30 April 2008

Uh oh! I guess I was asleep at the wheel on this one! SpringSource (the company that was formerly called Interface21 and (obviously) which funded the development / growth of the Spring Framework) has announced a Java application server. I am more than a little leary about this, however. It's not based on Java EE (yet, though apparently that's not out of the picture with Java EE6's "profiles"), and is instead a sort of best-of-breed setup of Tomcat and a slew of components from the "Spring Portfolio."  (Think: Spring web flow, Spring web services, Spring LDAP.. is Spring batch in there?)

Could be interesting. Using OSGi to sidestep the whole kernel architecture issue was smart, and reflective of what everybody seems to be doing. OSGi seems to be the "next big thing." Super packages, a proposed feature set in Java 7, reflects this.

Do you remember when there was just a Spring IOC container, and then for a long time, a Spring IOC container, a web framework and a page flow framework? I suppose I should've seen this coming when the dependency injection container grew web-framework legs.

Anyway, the application server looks interesting (at this second I cant find any mention of it on either SpringFramework.org or SpringSource.com), but infoq.com has an interesting bit on it (http://www.infoq.com/news/2008/04/springsource-app-platform). They've taken Tomcat (which they contend - rightly so - is all the application server 80% of JEE users are using anyway) and loaded it up with the "Spring Portfolio" and - using OSGi - have provided a kernel to service the components deployed to the server. In short, it sounds like a full blown application server wherein the lookups have been removed. I am not sure if this is revolutionary or evolutionary. If they've merely provided an OSGi core and brought commodity libraries into the fold to provide an integrated solution, then I'm not sure how it'll help people who've already got a JBoss or a Glassfish working.  If however you're looking to craft a "lightweight" solution from scratch, maybe this is just what the doctor ordered.

I don't really like the tact SpringSource.com seems to be taking with their marketing: (from their marketing)

"Spring Enterprise Edition is certified and warranted to be virus-free and has undergone rigorous testing to ensure that you receive the highest reliability. Indemnification is provided at the gold and platinum subscription levels. Indemnity provides organizations with additional peace of mind and the assurance that SpringSource promptly rectifies any potential intellectual property issues."

Is that really an issue? Viruses? Did they mean bugs? I don't know that I've ever had to run a virus scan on a Java assembly before I used it.

I love the Spring framework. I'm sorry to see such pandering.  I wonder what else the technology will yield.