BootsFacesJSFsimpliying JSFweb design

What’s New in BootsFaces 1.2.0?

We start the new year with a new version of BootsFaces! BootsFaces 1.2.0 brings a few new features, a lot of bugfixes, and an improved navigation on the documentation page.

Download coordinates

Before diving into the details, let me provide you with the download coordinates:

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

<dependency>
    <groupId>net.bootsfaces</groupId>
    <artifactId>bootsfaces</artifactId>
    <version>1.2.0</version>
    <scope>compile</scope>
</dependency>

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

compile 'net.bootsfaces:bootsfaces:1.2.0'

The release page at GitHub offers several download options, such as the compact BootsFaces version featuring only the default theme. It also offers versions of the library compiled for Java 7, 8, and 9.

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 https://github.com/TheCoder4eu/BootsFaces-OSP.

Java 9

We’ve tested BootsFaces with Java 9. That doesn’t mean BootsFaces already supports modules. It just works using the good old classpath. Even so, we had to change a few bits to make BootsFaces compatible to Java 9.

Documentation

The documentation has grown tremendously over the years. But still, many developers complain about it, and they are right: we’re still not where we want to go to. Among other things, the sheer volume of the documentation has become a nuisance. Mind you: Now there are many documentation pages, and the pages themselves are very long.

So we decided to some something about that. On the left-hand side of the documentation, we’ve added a searchable sidebar showing every component. Truth to tell, we’ve learned to love this shortcut ourselves. Just type the name of the component, or a part of it, and hit the “enter” key. That’s a lot faster than finding the same component in the main menu.

On the right-hand side, we’ve added a vertical sidebar menu allowing you to navigate quickly within the documentation page. That’s become necessary because the documentation pages have become incredibly long. As a side effect, it should help Google (and other search engines) to index our showcase more precisely.

New features

Basically, there’s only one new component in BootsFaces 1.2.0, and it’s not really new. I’m talking about the link. It comes in two flavors. <b:link /> is for links to URL, while <b:commandLink /> is for links triggering a JSF form submit or an AJAX call. We hesitated a long time to introduce this components because they are so similar to <b:navLink /> and <b:navCommandlink />. However, the semantics of a link and a navLink are different.

Enhancements

Since BootsFaces 1.2.0, you can select rows of the datatable. Previously, you could only select columns or cells. We’ve also added the corresponding server-side API.

We’ve also added CSS styling options for <b:progressbar /> and <b:growl />.

Bugfixes

BootsFaces 1.2.0 fixes 16 bugs, give or take a few. See the ship list for full details.

Next stop: Bootstrap 4

At first glance, development on BootsFaces has slowed down a little. However, that’s only the visible part of the project. There’s a lot going on behind the curtain. After an extremely long alpha-release phase, Bootstrap 4 is rapidly maturing. So we started to work on BootsFaces 2.0. This version is going to support Bootstrap 4. Plus, it’ll require Java 8. This, and the profound changes between Bootstrap 3 and Bootstrap 4, probably means we’ll have to support both BootsFaces 1.x and BootsFaces 2.x in parallel. For instance, Bootstrap 4 has a new grid system. It’s much more flexible than the old grid system, offering a host of new options. Along the way, it drops a few options, and it adds a new breakpoint. Now there are five screen sizes. The Bootstrap team added a “xs” breakpoint, shifting every other breakpoint one level up. That makes it difficult to implement BootsFaces 2.0 as a plug-in replacement for BootsFaces 1.x. Most likely we’ll document a detailed migration guide, similar to the migration guide of Bootstrap 4 itself.

Contributors welcome

All that is a lot of work, so we’re always looking for contributors. If you’re interested in BootsFaces, and if you can afford to spend a little time, we’d appreciate your help. Actually, you don’t have to do much. Even such a simple thing as reporting a bug is a valuable contribution!

Wrapping it up

BootsFaces has become surprisingly popular. In an average month, it’s downloaded 2500 times from Maven Central. Plus, there are other downloads, such as the project page on GitHub. It goes without saying that there are more popular UI frameworks. Nonetheless, BootsFaces has a stable and growing community of users.

That, in turn, is just great. It motivates us a lot to carry on the BootsFaces saga!

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