Not so Naked Objects

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Currently I have noticed that Naked Objects gets more and more blog-time. And every time I wondered why (many?) people found it so intriguing - and I often thought about making a blog about the good and bad about Naked Objects; but I've never found the time.

I still don't have the time to do a detailed blog about it, but just state some facts and/or criticism about the implementation of Naked Objects that I've can't remember seeing listed before.

A. All objects has to implement NakedObject or extend AbstractNakedObject (actually some code in the framework assumes every object is an AbstractNakedObject...but that I guess they will fix a some point).

B. All fields that you want the framework to know about need to be a NakedValue, thus String has to be a TextString, float a FloatingPointNumber, etc. This is all basically done to let the values be mutable and add all the linguistic needs for their (all to easy to criticize, so I won't) automatic GUI.

C. All collections of associated objects need to be NakedCollection which definitly is not in any way a standard java.util.Collection (because they also do not use anything from jdk 1.2, just to be able to run on .Net!).

Each of point A, B and C makes me not like the Naked Objects framework (at least the implementation)! Why ? Because all my objects won't be POJO's anymore - and especially item C, makes it very hard to e.g. use Hibernate (or many other reflection based ORM's) to persist these not so Naked Objects. It at least require some very specific Naked Object code to make it work.

And when we are talking about persistence, then the whole framework does have a built-in persistence engine which is pluggable - but it's very simple, and transaction demarcation looks very hard to control, if even possible at the moment.

But enough harsh criticism ;), the good stuff is their ideas about behavioral complete objects (BCO). From the book: an object should completely model the behavior of the thing that it represents. ... most people continue to design business systems that separate procedure from data, albeit dressed up in the language and technology of object-orientation.

And I do agree to that point - people do get to procedural at times, myself included, and if Naked Objects help us do that a little less I would appreciate it.

Their automatic (and empowering to the users as they call it) UI, is somewhat interesting - but geez, they seriously got to look more into ui design ;) (and yes, I know they did look into ui design to empower their users, but I simply don't think their UI has value in other areas besides being provocative and different ;)

And as I understand the authors then it is the BCO and the automatic created UI that is their focal point, but I don't understand why they have not utilized existing technologies that is close to almost do the the JavaBeans API ? JavaBeans is more than just a naming standard for properties! It was build for allowing IDE's to inspect objects and build intelligent UI's!

It got an Introspection API which one could use to discover all the details of an object and the API is extensible in a much more non-intrusive way than Naked Object does it.

What about using standard property listeners ? Why limit you to use jdk 1.1 ? Who want's to only use Vector, and why not utilize the Collections API interfaces to make their object structure much more standard compliant ?

In the end I encourage the authors to work on their core concepts: BCO and automatic UI's (even though I don't think it will cover more than a few useful applications). But they should really look into using more JDK API's for this, so the framework becomes more useful in real-life applications.

P.S. And why is their catch all blocks and printStackTrace() multiple places in the source of a system that candidates for being used in more than just prototype systems ?

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