Sunday, January 30, 2011

Java EE: The dead man walking... I'm not Dead Yet!

N49 Stellar Debris
I just read Andrew Binstock's Integration Watch column with the same title as this post. The majority of the article is interesting, and tells a little history about Java Enterprise Edition (EE) over the years. He makes a comment that was very well put about Spring.
...Spring is an omnibus solution that rides on the entire Java EE stack, it does not reduce the complexity so much as mask it.
A very well put quote. I am a more casual Spring user than advocate. I think it fills in nicely where the gaps lay for me in the EE specification. I believe that we should use tools to solve problems, and this is one such tool. I think that the quote sums up our need for Spring because the specification is lacking.

His follow-on comments on the status of Java EE 6 implementations is correct about the number, but he misses the point that there are a number of folks who are working on implementations. Weblogic should be EE 6 compliant this year.  Caucho is working on a web profile compliant version, and the others will follow. They must, or will be left behind. The nice thing about specifications is that it keeps moving the bar.

The tone seems to indicate that GlassFish does not seem capable of enterprise adoption, and that we must wait for the "big" boys to come and play. This is simply not the case. GlassFish 3.0.1 is a fine solution, and most developers would suffice with the web profile as he previously noted with Apache Tomcat. If you need enterprise robustness, GlassFish 3.1 should be available in the next few months. I just checked the timeline and needs to be updated. I will just leave it at that. I have 3.1 build 38 running, and it works just fine.

I disagree with Alex Handy that Java EE is no longer the future of enterprise Java. We are not on the cusp, and this is not an end. GlassFish is innovation. Oracle has been very excited about the modularization. This has made it easier for them to incorporate in their flagship products. Innovation is clearly apparent in the number of other platforms which include the various GlassFish modules in their products.

The demise of dynamic language enthusiasm is real, but GlassFish will continue to support running these VM languages as first class citizens. My Redmine (RoR) instance on JRuby clearly demonstrates this.

The IOUC/JUG Leaders Summit at Oracle had a number of talks about the future of EE and its direction. The direction from Oracle was actually very open for EE 8. They have a number of items for EE 7 that they would like to see, and will provide JSRs for them. There is a general JSR clean-up effort on the part of Oracle. They want to deliver innovation and a path forward, but would like to finish, or close the open JSR promises to the community. That was very apparent to me.

Oracle will provide its plans on EE 7 sooner than later, and I don't want to preempt them in anyway. I would note that they are sensitive to the cloud computing environment. We discussed Amazon's Beanstalk service, and some of us expressed a desire to see GlassFish EE 6 as an option. I think that would be a win-win for both companies. We encouraged the Oracle staff present to consider it. This is not tantamount to some announcement, but a desire by those present in the room.

Andrew was correct on the path forward must include cloud computing, but we are not a dead man walking. His reference to monolithic application servers is actually old school. GlassFish is modular, and will continue towards becoming more modular along with Java SE including JSR-294.

My response to Andrew's article is simply a piece from Monty Python:

The Dead Collector: Bring out yer dead.
[a man puts a body on the cart]
Large Man with Dead Body: Here's one.
The Dead Collector: That'll be ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: What?
Large Man with Dead Body: Nothing. There's your ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
Large Man with Dead Body: Yes he is.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not.
The Dead Collector: He isn't.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm getting better.
Large Man with Dead Body: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
I just hope I don't get hit with a club.
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