One of the key precepts that drove the creation of JavaBeans and Enterprise JavaBeans was to promote code reuse and code exchange of components and to ultimately save Java developers lots of time. Well, for a long time, developers hoarded their beans, and the utopian dream of a universal bean exchange seemed all but lost. Today’s bust economy has provided a real impetus for developers to save time, and make additional money by selling their code. What this means to you as a Java developer is that it is probably a good idea to start keeping an eye on the components available to you. It could potentially save you hours or even weeks of development time.
Selecting just 5 to review was a difficult task to say the least. I wanted to choose five components that represented the breadth of the commercial component marketplace. Most of these are for the J2EE world, however, many of them can also be used in Swing-based applications, applets or other Java applications. I stayed away from researching open-source and free-distribution components, that is another world entirely.
Finding components online can be a daunting task unless you know where to look. A new class of component portals has emerged. Three primary Web sites dominated my searching:
- Component Source (www.componentsource.com)
- Sun’s Solutions Marketplace (http://industry.java.sun.com/solutions/browse/1,2346,all,00.html)
- Flashline (http://www.flashline.com/components/javabeans.jsp)
That said, the 5 components I selected were:
- ActivEdit, a WYSIWYG HTML editor that you can embed in your Web applications.
- BeanStork, a command-line tool that develops JavaBean abstractions of XML schemas.
- CeXBean, a currency conversion tool that uses Web Services.
- iNet Factory, a Java adaptor suite to use a number of different Internet technologies, such as FTP and SMTP.
- IP*Works, a full suite of components that allows development of a multitude of Internet communications.