Click here to close now.


Adobe Flex Authors: Matthew Lobas, Newswire, Shelly Palmer, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Java IoT, Adobe Flex, Open Source Cloud, Eclipse, Ruby-On-Rails

Agile Computing: Article

Java Kicks Ruby on Rails in the Butt

This article demonstrates that Java is more productive than Ruby

This article tries to demonstrate that Java can be more productive than Ruby. We are going to develop the same application of the article Rolling with Ruby on Rails Revisited (part 1 [1] and part 2 [2]) but using POJO [3]s annotated with JPA [4] and a Model Driven Framework, OpenXava [5] in this case. The result is that with less code, and less time you obtain a more powerful application.

Ruby and rails: The regressive framework

Ruby on rails [6] is so elegant, so easy, so productive. I cannot avoid read and heard continuously these comments. For example, the article Rolling with Ruby on Rails Revisited of Bill Walton says:

What would you think if I told you that you can develop a web application at least ten times faster with Rails than you can with a typical Java framework?”

Oops! Ten times faster!

Well, after these comments I decided to learn Ruby on Rails. I need to know the true key of the productivity and programmer happiness.

After have a taste of RnR I found it a very classic framework, with old techniques:

  • Ruby is a dynamically typed [7] language, as Smalltalk [8]. I prefer statically typed [9] languages.

  • Scaffolding is passive code generation, as IDE wizards or AppFuse [10]. I prefer active code generation [11], or even better, no code generation at all.

  • Relational database centric: the code generators and ActiveRecord promote think first in tables after in classes. I prefer a more pure OO, as Hibernate [12], JPA [4] or even ODBMS [13].

  • MVC [14]: I'm looking for something newer and better that an old MVC framework.

The Java problem: Java developers

The productivity in Java world is a cultural problem, not a technical one. That is this is not a Java fault, it's our fault, we, the Java developers, need to design very beautiful architectures, to apply everywhere the GoF [15] patterns, to do everything reusable, to put 3 tiers in all our systems and to use web services [16] for all. We are not looking for simplicity, therefore we have not found it. But, Java is a very elegant language that allows simpler approach to software development.

Java productivity: The other way

A way for productivity is to use a Model Driven approach. That is, develop the model part, and only the model part, of our application, and to use a framework to produce all the application from it. MDA [17], OpenXava [5], Trails [18], NakedObjects [19], RomaFramework [20] and JMatter [21] are examples of this approach.

The goal

This is the main screen of the wanted application:

Basically, the app's supposed to do three things:

  • Display a list of all recipes.

  • Create new recipes and edit existing recipes.

  • Assign a recipe to a category (like "dessert" or "soup").

The Ruby on Rails first sprint

The first step using RnR is creating the new project, from command line you have to write:

$ rails cookbook2 

Now you must create and configure your database.

Then it's the time for writing your first code, in this case SQL code:

drop table if exists recipes;
drop table if exists categories;
create table categories (
id int not null auto_increment,
name varchar(100) not null default '',
primary key(id)
) engine=InnoDB;

create table recipes (
id int not null auto_increment,
category_id int not null,
title varchar(100) not null default '',
description varchar(255) null,
date date null,
instructions text null,
constraint fk_recipes_categories foreign key
(category_id) references categories(id),
primary key(id)
) engine=InnoDB;

Obviously you have to execute these sentences against your database.

And the final step is generate the Ruby code, you only need execute the next command in the shell of your O.S:

$ ruby script\generate scaffold recipe recipe
$ ruby script\generate scaffold category category

Yes. You have the very first version of your RnR application ready to run.

Yes, very little work, a simple “create table”, and executing a wizard. Let's see the result.

The Rails result

This is the resulting application:

New category entry page

New category added!

New recepy entry page

Little work. Little result.

The JPA on OX first sprint

Go on using OpenXava [5]. The first step using OpenXava is creating the new project:

$ ant CreateNewProject.xml -Dproject=CookBook 

Now you must create and configure your database.

