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Category Model-View-Controller design
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Homepage wicket.sourceforge.net/index.html
Version 1.2
Sat May 13, 2006 10:04 pm


Wicket is a Java web application framework that takes simplicity, separation of concerns and ease of development to a whole new level. Wicket pages can be mocked up, previewed and later revised using standard WYSIWYG HTML design tools. Dynamic content processing and form handling is all handled in Java code using a first-class component model backed by POJO data beans that can easily be persisted using your favourite technology.

Why "Reinvent the Wheel"?

In light of so many Java web application frameworks, you may be wondering "What good is another web application framework?" Indeed. Why "re-invent the wheel?"

But it was not simply a desire for higher quality that drove the creation of Wicket. Even with so many options, there really is no web toolkit which fills exactly the niche that Wicket fills. In fact, Wicket is quite unlike each of the frameworks above.

Wicket's closest cousins are probably Tapestry and Echo, but even there the likeness is very shallow. Like Tapestry, Wicket uses a special HTML attribute to denote components, enabling easy editing with ordinary HTML editors. Like Echo, Wicket has a first-class component model. But Wicket applications are not like applications written in either Tapestry or Echo, because in Wicket you get the best of both worlds. You get the benefits of a first-class component model and a non-intrusive approach to HTML. In many situations, this combination may prove to be a significant development advantage.

Wicket's Motivations

Most existing web frameworks provide weak to non-existent support in managing server-side state. In Wicket, all server side state is automatically managed. You will never directly use an HttpSession object or similar wrapper to store state. Instead, state is associated with components. Each server-side page component holds a nested hierarchy of stateful components, where each component's model is, in the end, a POJO (Plain Old Java Object). Wicket maintains a map of these pages in each user's session. One purpose of this page map (and the component hierarchy on each page) is to allow the framework to hide all details of how your components and models are accessed. You deal with simple, familiar Java objects and Wicket deals with things like URLs, session ids and GET/POST requests.

Most existing frameworks require special HTML code. Wicket does not introduce any special syntax to HTML. Instead, it extends HTML in a standards-compliant way via a Wicket namespace that is fully compliant with the XHTML standard. This means that you can use Macromedia Dreamweaver, Microsoft Front Page, Word, Adobe Go Live, or any other existing HTML editor to work on your web pages and Wicket components.

Existing frameworks are not easy. Wicket is all about simplicity. There are no configuration files to learn in Wicket. Wicket is a simple class library with a consistent approach to component structure. In Wicket, your web applications will more closely resemble a Swing application than a JSP application. If you know Java (and especially if you know Swing), you already know a lot about Wicket.

Existing frameworks inhibit reusability. Wicket has been explicitly designed to make it very, very easy to create reusable components. It's surprisingly simple to extend existing components and to make compound components such as a SignInPanel or AddressForm. It is also relatively easy to create components that exploit new features of browsers. Components in Wicket can be packaged up in JAR files and reused by simply dropping them in your lib folder - no configuration necessary!

Here is a more elaborate list of Wicket's features.
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