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Re: Impressions of the RIFE framework

Atif Khan wrote a blog entry about his experience with RIFE. Sadly, the comment system on his blog seems to be broken, so I can't post a reply there. I'm thus posting it on my own blog.

Hi Atif,

thanks a lot for writing down your impressions, and you see that I did get to your blog entry :)

Here are my reactions to your 'cons':

Atif Khan:
Templates are really weird to work with. The syntax for the templates really did me. It is not really designer friendly like Tapestry or Wicket

Which template syntax did you use? If you want the designer-friendly version, you have several to choose from, like the comment based syntax and the real XML syntax. I suppose that this is a matter of being aware of them, which is not easily solved (there's a wiki page about them though).

Atif Khan:
The concept of flowlink and datalink is just too verbose and not clear

The flowlinks and datalinks verbosity are easily solved through different manners. They're like the finest grained possibility. For a lot of people, globalvars and globalexits are totally sufficient and only require one declaration. Another good solution is just to use autolinks, if you combine these with annotations, there's very little setup to do for the logic flow and data flow to work.

Also, if you think they're not clear, this page in the users guide might make it easier to understand:

Atif Khan:
Using annotation didn’t do me any good as well for defining the flow and data links. There isn’t enough documentation for annotations.

I agree that the documentation here is lacking, but annotations are a recent addition, so in time it will get better. The best thing usually is to try to combine what's on the wiki with the javadocs and the examples. For the annotations, there's some kind of overview here: You can also have a look at the javadocs for them.

Atif Khan:
The only way for form validations I could find was to define the a MetaData class equivalent to the domain object representing the form and define the validations in there. This just seems like way too much of work for simple validations.
Atif Khan:
I could not figure out how to customize the error messages for form validations

It's a pity that you didn't see the real value of the validation framework, the MetaData classes actually generate the statements for the real validation framework underneath, which is totally customizable. Several times I've heard users say that they found RIFE's validation framework to be the most flexible and powerful one that they've come across. Information about that can be found here:, this also contains instructions about how to customize the error messages in many ways. The javadoc for the Validated interface might be helpful too. You can basically create any ValidationRule or ValidationError that you want, using MetaData just automates it all.

Please don't hesitate to tell me where you find holes in the documentation. I think that a lot of it is documented, it's mainly an issue of finding the right content. Shooting of a message to the mailing list will often get me or someone to point you in the right direction. There were some books in the writing, but sadly I had to cancel them due to time constraints. There might still be some coming up in half a year or so, but it really is very bound to my availability.

Again, thanks a lot for making the effort to look at RIFE, I know that it's a lot to digest.

posted by Geert Bevin in RIFE on Apr 10, 2007 10:49 PM : 2 comments [permalink]


Re: Re: Impressions of the RIFE framework
Geert, Your comment was marked as spam as you posted the same response 3 times :) I had to manually approve your comment. It's showing up fine now.
Re: Re: Impressions of the RIFE framework
Ah, ok, strange though, since the first time I sent it I also got a 404 message from your website. That's why I tried a couple of times more by making sure that I was in the main URL of that blog post.

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