Sightly/HTL Container without OSGi

XIN Solution's Sightly/HTL Container is a stand-alone application library and container that can be used by frontend developers to develop their HTL templating code as if they were using a full-fledged AEM (Adobe Experience Manager) instance.

It features:

  • A renderer for .htl files.
  • Functionality that allows you to hook up your HTL files to local JSON fixtures, or external sources (REST APIs, Groovy scripts, etc.)
  • a small standalone Java web-server that can be run without any lengthy setup process to render out your HTL files;
  • a reusable implementation library that can be fit to work with any Servlet container.
  • a foundation using the Open Source Sightly/HTL grammar that is at the base of the AEM implementation.

Advantages for Developers

Some highlights as to why the HTL Contianer is useful to you as a developer:

  • you can implement your frontend code using Sightly templates without having to know AEM inside and out;
  • components may be updated much faster, because the translation step between templating-language-x and HTL disappears;
  • if done right, you could reuse AEM components in other Java-projects running outside of AEM.

Advantages for Businesses

Some highlights as to why the HTL Container is useful for your business:

  • Your development company can offer an edge to the competition by promising a reduction in implementation costs using this tool;
  • Your company can create a set of AEM components that they can reuse easily;
  • Your company can get up and running in no time without the help of external AEM consultancy;
  • A strategy could be put in place to enable re-use of frontend assets between multiple JAVA systems.

The problem with frontend development and AEM.

Through our work with the excellent Adobe Experience Manager platform, we have encountered a number of situations in which it became apparent that there is a schism between design agencies and their frontend development teams, and AEM component developers.

Oftentimes, the tools used by frontend developers are incompatible with the component strategies outlined by AEM's best practices. For example, a component set's HTML and CSS is developed using a set of SCSS and Handlebars templates.

After completion they are handed over to an AEM developer whom analyses the code and adapts them to fit an AEM component approach. This often involves slicing bits of HTML, arranging client libraries and adding the dynamic elements configured through authoring dialogs.

This approach wastes time and money at several points in the development cycle.

Ideally, frontend developers are able to nimbly write frontend code (using the tools they prefer) without having the install a full-fledged AEM development environment onto their computers. Adobe's HTL implementation is very much hard-wired to require an OSGi container, this is suboptimal and overkill in many ways.

To alleviate these problems, we have developed the Sightly/HTL Container.

Note: We're currently in the process of opening up the source of the HTL Container. Keep posted to get access to the repo shortly!

Disclaimer: The container is not a 100% equal to the HTL implementation inside of AEM (certain functions such as date manipulations are missing); but all the essentials are there.

Need some help organising your frontend workflow?

Do you need some help organising the workflow your frontend developers use to communicate with the backend? Get in touch!
Get in Touch »