should be a bit faster. The version hosted a Maven Central is targeted at a broader audience. It only requires Java 6. Alternatively, you can check out the repository from GitHub and build BootsFaces from source.

Add these lines to your project’s pom.xml:


Add this line to your project’s .gradle build file:

runtime 'net.bootsfaces:bootsfaces:0.8.1'

The BootsFaces project comes with both a Gradle build file and a Maven build file. The Maven pom.xml is the easy way to get started and should suffice for most purposes. Only if you want to tweak and optimize BootsFaces, you need the Gradle build. In particular, the Maven build doesn’t generate the CSS and JS files itself, but relies on the output of the Gradle build. By the way, that’s the reason why we keep the generated file in GitHub.

In any case, the URL of the repository is

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A Comprehensive Guide to JSF AJAX

These days I analyzed the AJAX implementation of Mojarra. My goal was to learn enough about it to implement an improved version of the original AJAX implementation in our BootsFaces libraries. Along the way I learned that I had chosen quite a chunk to swallow. The JSF AJAX specification has many, many options, most of which I wasn’t even aware of. Time to write an exhaustive guide. Apart from the JSF specification we’ll also have a look at it’s PrimeFaces counterpart and – of course – what BootsFaces 0.8.0 will bring to you.

Source code of the examples

You can find the source code of the examples on GitHub. There’s a second project on GitHub covering the BootsFaces AJAX examples.
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Single-Page Applications With BootsFaces

Singe-page applications have become tremendously popular in the last couple of years. They are fast, they are responsive and they can save network bandwidth. The first SPAs that caught the attention of the community were based on JavaScript. So nowadays everybody seems to believe you can’t write an SPA with JSF.

But you can. It’s not even difficult. And it pays: the application becomes much more responsive. This article shows two approaches how to do it with BootsFaces. I’m sure you can do the same with other JSF frameworks like PrimeFaces, too, but I didn’t test it yet.

Currently, there are at least two approaches. You can exploit BootsFaces AJAX to do your navigation, or you can add AngularJS to the equation. The latter approach requires you to learn both Angular and JSF, but it may be useful because it allows you to use client-side AngularJS components.
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An Alternative API to JSF AJAX

As BootsFaces gains traction, people start to ask for AJAX capabilities. We’ve implemented some rudimentary AJAX support, but obviously that’s not enough. Developers need the full power of JSF 2.2 AJAX.

Funny thing is they demand it precisely the way JSF 2.0 defines it. It was a really clever approach when it was introduced. But I think in 2015 we can do better. I was always puzzled by the slightly counter-intuitive approach of JSF AJAX. Why do we have to use a facet to activate AJAX? Why do we need so many ids? And what does the attribute name execute mean, for that matter? For execute doesn’t execute anything. Instead, it defines which data to send.

The tradional JSF approach to AJAX

   <h:inputText id="name" value="#{}">
   <h:commandButton value="Welcome Me">
      <f:ajax execute="name" render="output" />
   <h:outputText id="output" value="#{helloBean.sayWelcome}" />	

The PrimeFaces approach

PrimeFaces shows us how to do thing better and more concise. Actually, AJAX and the superior search expressions are the two top reasons why I’m so fond of PrimeFaces. PrimeFaces allows for a very compact definition of AJAXified command buttons:

   <h:inputText value="#{}" />
   <p:commandButton value="Welcome Me" 
                    process="@previous" update="@next" >
   <h:outputText value="#{helloBean.sayWelcome}" />

We’ve got rid of the facet, we’ve got a powerful expression language allowing us to get rid of the ids and we’ve got much more intuitive keywords to define which inputs fields to send and which region of the DOM is to be updated.

Unfortunately, even PrimeFaces uses verbose event facets for almost every other AJAX event:

<p:inputText value="#{userBean.firstname}">
     <p:ajax event="keyup" 
             update="@next" listener="#{userBean.onKeyUp}"  />
<h:outputText value="#{userBean.firstname}" />
<p:inputText value="#{userBean.lastname}">
     <p:ajax event="blur" 
             update="@next" listener="#{userBean.onBlur}"   />
<h:outputText value="#{userView.lastname}"/>

The BootsFaces approach: a proposal

Now, let’s go one step further. Most interactive BootsFaces components already have quite a few JavaScript callbacks: onclick, onchange, onblur and so on. Why don’t we use precisely these callback attributes to define AJAX behaviour?

