Application Server User Experience: Is GlassFish #1?

Last week, we were having lunch with a colleague who joined the GlassFish team (Welcome Paul!). We were discussing GlassFish (overview article). GlassFish V2 has enterprise features such as clustering (screencast, blog), high availability (screencast), load balancing (GF page, blog) and Microsoft interoperability with Web Services Interoperability Technology (WSIT). "Usability" came out as one of the key strength of GlassFish. That's not a surprise since we have been focusing on user experience for a while. Others have also noticed.

The Java Posse folks during their recap of JavaOne talked about GlassFish. One of the comment was about ease of use - "stuff just worked!" (podcast - around 17:15 to 24:30).

GlassFish administration console is often revered by users... "It has an easy administrative interface compared to other famous application servers. And it's globally easier to manage and maintain (clear presentations and clear separation). Medium memory footprint compared to other app servers. That's very good for development and in deployment." - Godefroy Reigler, GR Solutions, France

Joe Nguyen from Lockheed Martin, USA shared the following: "Compared to the J2EE application servers like Oracle Application Server, IBM WebSphere, and BEA WebLogic, Sun's application server is by far the simplest and most intuitive system for users to develop and deploy their J2EE applications.." (>>more)

Jason Lee in a recent blog mentions while comparing GlassFish and OC4J consoles - "The GlassFish console, on the other hand, seems to have chosen ease of use, presenting the user with shortcuts to commonly performed functions, including deployment, monitoring, “other tasks” and support/help."

Software architect Guillaume Bilodeau from Auchan shared his GlassFish experience: "GlassFish impressed us from the beginning, particularly because of its intuitive web-based management interface. Deploying the existing applications was painless, requiring us only to write simple deployment descriptors; we did not meet any classloading issues." (>>more)

PeerFlix "enjoyed the server's administration ease of use with the CLI tools, manually editable configuration files and NetBeans integration." (>>more)

"Admin GUI and CLI alone are true differentiators [over JBoss]", said one community user. (>>more)

Researchers at Harvard University found the GlassFish server environment to be "very configurable and easy to use." (>>more)

So, what's your experience with GlassFish? Have you tried it yet? I must admit I have a bias towards GlassFish. But, I would really like to know about your experience.

Comments:

I have been a user of weblogic since 5.1 and a recent user of glassfish v2 since around build 28. I also agree that the admin console is very simple and nicely laid out, but I actually avoid it because it's too slow. The login page takes anywhere from 5-10 seconds to load and all the other pages take too long for this ADD developer. Since I am using OpenESB I use the netbeans 6 server tab to start/stop glassfish and to install/uninstall jbi components and deploy/undeploy service assemblies. I think if it was a little faster I might use the web console. It's like the jsp's aren't pre-compiled. And I don't think its my machine. It's a Dell D820 with 2GB RAM. Thanks for listening.

Posted by James Lorenzen on July 10, 2007 at 12:12 PM PDT #

Hi James: Thanks for letting me know about the login page response time. I will let the Admin console team know about this. BTW: There is a weekly community meeting on every Thursday. Please feel free to join this meeting (details) if you are interested. You may also open an issue using the Issue Tracker. Thanks for using GlassFish!

Posted by Nazrul on July 12, 2007 at 04:59 PM PDT #

James, I agree with you around b28 time frame we were switching from our old JSP based framework to our new JSF based framework. It is possible you might have seen a few jsps at that time, it's completely JSF based admin-console now, the performance is much better now. The first hit of the admin-console might take < 5 secs, after that it's < 1 sec on my ubuntu JDK 1.6. Why don't you try a recent nightly/promoted build of glassfish, and let us know what do you think.

Posted by guest on July 18, 2007 at 04:39 AM PDT #

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