Using jMaki in a Visual Development Environment

The jMaki project started as a wrapping utility for JS libraries and widgets. The j stands for JavaScript and maki comes from the Japanese word for wrapping, maku. The intent of jMaki is to promote clean seperation between content, style, and javascript and do so in an abstraction layer that lends itself well to a component model. jMaki is a client-server framework with support in PHP, Rails, or Java web applications.

jMaki has nice IDE support in NetBeans with plenty of wizards to get you started. Since jMaki provides a nice component model you can use the visual editor to wire together the UI of a web application in your IDE. Since a big part of web application development is getting the layout right, jMaki comes with several layouts right out of the box, all you do is select the template you want to use from the IDE.

To wrap a custom JavaScript library with jMaki you will need to create a jMaki widget. A jMaki widget uses the convention, instead of configuration, which is basically a folder containing three files, a HTML template, a CSS style, and JavaScript behavior. jMaki already has support for popular JavaScript libraries such as ExtJS, YUI!, Dojo, etc.

Greg Murray stated that he developed jMaki because he “wanted the reload button to be the redeploy button.” Well, since HTML, CSS, and JS aren’t compiled, that is easy to do. One button redeploy is not the stregth of jMaki, what jMaki has going for itself is that you can visual develop a web application using NetBeans and that this wraps several libraries in a easy to use fashion. jMaki also allows you to mix and match different JavaScript libraries together and communicate with each other using Glue. jMaki provides a common ground for integrating multiple of the currently existing AJAX libraries.

There is a jMaki on Rails plugin available and a PHP library.

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