AribaWeb - Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions

I first heard of AribaWeb only recently. Is it new?

Yes and no. AribaWeb has been used by Ariba, Inc. in its commercial enterprise applications and On Demand WebServices since 1999. The framework was first released as Open Source (quietly) in May, 2008. Active promotion of the open source project began in February 2009.

For more background, check out the AW Product History.

How does AribaWeb compare to other Open Source UI Frameworks?

Although AW predates nearly all currently popular open source web frameworks, it shares an interesting combination of virtues with many of them:

  • Like Java Server Faces (JSF), Tapestry and Wicket, AribaWeb is a deeply component-oriented framework, and, like Wicket, AW transparently manages component server state. AW's model of template/class binding is most similar to that of Tapestry.

  • Like Google Web Toolkit (GWT), ZK, and Echo2, AribaWeb enables creating AJAX applications without writing JavaScript, and like ZK and Echo2, AW's "Auto AJAX" approach is server-based.

  • Like ZK, AribaWeb enables less source code to implement many UIs (and offers the ability to inline component logic in the UI template, if desired).

  • Like Ruby on Rails, Django, and Grails, AribaWeb provides a full stack for implementing database applications, and supports a dynamic scripting language (Groovy, in the case of AW) for conveniently expressing application logic.

In addition to combining all these attributes in a single framework, several aspects of AribaWeb set it apart:

  • AribaWeb's component model is both more dynamic that Tapestry's and more efficient than Wicket's.

  • AribaWeb's approach to server-side-AJAX is totally transparent and does not require applications to adopt a tedious event handling paradigm (instead favoring consistent declarative binding).

  • AribaWeb's ability to concisely express an application UI is unmatched (typically 50% the code of even ZK, and even less than in other frameworks). With MetaUI, the AW advantage is even greater.

  • Only AribaWeb has Instant App with Live Edit support: while some frameworks provide a limited ability to generate UIs based on the application data model (using "scaffolding" or "generic views"), AribaWeb is unique in enabling radical customization of these UIs (contextually, to the operation, layout, etc.) as well as the live editing of the UI layout and rules, directly on the running application interface.

  • While AribaWeb supports authoring applications in a dynamic scripting language (Groovy), AribaWeb itself is 100% pure Java and fully supports applications written in pure-Java (or a mix of Java and Groovy). This means that the AW engine is extremely fast (and multi-threaded) and that your application can use whatever mix of dynamic and static code best meets your requirements.

100x Less Code than Rails? Really??

It hard to believe, but it's true: An out of the box AribaWeb project for an app managing a handful of domain classes has 100x fewer lines of code than its equivalent (but far less function) Rails project. And, for each added domain class, AW add 15x less code.

10x Less than GWT? For Google Maps?!?

Ah, the irony.... But, yes, in comparing implementations of a simple AJAX app that searches for a location and marks it on a Google Map, the AW implementation is 2x smaller than ZK, and 10x smaller than with Google Web Toolkit, or JSF/ICEfaces.

Is AribaWeb Production Quality?

Absolutely. AW has been deployed commercially for nearly a decade to millions of users in some of the most demanding enterprises in the world, and has been part of over a Trillion Dollars (USD) of Business-to-Business electronic commerce.

Does Ariba Use All of the AribaWeb Libraries?

Almost. The Util, Expr, AribaWeb (core), and Widgets library are used in customer facing applications. MetaUI is new (although it is similar to an older internal Ariba framework) and is currently used only in administrative and testing applications (although its use is likely to expand over time). Only the JPA (Hibernate) integration is not currently used by Ariba.

Does AW Require Groovy?

No. The AW libraries are implemented entirely in Java and support pure-Java applications. However, AW also supports an add on library, ariba.groovyloader.jar, which enables embedding groovy in component templates as well as dynamic source reloading ("rapid turnaround") for .groovy files paired with .awls. Finally, the AW Ant build system is Groovy-aware, so its easy to use compiled groovy in your projects for your JPA domain classes.

What's the AribaWeb License?

AribaWeb is released as Open Source under the (commercially friendly) Apache License, v2.

Why Did Ariba Release AribaWeb as Open Source? Why Now?

We should have done it sooner! :-)

As one of the first companies to push Java to enterprise/web scale (releasing the pure-Java ORMS in 1997) Ariba has long been a heavy adopter of Open Source technology. The AribaWeb framework has long been a "hidden gem" inside the company and we decided that we wanted to "give back" to the community that has helped make our products possible. Also, we saw how other frameworks were evolving (with a heavy emphasis on handed coded javascript clients) and we felt that AribaWeb's unique server-centric Auto-AJAX programming model, and meta-data driven (rules-based) UI derivation were important ideas to expose to the web development community. We hope that now, with access to this technology, many others can now build better apps faster. Logo