Spring WebFlow plugin for IDEA

Are there any plans to write an editor plugin for Spring WebFlow? To quote from the WebFlow site, "Spring Web Flow (SWF) is a core module of the Spring Framework focused on the definition and orchestration of page flow within a web application." (see http://opensource2.atlassian.com/confluence/spring/display/WEBFLOW/Home ). I've found WebFlow really excellent for defining complex page flows. It's based on XML configuration files; a graphical editor would make it so much easier to visualise the flows.

Eclipse already has a graphical editor for WebFlow (see http://springide.org/project/wiki/WebFlowEditor ).

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It all looks very pretty but I always wonder how much things like this actually help our productivity... I mean, the non-technical manager or average coder loves things like this since it allows them to "see code", but I would think most experienced programmers have an innate ability to visualize flow without tools like this?

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Hmm... should probably clarify. I've looked briefly at the Eclipse tool and it's kinda nice but to be honest I'm just not sure how much use I'd get out of it even if I did a lot of work with SWF (which I admittedly don't) and I was wondering if others would gain anything.

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I agree with you to some extent; I've been using Web Flow for some time just by hand-editing the XML files in IDEA, whose syntax-checking and -autocompletion certainly helps. But a graphical editor, or at least viewer, would be nice.

Actually my main reason for asking for a graphical Web Flow editor, is to be able to convince the pointy-haired bosses that they should shell out $$ for IDEA rather than use Eclipse. They point to the "eye-candy" plugins that are available for Eclipse, such as the SpringIDE plugin (see http://springide.org/project/wiki/BeansGraph ). I've had an uphill battle promoting IDEA in my organisation because it doesn't have as many plugins as Eclipse.

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Funnily enough your reply doesn't surprise me Rob. I think we all have similar problems when convincing "the suits" to shell out for IDEA. They hear "Eclipse this" and "NetBeans that" and its easy to buy into the hype since it's free, the multitude of pretty plugins make it even easier for them to believe it.

I think JetBrains "Companions Program" is a great idea and should help a lot, especially when they also start promoting some of the fantastic non-commercial plugins available since then our bosses will be able to see for themselves the depth of community IDEA really has.

Also, as some of us have been saying for a while, it would be great if Alex or somebody else on the marketing team could start putting together some "why IDEA" documentation or presentations we can download and use for that purpose.

The book "IntelliJ IDEA in Action" can't hurt when it finally gets released either since managers always like tools with published support. The JetBrainers blogs can't do any harm and it would also be nice to see onBoard Magazine resurrected somewhat since that's been stagnant for almost a year now.

There are lots of things that can be done to help us sell IDEA to "suits" without taking up valuable JetBrains developer time. That's not to say an SWF plugin wouldn't be a nice feature, just that there are also other less development-centric ways to help us get IDEA into our organizations.

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Yep, I guess you're right. Still, I'd like to cast my vote for a "Spring Web Flow graphical editor" as the most useful feature on my plugin wishlist, in case someone at Jetbrains is looking for features to implement.

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