Then it's the time for writing your first code, in this case Java code:

package org.openxava.cookbook.model;

import java.util.*;
import javax.persistence.*;
import org.openxava.annotations.*;

@View(members="title; description; date; instructions")
public class Recipe {

@Id @GeneratedValue @Hidden
private Integer id;

@Required @Column(length=100)
private String title;

private String description;

private Date date;

private String instructions;

public Integer getId() {
return id;

public void setId(Integer id) { = id;

public String getTitle() {
return title;

public void setTitle(String title) {
this.title = title;

public String getDescription() {
return description;

public void setDescription(String description) {
this.description = description;

public Date getDate() {
return date;

public void setDate(Date date) { = date;

public String getInstructions() {
return instructions;

public void setInstructions(String instructions) {
this.instructions = instructions;


package org.openxava.cookbook.model;

import java.util.*;

import javax.persistence.*;

import org.openxava.annotations.*;

public class Category {

@Id @GeneratedValue @Hidden
private Integer id;

@Required @Column(length=100)
private String name;

public Integer getId() {
return id;

public void setId(Integer id) { = id;

public String getName() {
return name;

public void setName(String name) { = name;


And the final step is to generate the dababase schema, you only need to execute the next ant target from your project:

$ ant updateSchema

Yes. You have the very first version of your OpenXava application ready to run.

Yes, very little work, a simple POJOs, and executing 'updateSchema'. Let's see the result.

The OpenXava result

This is the resulting application:

 List Mode

 Detail mode

Note that the user can create,update, delete, generate PDF from list, export the list to excel, order by each column, paging with support for large resultsets and filter data. Moreover you can deploy directly, with no code, only executing an ant target, your application in a JSR-168 [22] portal, and the look & feel of the OpenXava portlet adapts to the look & feel of the portal.

This is, from first time, an application ready for production.

Little work, polished result.

From a philosophical point of view the difference here between RnR and OX is that in RnR you write first the tables and in OpenXava you write first the classes.

The controllers

Rails has generated for you the controller logic for the basic CRUD, you can see it here:

RnR controller

In the other hand OX has not generated any code for CRUD, OpenXava just have a generic code for doing CRUD and Printing, and it is assigned automatically to all entities. You can write your own generic CRUD logic, or you can write a specific logic for a particular entity, but you haven't a controller code for each entity. In this way, you have less code to maintain, and you can change the logic of all CRUD modules touching in a single place.

That is for controllers Rails uses generated code while OX uses generic code.

You can learn more about OX controllers in OpenXava wiki [23].

Adding a relationship

For adding a relationship from category to recipe in Ruby you have to write the next code in category.rb:

Rnr relationship category to recipe

and this one in recipe.rb:

Rnr relationship recipe to category

Yes, pretty simple. But, you have more work to do. You must edit cookbook2\app\views\recipe\_form.rhtml and add the next code:

<%= select("recipe", "category_id", Category.find(:all).collect
{|c| [,] }) %></p>

The result is:

Rnr recipe with category

For its part, in OpenXava you have to define the relationship using JPA in

@ManyToOne(optional=false) @DescriptionsList
private Category category;

and in

private Collection<Recipe> recipes;

And you do not need to touch any HTML-like code. You application will show just this:

OpenXava Recipe with Category

You have a link for modifying or creating new categories from here.

Without adding any additional code if the user go to the Category module he will obtain a collection of Recipes in each Category, as following:

OpenXava Category with recipes

In this point the RnR application still does not have this features, you need to write some Ruby and HTML to code to obtain the same effect.

The main difference here between RnR and OX here is that in OX you do not write any HTML-like code, indeed you do not write User Interface code at all.

Calculating a initial value

The next step in the Ruby on Rails tutorial is to generated a initial value for a property. In RnR you have to edit the controller code in order to achieve it. Let's see it:

You modify the new and update method adding the line: =

The equivalent in OX is adding the @DefaultValueCalculator annotation in model:

private Date date;

You obtain the same effect in a more declarative way.

