Friday, August 30, 2013

JSF 2.x Tip of the Day: FacesMessage Severity Differences Between Mojarra and MyFaces


We encountered an inconsistency between MyFaces and Mojarra that I was surprised was not addressed a long time ago. The issue has to do with the ordinal values assigned to the FacesMessage.Severity. Mojarra uses a zero(0) based level of Severity and MyFaces uses a one(1) based Severity level. As a result, we were trying to use a <rich:notifyMessages/> component with, as you can expect, some unexpected results.

One of the items I always preach is to code to the API. If you code to the API, then you can switch out the implementations should the need occur. This is a best practice, but can be undermined by little subtleties like this. Please don't get me wrong, both Mojarra and MyFaces are great implementations. It is these fine differences that should be consistent that we need to work on to make sure that we are consistent, and that the dream is real; switching implementations will not be painful.

RichFaces is a good framework, and folks like Brian Leathem take personal pride in making it a good implementation to run on top of either Mojarra, or MyFaces. I was really surprised by my discovery of an issue with <rich:notifyMessages/> since the <rich:messages/> works correctly. The problem is focused on the ordinal value I mentioned. I opened a JIRA issue with both MyFaces and RichFaces around the ordinal issue. Please see the references below for details.

However, I needed a solution not just report an issue. So I came up with a 10¢ solution based on some work I did at home last night, and a great suggestion by one of my team. I wanted to publish an article, a complaint, and a solution that others may need. These work arounds tend to become more common when doing cross-platform development, and sharing is paramount.


The RichFaces <rich:notifyMessages/> does not work consistently across JSF implementations based on Severity ordinal values.


Implement a method that checks the FacesMessage.Severity ordinal values, and change icons and CSS to correct the differences between implementations. We can accomplish this using CSS, and Expression Language (EL) combined with a page backing bean. In this case, I use a simple page backing bean, but it could be converted to a custom EL function.

The code for this example can be found here: myfaces-rf-example



This simple solution allows us to check to see if the implementation starts at 0, or 1 and changes the icons and CSS.