<b:inputText value="#{userBean.firstname}" 
             onkeyup="#{userBean.onKeyUp}" update="@next" />
<b:outputText value="#{userBean.firstname}" />

<b:inputText value="#{userBean.lastname}" 
             onblur="#{userBean.onBlur}" update="@next" />
<b:outputText value="#{userView.lastname}"/>

Note there’s a double use of the JavaScript callbacks. The general idea is to act differently according to the type of the onblur and onkeyup methods. If it evaluates to a string, it’s a Javascript method. If it evaluates to a method, it’s a JSF method.

This way, you’ve got a simple, intuitive API allowing for very concise code. Using the callbacks you even veto (i.e. prevent) the default action from taking place – a feature that’s lacking in the JSF world for some reason, but has always been possible in the Javascript world by simply returning false.

Update April 9, 2016

In the meantime I’ve implemented my proposal. Now it’s part of the current BootsFaces releases. But my proposal didn’t make it into the productive code without changes. Using the EL syntax for JSF calls is a nice idea, but it simply doesn’t work. For one, this approach would prevent you from defining the JavaScript code in the bean. No matter how unusual this use case may seem: it’s a valid use case, so BootsFaces should support it. Second, there’s simply no way to distinguish between a simple string and an EL expression. So I’ve decided to modify the syntax of my proposal. In the early days, developers used to prefix their JavaScript code with “javascript:”. So why don’t we follow this tradition and prefix our AJAX code with “ajax:”? Hence, the current syntax looks like so:

<b:inputText value="#{userBean.firstname}" 
             onkeyup="console.log('before the AJAX call');
                      javascript:console.log('after the AJAX call');" 
                      update="@next" />

Note that the second log is called after submitting the AJAX request, but it is executed almost always before the AJAX response is processed. That’s the nature of AJAX: it’s asynchronous.

What about you?

If the majority of you, dear readers, doesn’t feel comfortable with the double use of the callback methods, we could also introduce additional callback methods. For instance, we could call the callback methods onClickJava, onBlurJava, onChangeJava, onDragStartJava and onDropJava. Personally, I don’t think that’s necessary, but it’s you who count, so I’d like to hear from you. How do you like the idea? Which implementation would you like to see in implementation? Do you prefer the standard JSF way using event facets? If so, why? Or why not, for that matter?

How to Use Mockito to Test JSF Components

There are two strategies to write JUnit test for JSF applications. The first strategy uses a tool like Arquillian to start both an application server and a browser that runs a JSF application. Yeray Santana Borges used this strategy to contribute a couple of JUnit tests to BootsFaces.

This approach has many advantages. It runs on a real application server, and it runs on a browser that can execute Javascript. In other words, it’s a very close approximation of the real world. You can test a lot of things, including behavior and AJAX requests.

The big disadvantage is performance. It takes a while to start an application server. That’s bad if you want to run hundreds of JUnit tests on every build. Usually projects prefer to define a dedicated Maven profile to run this kind of tests. By default, the tests are skipped by the build. They are run only during a nightly build.
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What’s New in BootsFaces 0.7.0?

Fork me on GitHubBootsFaces 0.7.0 now is available at Maven Central. And in a couple of days it will arrive on the jCenter repository. It’s an update bringing you a host of new features. By the way, don’t get confused by the small version number: We’re convinced that BootsFaces is ready for production. It’s just the Unix tradition that makes us stick with small version numbers.

Download coordinates

BootsFaces is available in two different flavors. There’s the regular version at Maven Central, and there’s a highly-optimized version at GitHub. The optimized version is 50 KB smaller and should be a bit faster. Both versions are compiled with Java 1.6. Alternatively, you can check out the repository from GitHub and build BootsFaces from source.

Add these lines to your project’s pom.xml:


Add this line to your project’s .gradle build file:

compile 'net.bootsfaces:bootsfaces:0.7.0'

The BootsFaces project comes with both a Gradle build file and a Maven build file. The Maven pom.xml is an easy way to get started, but if you want to tweak and optimize BootsFaces, you need the Gradle build.

