New ACE Component Origins  XML
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Joined: 13/Nov/2006 00:00:00
Messages: 74

Perhaps the greatest feature of open source software is that it allows developers to build off another’s work and implement their own enhancements and customizations. It is in the greatest tradition of open source that these enhancements are then returned to the open source community so that others can benefit from them and continue the cycle of improvements. In this way the state of the art in the industry is advanced. It is perhaps the primary objective of open source and it happens across thousands of open source projects around the world on a daily basis. Take it, enhance it and give it back. JBoss does it. SpringSource does it. PrimeFaces does by leveraging the JQuery library and others. And ICEsoft has done it in its construction of its ACE component library. That any sponsor of an open source project would be surprised that someone took their open source software, enhanced it and re-contributed it back to open source the way it was intended is well … surprising.

When we set out to construct the ACE component library we started by surveying our user base and identifying best in class open source technologies that we felt would best meet their requirements. Among the component technologies we identified for integration with our own custom elements were components from JQuery, YUI and PrimeFaces. We recognized that these technologies represented a good starting point but that changes had to be made in order to advance them to level of enterprise grade performance required by our users. The technologies required modification in order to integrate within the ICEfaces framework and leverage features such as automatic Ajax and Ajax Push. It was also insufficient for them to work just on a stand-alone basis running on Tomcat and Firefox. Enhancements and modifications were required in order for them to function in a consistent and reliable manner across the full range of our supported platforms: IE 7 to Chrome, Tomcat to WebLogic, Liferay to WebSphere Portal 7 and all the others in between. Many components such as the data table were the beneficiaries of significant feature enhancements elevating them above the previous state of the art. Once modified an extended QA infrastructure and suite of test cases was developed to allow us to put in place automated regression testing. Testing that ensures our enterprise users have a stable, quality product they can rely on.

As we started this endeavor we did invite the team from PrimeFaces to participate in the enhancement of the open source components they sourced. Regrettably they declined and we proceeded on our own. We believe the net result is a library that draws upon the best of class elements across the industry. Integrated so that they work seamlessly together. Enhanced to provide access to new features. Elevated to a grade of performance and quality required by enterprise… and finally re-introduced back into open source so that others are free to use them. Take it, enhance it, and give it back. Isn’t that what open source is all about?

For more insights and comments on this matter check out K. Fytens response at http://www.icefaces.org/JForum/posts/list/20506.page

Brian McKinney
President and CEO
ICEsoft Technologies Inc.
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