I’ve discovered a variety of solutions for providing rich UI controls for web-based applications of late:
* As mentioned before, the “Display Tag Library”:http://displaytag.sourceforge.net/ provides a JSP custom tag lib for producing CSS-styled tables with sorting, grouping, paging and various export formats. Its easy to use and works well, although could do with some updates to work better with the JSTL and JSP Expression Language.
* “Stuart Langridge’s”:http://www.kryogenix.org/ “DHTML sortable tables”:http://www.kryogenix.org/days/565.html provide a client-side solution to sortable tables – it doesn’t offer as many features as the Display Tag Library but is very easy to use and is great if you can’t rely on server side software, or even if you can but can’t use taglibs
* Via “Zeldman”:http://www.zeldman.com/daily/1003b.shtml#cssdropdowns, “Brainjar(Brainjar – Revenge of the Menu Bar Demo)”:http://www.brainjar.com/dhtml/menubar/demo2.html has some very good looking DHTML drop down menus
* Common Controls provide a set of commercial Tag libraries that integrate with struts to produce some very nice looking controls. The fact that they integrate with Struts is a big plus – one of the problems with the Display Tag Library is that it doesn’t integrate with struts too well. The big problem is that they want a per-server license AND developer licenses. Its not too expensive if you only have one developer and one server, but if you are deploying several servers (as some of my friends are) it can soon get quite expensive. If they offered a flat-fee rate I’d be more interested.
* The “struts menu”:http://struts-menu.sourceforge.net/ is an open source project that as you’d expect gives you nice menus, but isn’t tied to struts any more. Some of the menus it produced did cause problems under firebird however.