When I first announced that Sun was making its Java Studio Creator product available as a free download, some skeptics labelled this as a mere publicity stunt ahead of the release of Creator 2.
Well, Java Studio Creator 2 is now here, and it’s still free.
Java Studio Creator is based on JavaServer Faces (JSF) technology, a component-based approach to web development that is similar in style to ASP.NET. This positions Java Studio Creator as a direct competitor to Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions. Both bring drag-and-drop rapid application development to the web and both are free downloads, but Creator is free of many of the restrictions placed on Microsoft’s Express Editions (e.g. it offers a full visual database query builder).
And of course, being written in Java, Creator will run on Mac OS X and Linux systems.
A brief overview of some of the new features:
- improved code completion in code editors (Java, HTML, CSS)
- a new graphical CSS editor
- EJB Support (was beta in Creator 1)
- many new JSF components
- a new database support layer
- HTTP monitoring
- AJAX components (including a Google Maps component)
- runs on Java 5 with associated speed and UI benefits
If you’ve considered Java web development in the past and were put off by code-heaviness and cryptic XML configuration files, you should definitely check out the video product tours for Creator 2 to see just how easy it can be.