Glassfish v1, v2 and Beyond

Glassfish is the open source application server (AS) from Sun. It is the reference implementation of Java EE 5 (and obviously it was the first application server to support this standard more than 7 months ago). Other application servers start to become Java EE 5 - compliant today (e.g. Weblogic is compliant today, JBoss is almost there, Oracle AS is also almost there, Websphere... well nevermind).

It is quite unclear for many people what is the difference between Glassfish AS v1 and Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0. Besides the length of the name, there's not much different. Actually it's completely identical code, so SJSAS 9.0 = Glassfish v1. The only important difference is the license. You can get Glassfish v1 under CDDL license (GPL as another option is in the works), SJSAS 9.0 is available under a commercial license.

Glassfish v1 Update 1 P1 has been available for quite some time and it's the best binary you should install to use Glassfish today.

While Glassfish v1 was the first to support Java EE 5, some people couldn't use it in production because it lacked enterprise features such as clustering. The good news is that Glassfish v2 will have many new and important features, including:
  • Bundled Grizzly and JSP container (JSR 199)
  • New WS stack including support for WSIT (also known as project Tango - interoperability with Microsoft stack) with better performance of WS
  • Better general performance and improved startup time
  • Load balancing, cluster management, failover
  • Open ESB integration - so SOA support will be available by default
  • Basic scripting support
  • More - see the plan for Glassfish v2.
Beta version of Glassfish v2 will be available this month (February) and final version will come in April 2007.

But that's not all - the AS team is also working on Glassfish v3, which will be very interesting, because the AS will become very modular. The basic engine will start in 1 s (yes, "one second") and then modules will be loaded dynamically based on the needs of the applications running on the application server. Thus it will be possible to have a very lightweight AS supporting basic scripting with very fast startup or to have a fully featured Java EE application server with the same binary. And the best news is that preview of Glassfish v3 will be available very soon - possibly even at the end of February.

Concerning NetBeans - Glassfish is very well integrated with NetBeans, the plug-in makes it very comfortable to work with the application server. The support in NetBeans is better than for any other application server. So you can use NetBeans 5.5 together with Glassfish v1, and you can also download the AS bundle with zero configuration necessary.

For Glassfish v2 you need to use NetBeans 5.5.1, although there will be a patch available for those who want to use in NetBeans 5.5, too. Glassfish v2 and NetBeans 5.5.1 make it easier to communicate with EJBs from the NetBeans platform, there is a neat tutorial which describes how to do that (I'll work on the flash demo, too). Some other important bugfixes will be included in NetBeans 5.5.1 to improve support for the application server. Finally NetBeans 5.5.1 will provide many improvements in the Enterprise Pack.

And if you want to use WSIT, there is a nice plug-in available on the update center which makes it easy to generate the WSDL files for web services which interoperate properly (good luck if you want to write these by hand :)

Ig you look at Phobos and its netbeans integration (, you'll see that it can run embbeded in NetBeans 5.5.x, and can start in 0.8 seconds with Grizzly, JPA, Derby access and complete server side JavaScript environment, including complete debugging support. You can see this current integration as a starting point of the GlassFish V3 concept. Imagine adding the jRuby engine on demand, the servlet container on demand, and if needed the EJB container on demand, using the same concept...

Posted by ludo on únor 10, 2007 at 09:01 dop. CET #

I can't wait for v3 ... :)

Posted by Roumen on únor 10, 2007 at 09:07 dop. CET #

Nice plans for glassfish ;) Speaking of that, I know you probably can't read french but there's an article in "Programmez!" that shows up an overview of openSource AS market ( JBoss glassfish and others are covered) it's a pretty nice paper ;) I hope that the weather is cool for you in Prague, here in Montreal we got down to -30 degrees last tuesday and I froze my main typing finger in less then 10 minutes outside :) So its pretty hard to code this week at work :P

Posted by Laurent M on únor 10, 2007 at 10:02 dop. CET #

Hi Roumen

Actually the latest released best binary for GlassFish is the GlassFish v1 ur1 p01. This contains the fixes for making it highly performant and provided great SPECJ numbers. It is certified to run on Java SE 6 that provides added performance.

It can be downloaded from here:

regards Shreedhar

Posted by Shreedhar on únor 10, 2007 at 10:18 dop. CET #

Thanks Shreedhar, I'll change it in the blog entry.

Posted by Roumen on únor 10, 2007 at 10:34 dop. CET #

We just moved a largish portal application to GlassFish v1 in January. No problems so far, except having to set the quick load option off and having to tune the Oracle connection pools a bit.

Posted by Mikael Gueck on únor 10, 2007 at 11:38 dop. CET #

Laurent, je suis intéressé. De quand date l'article de Programmez?

Posted by Alexis MP on únor 10, 2007 at 02:51 odp. CET #

Hey Mikael, this is great to hear. Would you care sharing your experience on ? The Questionnaire is the meat of these posts.

Posted by Alexis MP on únor 10, 2007 at 03:06 odp. CET #

Laurent, it looks like Spring came to Prague early this year. We have around 10 degrees Celsius and partly sunny. But I'm sure it will change soon :)

Posted by Roumen on únor 11, 2007 at 05:39 dop. CET #

For us GlashFish is not an option until the GlashFish team will have a migration tool support for Tomcat 5.x.

Posted by Lorenzo Jimenez on únor 12, 2007 at 02:37 odp. CET #

glassfish is excellent

Posted by khalil on únor 15, 2007 at 12:41 dop. CET #

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