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How to Add a UI to a Jini Service
A Look at the Jini Community's ServiceUI Project
by Bill Venners
First Published in JavaWorld, October 1999

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Creating the ServiceUI Project

I must have subconsciously taken all these comments about someone outside of Sun starting a service UI project as hints, because right after I read Ken Arnold's post, I went over to and created a project called ServiceUI. I did this partly because the message that Sun wanted someone external to start the project had been firmly imprinted on my brain, partly as a personal experiment in chaos -- I mean, democracy -- and partly because it was so fast and easy to create a project at that I didn't think much about it before I did it.

Shortly after creating the ServiceUI project, however, I had a panic attack. What business did I have starting this project? Shouldn't I have at least posted a query to the JINI-USERS list to build a consensus before just creating the project like some trigger happy cowboy? With time, however, my anxieties were calmed. Over the next few weeks, many people joined the project and an interesting and fruitful discussion commensed on the ServiceUI mailing list. So far, the project has been kind of like a group of engineers sitting around a virtual table in a virtual conference room, discussing a design problem and zeroing in on a solution. I have served as scribe, attempting to capture the consensus of the group in writing. (Our current best proposal forms the bulk of this article.)

I would say that the ServiceUI experiement has been successful in general. Our main problem, as I see it, has been simply that because no one is getting paid to do this and we are all busy, progress has been slow. But we have, nevertheless, made quite a bit of progress. Hopefully our work will be fast enough to do some good. One of the most important ingredients needed to establish a de facto standard is to get it out there early, before people get too heavily invested in other approaches.

We still have quite a bit of work to do at the ServiceUI project. I am hoping to get the proposal quite solid by the next Jini Community summit, which will be held in Annapolis, Maryland in October. Someone from our project, perhaps me, will be presenting the proposal at that meeting.

The rest of this article as published in JavaWorld gave the current working proposal of the ServiceUI project. To see the current proposal, visit the ServiceUI project pages. We welcome any feedback you may have. I've created my usual discussion forum at, so that's a good place to submit comments. The other option is to join the ServiceUI project at and post comments to its mailing list.

Portions of this article were first published under the name The How to attach a user interface to a Jini service in JavaWorld, a division of Web Publishing, Inc., October 1999.

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