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Developing a web application takes people with different skills, and the JSF specification associates these skill sets with role names. A page author is a person who knows the client-side technology (e.g., HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) but isn't a programmer. An application developer is a Java programmer who understands the application domain and how to develop solutions in terms of business objects. A component writer is a person who develops custom components and connects the user interface developed by the page author to the business objects developed by the Application Developer. The Component Writer must know both Java and the JSF API, and have a good idea about how JSF processes requests and produces responses. This book covers the tasks for all these roles.

What You Need to Know

I assume that the readers of this book have experience with HTML; consequently, I don't explain the standard HTML elements used in the examples. If you want to learn more about HTML, I recommend HTML and XHTML: The Definitive Guide by Chuck Musciano and Bill Kennedy (O'Reilly Media, Inc.). But even if you're an HTML wiz, this may be your first exposure to web applications. I have therefore included a thorough introduction to the HTTP protocol that drives all web applications.

I also assume that you're a programmer familiar with Java programming and object-oriented concepts. If that's not the case, you must learn Java before you continue reading this book. There are plenty of introductory Java books available, for instance Head First Java (O'Reilly) by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates, and Learning Java (O'Reilly) by Patrick Niemeyer and Jonathan Knudsen.

The JSF specification builds on the Java Servlets specification and supports using JSP for page layout. I've included an introduction to both these technologies, enough for you to understand the examples. Before you develop any large, real-world application, though, I recommend that you learn more about these technologies. My own JavaServer Pages (O'Reilly) and Java Servlet Programming by Jason Hunter and William Crawford (O'Reilly) are two good books for these subjects.

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