QA#4: Java EE 6: Developers focus on business logic, Much lower TCO - by Johan Vos

Jigsaw puzzle, modular, standard, integrated specifications, simple, annotation-driven, standards compliance, vendor independence, and light-weight deployment are some of the benefits highlighted by the Java EE 6 community.

In the Java EE 6 Feedback from Community series you can learn about how Java EE 6 is currently being used in production, development and deployment environments used within the community, and even feature requests for Java EE 7.

This entry comes from Johan Vos who started to work with Java in 1995. He worked on the Java Linux port with the Blackdown team. He has been doing Java consulting and development for a number of customers in completely different areas. Over the years, he has been active in a number of Java-based community projects, e.g. OSGi, the Glassfish project and JFXtras.org. With LodgON, the company he co-founded, he is mainly working on Java solutions for social networking software. Since he can't make a choice between embedded development and enterprise development, his main focus is on end-to-end Java, combining the strengths of back-end systems and embedded devices. His favorite technologies are currently Java EE / Glassfish at the backend and JavaFX at the frond-end.

Here is a short summary of Java EE 6 from him:

Developers can concentrate on business logic, Java EE 6 is providing a standard for the infrastructure

Read on for other fun stuff ...

1. How are you using Java EE 6 today ? What limits your adoption ?

I'm using Java EE 6 in most of the Enterprise projects I'm doing. This is not a requirement, but it turns out that when talking to people about what they really want, the Java EE 6 platform provides lots of the components that are needed to create an end-to-end solution.

Java EE 6 has evolved since the announcement of J2EE. It became more usable, and easier to develop and configure. In the past, a large number of non-standard libraries and frameworks have been developed since J2EE was too complex for most simple problems. The Java EE expert group clearly has learned from these evolutions, and the current Java EE 6 spec provides the functionality that is available in those frameworks, but as a standard. This is a huge benefit.


2. What Java EE 6 technologies are you using and why ?

I often use JPA. In earlier versions of the Java Enterprise standard, it was very hard to use the persistence layer in order to connect to a database. It was often easier to write your own connection pooling system, and perform SQL queries. But with JPA 2.0, it became much easier to manage the persistence.

I'm using (stateless) Session Beans as well, including the new Singleton Bean, combined with the @Startup annotation. The latter makes it much easier to perform tasks that need to be done only once.

I'm also using JAX-RS and Jersey frequently. In particular, I use Jersey for the communication with clients based on XML. The Transaction API is also something that I often use, either explicitly or implicitly.

3. What is your development and deployment environment ?

I'm mainly using NetBeans 6.9 on Linux. I download the full version of NetBeans, since I need both Java EE as well as JavaFX. NetBeans 6.9 comes pre-installed with Glassfish 3.0.1, so there is no need to download a whole application server to start Java EE 6 development.


4. What previous versions of Java EE / J2EE have you used ? How has the migration to Java EE 6 benefited ?

I've been working with Java EE since version J2EE 1.2. I have always avoided to migrate projects from older to newer versions, but I always start new projects on the latest released version. Early version of J2EE required more implementation-specific XML configuration (remember the sun-cmp-mappings.xml), and once you've done this you don't want to change this. Once projects are in deployment, you cannot easily change the runtime procedures.

Operations are often carried out by a different group than the development team. New versions of the J2EE/Java EE standard require changes in development but also in operations.

One of the benefits of Java EE 6, however, is that it also simplify the packaging and deployment procedures. Using annotations in JAX-RS and Servlets, for example, eliminates the need of XML-based configuration files. And often these configuration files make the handover from development to production deployment difficult. Clearly, the TCO for an average Enterprise project can be much lower when using Java EE6.

5. Describe the benefits of Java EE 6 to you in 120 characters.

Developers can concentrate on business logic, JavaEE6 is providing a standard for the infrastructure.


6. Advice for anybody who is looking at Java EE 6 for their next project ?

Use what you need. Nothing less, and nothing more. Although much easier than 10 years ago, Java Enterprise development can be complex. There are 2 situations you have to avoid:

  1. Sometimes, developers don't know about the infrastructure already provided by the Java EE platform, and they are duplicating functionality in their own code. If you look at the JPA and the JTA for example, that provides functionality that is needed in most projects.
  2. In a number of other cases, I see developers using features that are available in the appserver, but that are not needed in their application. The Java EE 6 spec is a composition of a number of specifications, and you don't have to use all the sub-specs.

7.  What new features you'd like to see in Java EE 7 ?

Java EE 6 brought simplicity in complex enterprise applications, and made a significant move towards web-based projects. Indeed, the Java EE 6 specification is rather focused on the Web. While there are many usecases and real-world scenarios that have the Web as the most important client, I think there should be more attention for other clients, i.e. PDA, mobile phone, TV, JavaCard. Easy integration capabilities between those low-resource devices and high-end backend system will drive the adoption of Java EE.

From another point of view, more integration with the environment would be useful. For example, in a number of cases I would like to execute a specific EJB-call once CPU load is below 50%, or once disk usage is too high. I understand this is rather difficult to standardize in a non-platform dependent way.

Thanks you Johan for taking time to prepare the answers!

Are you using, consulting, training, authoring books, etc in Java EE 6 ? Drop a comment on this blog and I'll line you up for the Q&A session :-)

The Java EE 6 hub is your key resource to learn all about the technology.

And you can always try all Java EE 6 features in GlassFish. Here is an extensive of Java EE 6 & GlassFish demos is available.

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Arun Gupta is a technology enthusiast, a passionate runner, author, and a community guy who works for Oracle Corp.


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