In RSF, a component (or primitive component) is a lightweight object which occupies an application level intermediate between the business model (below the bean line) and the user interface, which is defined by a view template parsed from a raw (X)(H)TML representation.

Unlike components in many frameworks, RSF components have little life of their own, containing essentially no logic and only a short scope (lifetime). Components exist only momentarily during the request cycle, in a component tree rooted in a View object, between production by a ComponentProducer and consumption by a ViewRender. After rendering, the component tree (like the request bean context) are completely discarded, freeing valuable server resources.

RSF components all inhabit a type hierarchy rooted at the base class UIComponent. The sole functionality provided by this base class is to keep track of the various portions of the component ID and to record the component's parent container.

RSF components are designed to be produced equally easily from Java code as from a serialised (XML) form. To help this, the construction for concrete components follows the following conventions:

  1. A no-arg constructor must be defined, although it is preferable to define none at all.
  2. Components are provided with a static construction method named make(), which takes as its first two arguments the container's intended parent, and the component's ID.

For example, UIInternalLink defines a make() method as follows:

 public static UIInternalLink make(UIContainer parent, String ID, 
                                     ViewParameters viewparams) {
    UIInternalLink togo = new UIInternalLink();
    togo.ID = ID;
    togo.viewparams = viewparams;
    return togo;
This is not a constructor, since i) constructors are becoming a little unpopular in the Spring-enabled world (!) and ii) it is invalid Java to write an "expression statement" (valid in C-family languages) consisting of just the constructor call if you are not interested in the result. I.e. in code, we would like the default case of creating, initialising and linking a component to its parent[1] to fill a single line of code thus:
    UIInternalLink.make(parent, ComponentIDs.BREADCRUMBS_MODERATE, viewparams);

This replicates the combined effect that in XML, as also in Spring, separates the process of construction from the setting of properties, appearing in the implementation method above. Components become beans, although there is no current intention of treating them that way...

[#1] Note that in terms of Levelization, this method introduces no extra dependence on UIContainer from components, since they all inherit from a base class UIComponent which includes the UIContainer parent as a member. Since there is virtually no code in these classes the dependence burden is minimal anyway.

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« This page (revision-) was last changed on 22-Mar-2007 15:12 by UnknownAuthor