Inverse the visual development support in Eclipse, Netbeans and IntelliJ

Support for visual development in today’s Java IDEs basically depends on the popularity of the framework and the IDE preference of the framework developers. All of them support visual development for JSF but support for other rendering technologies are strongly depending on the IDE.
My idea is to externalize the definition of visual components. If I want to have visual development support for my ‘foo’ rendering technology with a palette of components, I can drag and drop to the screen, I just describe them in a common standard document and import them into my favourite IDE.

I have actually no idea, if people are already thinking of this approach but I want to publish it, just to make sure it is not lost in translation.

I think such a standard could look like the following:

  1. Name of component
  2. Short description
  3. Text (HTML, XHTML, JSP) to be inserted when component is dropped
  4. Image to be displayed on a widget palette
  5. HTML or XHTML or text or image to be rendered in preview mode

We might have a kind of header, body, footer area. The body area can be set to CHILD, which basically means that it renders the content inside.

  1. Optional and required attributes
    Required attributes pop up directly when I drop the component onto the screen
  2. A short cut which can be used for autocompletion, when editing in text mode

Apart from allowing better visual development support on all IDEs, I could define my own set of more complex or composite components and use them for development.

What do you think about the idea?

Best Regards / Viele Grüße

Sebastian Hennebrueder