That, while in RnR you put the code on controller, in OX the code for calculating initial values, for validations and for business logic in general is on the model. OX promotes moving business logic from controller to model.

As curiosity, in the RnR article says: “I modified the model files so I need to restart our web server.” While using Eclipse WTP I only need to press Ctrl – B, and click on refresh in my browser in order to see the change of my model in my OpenXava application.


The main difference between Ruby on Rails and OpenXava is that RnR is a MVC framework, you have to write the model, the view and the controllers, and OX is a model-driven framework, you only need to write the model. The result is less code for a better application.

Another big difference is that RnR uses passive code generation; that is, it generates the code for you, but after it if you want to extend or refine the code you have to edit the generated code. OpenXava does not use code generation, the only code you have is the code you write.

You can find productivity inside the Java universe.





More Stories By Javier Paniza

Javier Paniza is the project lead for OpenXava project. He works as software developer at Gestión 400, a software company for public administration in Spain. He has been developing with Java Enterprise since 1998. Also he has been J2EE mentor for development teams in banking projects.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Luxoft Holding, Inc., a leading provider of software development services and innovative IT solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Luxoft’s software development services consist of core and mission-critical custom software development and support, product engineering and testing, and technology consulting.
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, Chief Architect at CTS, will explore the synergy of Big Data and IoT. First he will take a closer look at the Internet of Things and Big Data individually, in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. Then he will explore the relationship between IoT and Big Data. Specifically, he will drill down to how the 4Vs aspects intersect with IoT: Volume, Variety, Velocity and Value. In turn, Tony will analyze how the key components of IoT influence Big Data: Device, Connectivity, Context, and Intelligence. He will dive deep to the matrix...
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Building actually breathes - immediately flagging overheating in a closet or over cooling in unoccupied ho...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Raxak has been named “Media & Session Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Raxak Protect automates security compliance across private and public clouds. Using the SaaS tool or managed service, developers can deploy cloud apps quickly, cost-effectively, and without error.
Scott Guthrie's keynote presentation "Journey to the intelligent cloud" is a must view video. This is from AzureCon 2015, September 29, 2015 I have reproduced some screen shots in case you are unable to view this long video for one reason or another. One of the highlights is 3 datacenters coming on line in India.
“The Internet of Things transforms the way organizations leverage machine data and gain insights from it,” noted Splunk’s CTO Snehal Antani, as Splunk announced accelerated momentum in Industrial Data and the IoT. The trend is driven by Splunk’s continued investment in its products and partner ecosystem as well as the creativity of customers and the flexibility to deploy Splunk IoT solutions as software, cloud services or in a hybrid environment. Customers are using Splunk® solutions to collect and correlate data from control systems, sensors, mobile devices and IT systems for a variety of Ind...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated and cloud solutions through hybrid hosting – a sustainable solution for the data required to manage I...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk will be on IBM Cloudant, Apa...
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
The enterprise is being consumerized, and the consumer is being enterprised. Moore's Law does not matter anymore, the future belongs to business virtualization powered by invisible service architecture, powered by hyperscale and hyperconvergence, and facilitated by vertical streaming and horizontal scaling and consolidation. Both buyers and sellers want instant results, and from paperwork to paperless to mindless is the ultimate goal for any seamless transaction. The sweetest sweet spot in innovation is automation. The most painful pain point for any business is the mismatch between supplies a...
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
As enterprises capture more and more data of all types – structured, semi-structured, and unstructured – data discovery requirements for business intelligence (BI), Big Data, and predictive analytics initiatives grow more complex. A company’s ability to become data-driven and compete on analytics depends on the speed with which it can provision their analytics applications with all relevant information. The task of finding data has traditionally resided with IT, but now organizations increasingly turn towards data source discovery tools to find the right data, in context, for business users, d...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a software development company, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software development company with representative offices in Atlanta (US), Sheffield (UK) and Würzburg (Germany); and development centers in Ukraine. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 150 developers, designers, quality assurance engineers, project manage...