GlassFish, Tomcat, and Oddly Shaped Bicycles
By Geertjan on May 18, 2007
I don't know the right answer to these questions and you're not going to find my opinion on these questions in this blog entry, since I don't really have one. However, people deserving the special attention of cranial surgeons are those who begin their e-mail with: "I haven't used GlassFish for over a year, however it is slow." Those people need to be hoisted into a tight white jacket and then locked up in a ward adjoining the one containing those who start their e-mail with words such as: "Although I haven't used NetBeans IDE for the last five years, here are my thoughts."
The reason for the summary justice that should be meted out for such offences is that these statements are the equivalent of saying: "I haven't ridden a bicycle since 1871, but I hate how the front wheel is so much larger than the back wheel." For those who want to know, this is how a bicycle looked in 1871:
Seriously, how can you have an opinion on a piece of software that is constantly, daily, being improved when you haven't used it for over a year? I'm not sure what the internet equivalent of a slap in the face is, but that's what you should get if you can have any opinion on GlassFish if you haven't used it for some time. In fact, you can't have much of an opinion if you haven't used it recently. Even more in fact, you can start up a NetBeans IDE 6.0 daily build and install the GlassFish V3 Server plugin. (You probably won't find this plugin in milestones yet. It is only in the plugin center for daily builds.) Even though the plugin doesn't do anything with server resources, such as JDBC and JPA, one can already see, with the naked eye, that the start up time is significantly improved. I am no expert, but to me it seems like the start up time is already equivalent to Tomcat. Of course, since the various server resources aren't being started up, because they're not supported yet, it is impossible to say how things will be when the final release of GlassFish comes out. However, effectively, GlassFish currently is nothing more than a web server, so one can, to some extent, already compare it to Tomcat, while realizing of course that it is no where near to being stable. FYI, here's a screenshot of what you'll see after registering the technology preview of GlassFish V3, which you can do once you've installed the aforementioned plugin (I don't like the underside of the tabs, among other things, in the IDE below, on Ubuntu Linux 7.04, running on JDK 6 and above, but I've commented on this before):
Now, start up time of GlassFish may or may not be relevant to whether or not NetBeans IDE should continue to bundle Tomcat, but if a full blown application server (i.e., GlassFish) has the same performance as Tomcat, (note that I'm saying "if"), wouldn't the fact that it is performant and more powerful (i.e., no one denies that GlassFish can do far more than Tomcat, it would be silly to deny that, because it is objectively true) wouldn't that mean that GlassFish is objectively BETTER than Tomcat? I'm happy to be shown to be wrong. Just please don't start out by saying that you haven't used GlassFish for a long time. At the very least, pretend you have... :-)