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Your First Project

Creating a New Project

  1. Install WOLips
    Follow the instructions here: The WOLips Installation Tutorial, to install WOLips on your machine.

    Once you get the general idea of how a WebObjects application is setup, you'll want to add the incredibly powerful Project Wonder to any new application you start, but for the purposes of this tutorial, it is not necessary.

  2. Open the WOLips perspective.
    From the Window menu select: Open Perspective > Other... > WOLips
  3. Create the Project
    From the File menu, select New > WebObjects Application
  4. The New WebObjects Project Wizard
    The wizard is displayed. Enter a name for your project such as MyFirstApp. Then click Next.
    Figure 1-1 The New WebObjects Project Assistant
  5. Change the default packages, if you want. In the rest of this tutorial I will refer to the packages as and Once you are done, click Finish (you don't need to worry about the other options for now).
Figure 1-2 The New WebObjects Project Assistant

Get familiar with your project's organization

In the left pane entitled WO Package Explorer, you will see a folder icon with your applications name. Click on the triangle next to your application's folder to see the organization of your project.

The directory names outlined below are important because the ant build process for a WebObjects project assumes this naming convention. There's nothing to stop you calling those groups by other names like src, rez, web, woc, etc., but then you'd need to change a lot of other stuff too, so don't – it's not worth it.

Figure 1-3 The WOLips Perspective in Eclipse

This naming scheme ("Sources", "Resources", "WebServerResources", "Components", ...) is referred to as the "Fluffy Bunny" naming. This origins of this appellation are lost in the mists of time, but it is referred to in many places and it's good to know what on earth people are talking about!

Running the Project

Without doing anything else, you have a WebObjects application ready to run. Select Run as... WOApplication by right-clicking on your Project folder or clicking on your project folder and then selecting Run from the menu bar.

After a moment a dialog window appears "Select Java Application." Select Application - and then click OK. (After you do this the first time in a project, you can just click Run. It will keep track of which application you want to run.) A couple of quick moments should pass and your browser should open a new window with "Hello World".

Congratulations! You just created and run your first WebObjects Application. Cool, huh?

As a note, when you are done testing an app, make sure you stop it by clicking the red square in the console window at the bottom of the Eclipse window. If you forget and try to run the app again you may get errors.

Editing a Component

Well "Hello World" is about as boring a web page as one can make. So feel free to change it. In your project's Components window, you can edit the HTML of your component by double-clicking the component itself or it's related HTML file.

Figure 1-4 Groups, Files, & Related Files

You can even change the default editor that Eclipse uses the edit your HTML file so you can instead use the Aptana's editor if you plan on adding a lot of Javascript or and external editor such as the brilliant TextMate. In this tutorial, we will stick to the WOLips default editor so that we have instant access to the WOD file.

Figure 1-5 WOLips Component Editor


Let's Make It Dyanamic

Well, there are certainly easier ways of making static web pages and using WebObjects for that purpose would defeat the purpose of developing using WebObjects. So let's start to learn how to make our pages a little more dynamic.

A WebObjects Component

As mentioned before, the looks and functionality of a WebObjects component are defined by several files:

XCode's one redeeming feature regarding WebObjects was the WebObjects Builder. It allowed, in my opinion, the developer to quickly "wire-up" the HTML file. While editing, the HTML file, you could easily access methods and variables in the related Java file including the getter and setter methods, and quickly bind them to the component in the HTML document by clicking and dragging. In WOLips, this must all be done a bit more manually. As of OS X 10.5, WOBuilder is longer supported, but there is a movement to get an WOBuilder replacement project started.

The Main Component

Every WebObjects application includes a Main component by default. The HTML file is mostly empty except for "Hello World." Likewise, the Java file contains very little. We will learn how to add methods and variables to the component.

Adding Methods

Let's start by editing the file.

  1. Click on the Main WO component and then double-click the related file.

Figure 2-1 in the Eclipse Java Editor

Figure 2-2 The Eclipse Toolbar with WOLips installed

Figure 2-3 The Commands Associated with Component Icons
(You can find this list by clicking on Edit->Insert->)


    WORK IN PROGRESS - More content and screenshots to be added.