Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Jason Bloomberg, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Look Mom, No Application Servers, Look...MOM!

'What do you think of application servers?' The most popular answer was, 'I don't need no stinkin' application server.'

In the unlikely event that you're not familiar with my gas station, you can find my previous essays at http://java.sys-con.com/general/gasstation.htm Recently, I've conducted a small survey among my truck drivers. I asked them just one question: "What do you think of application servers?" The most popular answer was, "I don't need no stinkin' application server." And truck drivers usually know what they're talking about!

You may think that now I'll start selling one of the popular application frameworks. Wrong! The idea of these frameworks was nice: get back from complex containers to programming POJOs. But while trying to provide alternatives to container services, each of these frameworks ran into the short-blanket syndrome: something is always sticking out. XML is sticking out big time!

To simplify Java programming, developers are paying the high price of adding unmanageable amounts of XML descriptors, mappings, wirings, and other plumbing. Twenty years ago .ini files were widely used, 10 years ago .properties replaced them, and after the Y2K problem was solved, people were bored and started investing their time in XML.

It started quite innocently: XML is better than HTML, then DTD came about, XSLT, XPATH, XQuery, XML farms, XML processing hardware, and on, and on, and on. Basically, the proper way to name today's POJO is XPOJO. You know what I mean. Hopefully, Java annotations will slow down the X-hype. I'm already using Java 5 in my agile business, and as soon as Mustang is released, big corporations will switch to Tiger.

Let's return to the main subject. One of my readers asked if I was planning to write a piece on how to select an application server. I answered, "No, because I'm not sure if they're needed."

I believe that at least a half of today's business applications don't need one. In my gas station, I'm going to implement a set of client/server applications with rich clients talking to each other using Java messaging, and most likely, I'll need to implement an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) to communicate with a couple of old applications that I inherited from the former owner of my gas station.

My newly developed applications will use rich application clients living in a Web browser, but they'll run in their own virtual machines (no AJAX by the pumps!). I've already started working on a more serious manuscript on RIA (see http://theriabook.com). To make a long story short, I'm planning to use/implement SOA, RIA, MXML , JWS, JMS, MOM, JNDI, ESB, JTA, DAO, JDBC, DBMS, and a Web Server. Raise your hand if you know how to spell out each of the acronyms used in this article so far.

I know, I know. Ten years ago, people who could spell out VB and SQL were able to find a nice paying job in a heartbeat. Forget about it. I can recommend a handy Web site called acronymfinder.com. In some cases it gives you too many versions for your acronym, but key in JTA and you'll find that it stands for Java Transaction API (it's right above Japan Toilet Association). Since I'm not going to use the J2EE application server, I have to find transaction support somewhere else.

Consider the use case of a typical business application without an application server. The front-end reacts to various events by putting messages (Java value objects or key-value pairs) into a remote message queue (orders, requests, etc.). A server-side JMS listener picks them up from the queue and starts business processing the messages received. This is where transaction support comes in handy. For example, from a business perspective saving a customer's order in a database and making a JMS call for further processing can be considered one unit of work, which has to be rolled back if any of these actions fails. That's why a JMS listener has to be able to begin, commit, and roll back transactions.

Communicating with the database can be done using a simple DAO/JDBC combo. Create a tiny .properties file with a dozen parameters (the data source to use, maybe some external URLs, and a couple of others). That's it. This is what I call real POJO programming. Did I miss anything? Oh yeah, JMS is just an API, so we need a transport/storage for our messages, and this is what Message-Oriented Middleware (MOM) is for.

While there are several Open Source JMS/MOM implementations on the market, I'm planning to use ActiveMQ from Logic Blaze. The product has been on the market for years, has good reputation, supports JTA/XA, and has a large user community. Look at the ActiveMQ list of features, and you'll see that it offers more than any small business needs. Another pro is that the same vendor offers an Open Source JBI-based ESB implementation called ServiceMix. But this is a topic for future discussions. And the best part is that this middleware is available for free.

Not everyone may like this architecture, but let me remind you, we're talking about a small business here. One of my readers sent me an e-mail asking, "What if this application is supposed to be used by thousands users?" I wish... This is just a gas station! When you're architecting your next application, try not to get into a Google/Amazon state of mind unless you work for them. If you're not dealing with thousands of users, just use a simple Data Access Object, write a couple of SQL statements here and there, and make a dozen JDBC and JMS calls. And MOM will be a good, reliable foundation for creating loosely coupled applications with robust transactions, persistence, and failover support.

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay. He wrote a thousand blogs (http://yakovfain.com) and several books about software development. Yakov authored and co-authored such books as "Angular 2 Development with TypeScript", "Java 24-Hour Trainer", and "Enterprise Web Development". His Twitter tag is @yfain

Comments (11)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Here are the Top 20 Twitter Influencers of the month as determined by the Kcore algorithm, in a range of current topics of interest from #IoT to #DeepLearning. To run a real-time search of a given term in our website and see the current top influencers, click on the topic name. Among the top 20 IoT influencers, ThingsEXPO ranked #14 and CloudEXPO ranked #17.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
Contextual Analytics of various threat data provides a deeper understanding of a given threat and enables identification of unknown threat vectors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Dufour, Head of Security Architecture, IoT, Webroot, Inc., discussed how through the use of Big Data analytics and deep data correlation across different threat types, it is possible to gain a better understanding of where, how and to what level of danger a malicious actor poses to an organization, and to determin...
@CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX, two of the most influential technology events in the world, have hosted hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors since our launch 10 years ago. @CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX New York and Silicon Valley provide a full year of face-to-face marketing opportunities for your company. Each sponsorship and exhibit package comes with pre and post-show marketing programs. By sponsoring and exhibiting in New York and Silicon Valley, you reach a full complement of decision makers and buyers in ...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
LogRocket helps product teams develop better experiences for users by recording videos of user sessions with logs and network data. It identifies UX problems and reveals the root cause of every bug. LogRocket presents impactful errors on a website, and how to reproduce it. With LogRocket, users can replay problems.
Data Theorem is a leading provider of modern application security. Its core mission is to analyze and secure any modern application anytime, anywhere. The Data Theorem Analyzer Engine continuously scans APIs and mobile applications in search of security flaws and data privacy gaps. Data Theorem products help organizations build safer applications that maximize data security and brand protection. The company has detected more than 300 million application eavesdropping incidents and currently secu...
Rafay enables developers to automate the distribution, operations, cross-region scaling and lifecycle management of containerized microservices across public and private clouds, and service provider networks. Rafay's platform is built around foundational elements that together deliver an optimal abstraction layer across disparate infrastructure, making it easy for developers to scale and operate applications across any number of locations or regions. Consumed as a service, Rafay's platform elimi...