Suggestions for ZK framework and pricing

asked 2012-08-29 13:32:49 +0800

Vash1986 gravatar image Vash1986

Hello everybody. This is a thread especially targeted to the Zkoss team.

First of all: well done. To me, zkoss seems way better than JSF in terms of documentation, performance, usability and features. I use it since a year almost, and must say it's one of the best things I ever used for ajax web apps.

That said, in order to improve your software and your marketing strategies, I will give you my personal feedback on two things which are arguable on ZK.

1- While the ZK engine is something really great, the components are quite poor. Both in quality and quantity. The themes, the styling and the whole graphics is quite bad. Also, zk misses some really important components. I don't know if I can make names of other frameworks within this forum... feel free to moderate my post. But, did you ever have a look at the PrimeFaces showcase? All the components are absolutely spectacular. Very nice theme, beautiful buttons, boxes, windows, rounded angles, shadows, transparency. And they also have more than 100 components, which I really miss here in ZK, like the growl and message components.

2- Pricing and spring support. I think that Spring support is quite fundamental here, it's not something that should be paid an extra 399$. And even then, 899$ for the pro version is really out of question. It's more than half my monthly pay (I live in Italy) and I'm not even using ZK all year since I do also desktop projects and consulting.

In fact, I still stick with ZK CE for those reasons. And perhaps many others. I cannot buy a 899$ framework and then have to write my own JDBC, AOP and everything else Spring has, nor can I pay further 399$ for zkspring. And even if all this cost much less, I simply have not the skills or the time to worry about restyling the components and create new ones (i'm the classic java programmer who hates js and css).

I love the ZK engine and strongly suggest to make zk+spring integration FREE and seamless. And please include a skilled webdesigner and artist in your team.

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answered 2012-08-30 14:13:19 +0800

gganassin gravatar image gganassin flag of Luxembourg
540 6

updated 2012-08-30 14:34:33 +0800


i read carefully your post and i'd like to share with you my experience: i don't want to flame up your thread.

Let's say that the beauty is not an absolute concept: what is pretty for you maybe is ugly for me. In my opinion ZK's components are outstanding (apart from the fact that they are 200+). What component is missing and impossible to self implement in ZK?
Apart from that... it's really funny & easy to customize the final layout via CSS or client-side programming. I hate js too but twice every 5 years is ok for me to invest one week to play with jQuery "nativelly".

About the pricing: i'm working with ZK since 2007 and i managed to do everything and the opposite of everything with the CE. If you want to play with Spring/JDBC/AOP you can do everything by your own without problems just checkin what the community presents as documentation and smalltalks... there is no need to do exoteric stuffs just a little bit of integration and extension!
We are now moving to EE only because the size of the project justify the cost... but otherwise really CE is rock-solid and versatile.

Just my 2 cents!

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answered 2012-08-30 19:49:33 +0800

terrytornado gravatar image terrytornado flag of Germany
9393 3 7 16

updated 2012-08-30 19:49:47 +0800

100% agree with Giovanni.

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answered 2012-09-06 12:58:13 +0800

Vash1986 gravatar image Vash1986

Hi Giovanni. Thanks for your reply. These are the components i am really missing in zk:


As for spring integration: don't reinvent the weel. If it already exists (zkspring), don't write it by your own. But 400 bucks is quite exaggerated, at least to me.

As for CSS-javascript: I don't think it's fun to do such stuff by hand when you have additional 8+ hours of programming to do in your day.

And yes, the Community Edition is rock solid and versatile, in that we agree.

Best Regards

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answered 2012-09-06 18:12:44 +0800

czynga gravatar image czynga

Personally I find PrimeFaces look and feel a lot less attractive than ZK, it all depends who you ask. As to missing components you may find showNotification useful, the last time I've checked it was not on demo pages.

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answered 2012-09-07 10:02:45 +0800

Vash1986 gravatar image Vash1986

Really? Well I guess it's a matter of personal taste then for the UI attractiveness. Thank you very much for the showNotification component, it's very useful and it's a pitty that it's missing on the demo and on the sandbox.

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answered 2012-09-08 04:07:53 +0800

rdgrimes gravatar image rdgrimes
735 7

Although I'm not a member of the ZK team, I hope you don't mind if I share my perspective.

