Friday, June 5, 2009

Help Me Name My Baby

I've got a new baby and I don't know what to name it. It's a new JSF debug/trace/performance tool. If you've ever seen the Facelets or Seam debug page then you've got an idea of what it is. However, this tool goes beyond those to take "state snaps" before and after each phase. And, it keeps all the info from every request and every session, even expired sessions.

Pre-alpha documentation and download is here.

So now you can debug those nasty AJAX components that do four or five JSF requests with every mouse click. You see all the HttpServletRequest data like params, headers, and cookies. And, you can look at the performance data for each request and each phase.

For now, we store this info in memory for you to peruse at your leisure. Later, I'll probably look at other options like saving to a database. That way, it might be a fit tool for production auditing.

So right now you are either thinking this is really cool or really nuts. Judge for yourself, and let me know. And if you have a good name for it please let me know that too. Right now I'm calling it JSFSpy, but I really don't like that name.

There is no dependency on JSFUnit. Installation just requires dropping a single jar into the WEB-INF/lib of your application. But you can do assertions on the collected data from JSFUnit or you can just browse it with the UI. If you want to use the UI, you'll need to put some xhtml files in your web app. Instructions are here.

Here are the screen shots that should tell you exactly what it does. There's more stuff to add like Seam scopes, JSF2 scopes, component tree, and FacesMessages. What do you think so far?

Main screen shows all HttpSessions ever created.

Request view shows all Http/JSF requests for the selected session.

Scoped Data view shows toString() value of each scoped attribute before and after each phase.

HttpServletRequest view shows incoming URL, headers, request params, cookies, etc.

Perf Data View shows which phases completed and how long each one took.