In any case, the URL of the repository is

The showcase application is also available at Maven Central. It’s a war file you can simply deploy in a Tomcat. It’s the same application that runs on The source codes are also available on GitHub.

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BootsFaces 0.6.6, Easter Edition

Fork me on GitHubStop looking for our Easter egg: you’ve found it. The BootsFaces team celebrate Easter with a new version of their responsive JSF framework. By now, BootsFaces is available on Maven Central, and in a couple of days it’ll arrive on the jCenter repository.

Basically, BootsFaces 0.6.6 is a bug fix release. There are also a number of minor improvements, such as adding the style attribute to a number of components that ignored in in the previous version.
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Getting Started with BootsFaces: Responsive Design

BootsFaces is a JSF framework adding Bootstrap to JSF pages. One of the more attractive traits of Bootstrap is its built-in responsive design. Probably you already know the idea: screen elements are resized to fit on smaller screens. If everything else fails, Bootstrap starts to stack screen elements over each other if they can’t be displayed side-by-side. Usually, that doesn’t look as good as the original design aimed at larger screen estates, but the bottom line is that the application can be used even on small phones. Maybe you have to scroll a lot on a small device, but that’s a small price to pay. Without Bootstrap you’d have to scroll both horizontally and vertically, which is clearly worse.

Let’s write a simple BootsFaces application showing how easy it is to add responsive design to JSF applications. I’ve prepared a repository on GitHub, so you can check out the source codes used in this article. Today’s project is the subfolder ResponsiveDesign of this repository.
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BootsFaces 0.6.5 Published on Maven Central

After a while, our team is finally proud to publish the new v0.6.5 release.
This time we added more examples, a couple of handy components and exciting features. Here’s a short summary of the highlights:

  • Font Awesome Support ( #23 , #39 , #53 )
  • compatibility to both Oracle Mojarra and Apache MyFaces
  • improved AngularFaces Integration
  • Primefaces integration
  • Omnifaces integration
  • and better documentation.

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BootsFaces 0.6.0 Now Available on Maven Central

Maven coordinates

BootsFaces – the JSF framework that makes Bootstrap much more accessible to JSF programmers – is now available on Maven Central. To use it, add a dependency to your Maven pom.xml file:


Gradle users activate BootsFaces by adding this line to their .gradle build file:

compile 'net.bootsfaces:bootsfaces:0.6.0'

Minified version and debug-friendly version

The version I’ve uploaded to Maven Central is a developer-friendly version containing minified Javascript and CSS code, but non-minified Java class files. In other words: you can debug it, and you can easily identify the offending line if you find an error in your production log.

There’s also a version of BootsFaces that has been minified more aggressively. Currently, the smaller and slightly faster version hasn’t made it to Maven Central yet. You can download it at our project showcase and the project GitHub repository.


BootsFaces 0.6.0 is available both under a GPL 3 and a LGPL 3 license.

But I’m already using another JSF framework!

BootsFaces coexists peacefully with PrimeFaces, AngularFaces and probably most other JSF frameworks. For example, you can use the layout components of BootsFaces (<b:row>, <b:column>, <b:panelGrid>, <b:panel>, <b:tabView> / <b:tab> and <b:navBar>) together with the powerful input and datatable widgets of PrimeFaces.

Of course you can also use BootsFaces as a full-blown JSF component framework, providing responsive design and native Bootstrap GUIs. It’s up to you.


BootsFaces is an open source framework initiated and led by Riccardo Massera. Thanks to Riccardo, Emanuele Nocentelli and everybody else who contributed! This includes everybody who gave us feedback by reporting errors or feature requests by opening an issue on the GitHub repository. Your feedback matters!

Wrapping it up

Visit our project showcase and enjoy!

Newsflash: BootsFaces 0.6 released

Yesterday, BootsFaces 0.6 has been released. You can download it at the BootsFaces documentation pages.

Among other things, there are six new components (checkbox, combobox, panel grid, tab and a password input field). BootsFaces now is compatible to both Oracle MyFaces and Apache MyFaces 2.2. The next version 2.1 of AngularFaces will also support BootsFaces (and vice versa). will report about BootsFaces in more detail soon. By the way, I (Stephan Rauh) joined the BootsFaces team recently, so I can give you first-hand informations about the project.