Monday, December 19, 2011

New Maven plugin for web resource optimization

Two months ago I released the first version of a new Maven plugin for web resource optimization. This plugin was created as a part of the PrimeFaces Extensions project. What is the PrimeFaces Extensions project? Thomas Andraschko and me have launched this young project with the aim of extending JSF library PrimeFaces. What does extending mean? We don't have "extends SomePrimeFacesComponent" in the code. It doesn't make sense to copy-&-paste or overwrite existing PrimeFaces code. PrimeFaces is a rapidly evolving component set and costs to maintain the entire code from release to release would be too high. Extending means, we use core functionality of PrimeFaces like core.js and Well. What for components and other stuff we have is not the topic of this post. This is a topic for next post(s). I just would like to appeal to everybody having JSF / PrimeFaces expert knowledge to contact us. Any help would be appreciated. We have great ideas and plans, but Thomas and me are full time worker and involving in various daily projects, so that time for PrimeFaces Extensions is very sparse. Even worse in my case. I can only work 15-20% for JSF in my daily work currently. So, everybody with experience in JSF / PrimeFaces can join this open source project.

Maven plugin for resource optimization can compress and merge JavaScript and CSS files very efficiently. It produces better results than all plugins I know. The new Maven plugin combines Google Closure Compiler (for JavaScript files) and YUI Compressor (for CSS files). The new plugin is highly configurable and allows some nice features which don't exist in other plugins. I would like to mention some highlights:
  • Flexible resource sets describing resources to be processed.
  • Settings for compilation and warning levels for Google Closure Compiler. Defaults are SIMPLE_OPTIMIZATIONS and QUIET.
  • Aggregation with or without compression.
  • Suffix for compressed / aggregated files if needed.
  • SubDirMode for files aggregation. Resources of each software module can be optimized separately in an easy way. It makes sense e.g. for component / widget development because you can say "merge files for component A to one big file and don't merge files for component B".
  • Possiblity to define a file to be prepended to the aggregated file.
  • Possiblity to build compressed and uncompressed resources at the same time. PrimeFaces community already asked about uncompressed resources for development stage. RichFaces and some other libs can deliver uncompressed resources if the ProjectStage is "Development". We have also done this for PrimeFaces Extensions by means of this plugin. A special JSF ResourceHandler can stream down uncompressed resources to the browser for the ProjectStage "Development". Never crypto-messages like "e is undefined" anymore!
I have tried to write a more or less comprehensive documentaion. Simple check it! We already use this plugin with success in 6-8 JAR and WAR projects. I have also drawn a comparison diagram for PrimeFaces: size in bytes without compression, with yuicompressor-maven-plugin and with our resources-optimizer-maven-plugin. And I have prepared a configuration for PrimeFaces to make changes easy. More details in the online documentation. We would be glad to see the resources-optimizer-maven-plugin in PrimeFaces! It's worth. This plugin is available in the Maven central repository. In the meantime I have released a new 0.2 version. Feedback is welcome. Thanks.

The next Maven plugin I'm planning to write is a CDK (component development kit) for PrimeFaces components (low prio, depends on free time). PrimeFaces has already one, but only for internal use. Futhermore, PrimeFaces's plugin doesn't generate component's source files under source folder (they are not under version control) and has an expensive configuration. The new CDK will be configurable via name conventions and avoid expensive configuration. The technique for that will be Java Emitter Templates (JET) from Eclipse Modeling Framework. Here is again - every help is appreciated. We have some code styles, so that our code is clean and optimized. But it's not a problem at all to follow them, even in a remote team. I'm convinced, the work in a distributed team can be very efficient.


  1. Hi Oleg, first of all congratulations for the primefaces extensions project, the showcase is awesome!, I want to know if the primefaces extension project is compatible with the last primefaces RC2??? Thanks! and sorry for my english...

  2. Hi Sebastian,

    Many thanks. We are fully compatible with PF 3.0.RC1. Never tested against RC2, but we have made all last changes for Ajax events as in RC2. I think, PF extensions project is compatible with RC2 as well. We will check this soon.

  3. Thanks for the quick answer! right now i have time for make some tests! Great work!

  4. Glad to hear, Sebastian. Right now we're working on Showcase (many use cases are not implemented yet). I hope we can release PF Extensions after PF final release and make it available in Maven central repo. We have postopend some interesting components / behaviors to 0.3-0.4 releases in order to make the upcoming 0.2 release as soon as possible.


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