Friday Mar 29, 2013

Java EE, Saviours and Frozen Time...

We've mentioned TomEE in the near past. Led by powerhouse developer David Blevins, it is a very exciting initiative that takes Tomcat and integrates all the necessary APIs to make it a fully certified Java EE 6 Web Profile offering. It makes Java EE a real possibility for developers focused on Tomcat.

Recently InfoWorld published an article on TomEE (to jog your memory these are the same fine folks that recently repeatedly declared Java dead because of the security vulnerability essentially limited to Applets). While most of the content of the article is very good thanks to David, some pretty curious views on Java EE got infused by the InfoWorld writer. Apparently, Java EE is frozen in time, something only people in gray cubicles care about and TomEE is Java EE's only hope for survival. It did not take very long for David to distance himself and TomEE from the article.

Some of us clearly see things a bit differently than InfoWorld (and suspect that most of you do as well). Specifically, I thought it's useful for you to consider the following few points as food for thought:

  • Pound-for-pound, the amount of innovation in Java EE and it's ecosystem rivals pretty much any other technology stack out there. Just some innovations one could mention is delivering the Java community from XML, configuration and jar hell using annotations, intelligent defaults and convention-over configuration, the radically reimagined EJB 3+ API,  Facelets, the CDI API, JAX-RS, Servlet 3, Bean Validation, the transformations in JMS 2, WebSocket and so on. There have been few significant technologies in the ecosystem that have not directly benefited from or outright adopted these changes. It's easy to see the scale of changes even from my very high level talks on Java EE 6 and Java EE 7. As a result, Java EE today is easily one of the most productive and powerful development platforms around.
  • Continued strong Java EE adoption in the community is a change that's here to stay. Even some organizations that once outright dismissed Java EE have now brought it back into their evaluation cycles. Our GlassFish stories, complete with videos are a nice concrete manifestation of this.
  • The JCP is a far different animal than what it was just a few years ago. The level of openness and ongoing reform geared towards reaching out to the average developer is patently obvious to folks like me and many others that have worked within the JCP as independents in recent years. You can see the end results in action from Arun's recent blog on JCP transparency and the adopt-a-JSR program that helps power it.
  • Java EE today is far more than just WebSphere 5 and WebLogic 9. There are options to suit any particular organization's needs such as GlassFish, JBoss, Resin and of course TomEE just to name a few. Even WebSphere and WebLogic have gone through wholesale changes thanks to modularity solutions like OSGi and  the Web Profile. The changes are not difficult to see if you look at things like the WebSphere Liberty Profile.

Perhaps my fellow Java EE/GlassFish comrade John Clingan said it best in his blog entry on the InfoWorld article - what is truly frozen in time is the idea that Java EE is the helpless damsel in distress waiting for a knight in shining armour to save her...