In terms of quantity of components, I think 200+ components competes with any other framework on the market. PrimeFaces only touts 100+ components. As far as quality, I'm not sure if you mean appearance, but I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense for the ZK team to prettify them beyond what they already have because the probably realize most of us are going to customize the selected theme to give it our own look and feel anyway. In comparing to PrimeFaces, I didn't find their look all that great. If, by quality, you mean functional performance, I really haven't found the functionality or performance lacking.

In terms of pricing, maybe I'm a minority voice, but I want the ZK team to charge a comfortable amount so they can stay in business and not do to me like other vendors have, which is a) end of life their product, b) throw it over to an open source team because it wasn't a profitable enough venture for them.

As far as your last suggestion that they hire a better designer and artist, I would suggest that's your job or your company's job. Again, it makes no sense for them to polish them up so that you or your company don't have to hire a CSS specialist and artist. When I was doing Adobe Flex and Flash, for as great of a company as Adobe is at graphics, they didn't provide me anything more than a couple basic themes. And, if the ZK team did produce knock-your-socks-off themes, given your complaint about pricing, you probably wouldn't want to pay for the extra nice theme anyway, or you'd complain they didn't provide it in the color theme you wanted.

When I was using a Novell product, those idiots charged my company $10,000 per year for "upgrade assurance" even if they did't provide any major releases during that given year. Other companies have similar pricing for enterprise tools. Being a developer for 30 years, I've seen a lot of pricing structures. What ZK charges is a bargain in comparison.

The problem with the advent of Open Source, is everyone expects everything to be free or dirt cheap, but they don't want to give away their own work at such a low rate.

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answered 2012-09-08 14:30:21 +0800

czynga gravatar image czynga

Apologies to the OP for jumping into this thread but discussion is getting really interesting for me as I am a big fan and consumer of Open Source and the previous message has twisted my nerve a little bit ;)

I was totally agreeing with the pricing concerns. In fact I would go even further and moan about CE version being kind of neglected or feature complete, depending on how you look at it. Every time I read the release notes I'm a bit jealous that all the good stuff goes into paid version only. Especially with MVVM currently taking over the stage, I think that is where Potix will try to "trap" users and push them into paid licence.

But then the last sentence just hit me:
"The problem with the advent of Open Source, is everyone expects everything to be free or dirt cheap, but they don't want to give away their own work at such a low rate"
This is so true and eyes opening. It's just too easy to forget that at the end of the day we can have the full blown EE version for free, we only have to apply the same rule of open source to our own work... and suddenly it's not so attractive any more.

So thank you ZK team and keep up the good work!

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answered 2012-09-10 22:28:08 +0800

Vash1986 gravatar image Vash1986

I didn't figure out zkoss has so much components. But it doesn't seem so to me... perhaps there are many missing from the demo and the sandbox?

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answered 2012-10-03 02:10:59 +0800

TheAce gravatar image TheAce

My 2 cents,

I had started my project using Primefaces for the reason of the 1st post, meaning that ZK didn't look as good as other frameworks. But, since I was evaluating which framework to use I had choose to give ZK and Primefaces a try.... Since I could not do anything with ZK, i tried with Primefaces and at my huge surprise everything was so easy.... Maybe I was more understanding how it was working than ZK....

Now, let me say one thing... after a few week to make my prototype working in Primefaces i faced some walls... trying to solve things, taking forever and then reading again on different frameworks like vaadin, zk, icefaces.... I have choosen to give another try to ZK. This time really focusing on porting my Primefaces prototype to ZK. This time maybe i got under the right documentation/tutorial I have been able to port the prototype in only a few days.


ZK have shown me over the time (Been around 1 year), that ZK have no limitations. More and more I discover about ZK and it amaze me how this framework is built from bottom up. For sure there are some things that looks not right but there are ways to fix it in a better way unlinke other frameworks.

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answered 2012-10-29 17:32:15 +0800

Steva77 gravatar image Steva77 flag of Italy
1014 3

My two cents... I tried to give a chance to JSF2 (since I was asked "why paying so much ZK if JSF2 is for free?!"... ok...).
When I tried twice to find documentation that allowed me to be productive in a week and obtained
1) server errors for broken links, and
2) very hard-to-read tutorials,
I said ok - the prices they ask is at least for the documentation they write - LOVELY.
I'll spread the word about that indeed.
And I agree they should anyway try to keep the demo really up-to-date!

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Asked: 2012-08-29 13:32:49 +0800

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Last updated: Nov 05 '12

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