55 Minutes

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55 Minutes is a web development consultancy in San Francisco building apps for design-led businesses and startups. On this blog we discuss the technology tools of our trade: Ruby on Rails, Django, Sass, OS X, and more.

What’s new in fiftyfive‑wicket 4.0

Today we’re releasing an update to fiftyfive‑wicket, our bootstrap and set of useful utilities and components for the Apache Wicket Java web framework. There are some significant behind-the-scenes changes in fiftyfive‑wicket 4.0.

fiftyfive‑wicket helps intermediate to advanced users of Wicket save time by integrating Compass, Apache Shiro security, jQuery, and unit testing tools; it also bundles several shortcuts and reusable components. Learn more about and contribute to this open source project on GitHub.

Sprockets-like JavaScript

If you split your time between Java and Rails development like we do, it is really nice to have a consistent set of conventions between projects. Over the years we’ve taken inspiration from some of the nice features of Rails and built similar conveniences on the Java side.

One of those features is JavaScript resource merging, which we’ve heavily borrowed from the Sprockets project. In fiftyfive‑wicket 4.0, we’ve improved our implementation of this feature so that it more closely follows the syntax of Sprockets. Now we can share JavaScript files between our Rails and Wicket projects and get consistent dependency-resolution behavior.

How it works

In a fiftyfive‑wicket project, provided you are making use of its JavaScript enhancements, you can write Sprockets-like declarations in your JavaScript files like this:

//=require jquery

It looks simple, but it is a powerful concept: now whenever your Wicket pages (or more powerfully, a reusable component) make use of this JavaScript file, jQuery comes along for the ride automatically. fiftyfive‑wicket ensures jQuery is added to the <head>, and will even merge your separate JavaScript resources together to boost performance in production.1 You can use this concept with any JavaScript file, not just jQuery. It makes managing JavaScript in a large component-oriented project much easier.

Other changes in 4.0

For more information, read the full release notes.

Learn more:

Notes

  1. For a more in-depth explanation on resource merging in fiftyfive‑wicket, refer to the Merged JavaScript resources section of the documentation that comes with the fiftyfive‑wicket‑js library.

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