Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java Authors: AppDynamics Blog, Kelly Murphy, John Smith, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Java

Java: Article

Interesting Times in the Java Enterprise

Not too long ago, folks like Bruce Tate, Gavin King, and Rod Johnson were pushing lightweight frameworks such as Spring

Robert F. Kennedy once said, "There is a Chinese curse which says, 'May he live in interesting times.'" The enterprise Java space is "interesting."

Not too long ago, folks like Bruce Tate, Gavin King, and Rod Johnson were pushing lightweight frameworks such as Spring and Hibernate, and there is still a lot of true innovation going on with AspectJ, Spring, Hibernate, WebWork, JBoss (method invocation handlers), and more. This lightweight POJO revolution shook the enterprise Java world.

Having endured building applications with EJB 2.x and Struts, using Spring and Hibernate was like a breath of fresh air. Development was easier and less time was spent working around the limitations of the platform.

J2EE has good ideas, which inspired a lot of additional ideas. This evolution led to innovative and productive practices outside of the JCP.

The JCP has had some very good JSRs, but you have to admit there have been some real stinkers.

EJB in general, except as a learning experience, is generally viewed as a failure. The real problem was not just EJB but the misapplications of EJB. This was widespread as it was promoted with the J2EE Blueprint, not to mention the misapplication of JTA, and more features of J2EE. Not to say that applications can't benefit from JTA and EJB, it's just that many, many Web applications don't need them.

EJB 3.0 is much better than EJB 2.x. If you compare EJB3 to an older version of EJB, EJB3 is a boon; however, if you compare EJB3 to Spring and Hibernate, it stinks.

The related OR (Object Relation) Persistent API does not have a criteria API specified; any persistent API that does not define a criteria API is not finished.

The AOP support in EJB3 is broken. EJB3 has a method interceptor, but no pointcuts. In addition, the method interceptors are declared and imported with class-level annotations. This effectively tightly couples the class to the method interceptors that decorate it (Can you smell the bad odor?).

Rod Johnson mentioned thess same problems about EJB3 Method Interceptors at a recent Java enterprise conference (in his talk "Are We There Yet") and went on to mention many limitations on the @Resource style of DI, the absence of FactoryBeans, post processors, Constructor Injection, lists/maps, and a lot of the features Spring developers know and love are just missing. The EJB3 JSR members did not look at any of the prior art in this space and created their own limited version of what was already available.

I've heard some call EJB3 a dumbed-down version of what is available by using Spring and Hibernate. "EJB3 is Spring and Hibernate's stupid cousin" is frequently echoed.

After three years of deliberation, the JCPs delivered EJB3, which is inferior to de facto standards. Many parts of EJB3 are a big step backward from Spring, and, to many, EJB3 is broken. As Bruce Tate says about EJB3: "Don't make me eat the elephant again."

It's not just the persistent API and the AOP support that's broken in EJB3, it's also the random use of annotations, another misguided effort. The idea of annotations is good. The implementation of the annotations ruins some of the principles of the POJO model; namely, it ties your Java classes through a compile-time dependency to the standard API you're using and to any value-add annotations the vendor supports. Now why would vendors like this approach? Hmmm...I wonder. (Hint: Follow the money!)

In that question lies the real problem with the JCP. The JCP is heavily influenced by vendors that have "business need(s) or corporate agenda(s)." Parts of the enterprise Java community is innovative, parts stink, but there are many parts.

Strangely enough, RoR, which is currently being championed by Bruce Tate among others, is a safe haven for Java developers who are sick of vendor-driven APIs. In short, vendor-centric JSRs, Struts, and EJB have driven many a developer, who just wanted to get things done, to RoR.

My feelings on RoR is, been there done that, no thanks. Don't get me wrong, RoR has a lot of good ideas, but bad tool support. For me and many other Java developers, scripting languages are a step backward for large apps.

Geert Bevin, the creator of Rife, sums up my thoughts on the subject nicely in a recent e-mail he sent: "RoR is one of the best things that could happen to the Java community because at least alternative approaches and meta programming are now getting the credibility they deserve. Technologically, though, I think that RoR is nothing special." An issue with Java is a wealth of riches, so much wealth that you can get lost. Conversely, RoR seems like a one-trick pony. Choice is a blessing and a curse.

There are good Java competitors to RoR, such as Rife and Seam (and many others). The way the Java competitors of RoR do things is better than RoR, and it's Java so you get code completion, refactoring support, debugging, and more. Java can attack the space that RoR addresses quite well, in fact, much better than RoR. As Gavin King recently wrote me: "...Seam is (not) exactly focused on the same kinds of problems that RoR is targeted at, but I would say that it does compete very nicely in that space."

The reality is, we need more independent voices in the JCP. To be successful, it has to become less vendor-driven.

At least we now have independent folks on the JCP like Hani Suleiman. Hani is a self-proclaimed independent voice of the JCP. Hani, a very popular blogger, petitioned Java developers to vote him into the JCP Executive Committee for J2SE/J2EE.

"If you're a JCP member, vote for me...! ... I'm the only nominee who is motivated purely by improving Java. Everyone else is there out of some business need or corporate agenda. Stick it to the man!" -Hani Suleiman

Of course, many of us are very happy to have such an independent voice, an independent developer who doesn't have any vested interest in any of the JSRs. But wait...

Hani also did an interview in which he states: "I am the CTO of Formicary, which ... (has a) portal product, Epix (a JSR-168 based Portlet Portal), and alongside all that I also work for IronFlare, which makes the Orion application server, and through that I represent them on a number of expert groups and that is the real work that I do."

Hani works for companies that produce a portal server and an application server that support EJB. IronFlare was contracted by Oracle to develop their J2EE application server (the second one, the good one). Hani is a vendor. If you read Hani's blog, he frequently speaks out against AOP, POJOs, and lightweight frameworks, not to mention bashing competitors like JBoss, etc. It also appears there has never been an EJB he didn't like. And, this is our "independent voice." Strange times indeed!

The question to Hani, which echos a popular U.S. TV commercial: "But sir, aren't you the man?"

Even so, many feel that Hani will defend the common developer against vendor's interests and that he will bring a new perspective to the JCP, while ignoring that Hani, pleasant chap though he is, is hardly an independent voice and often lashes out against innovation while supporting a broken specification like EJB. One thing for certain, Hani never pulls his punches.

Hani recently told me: "The JCP isn't really a technical body; it's a lot more about process and IP issues." So a big part of the JCP's work is about protecting the individual vendor's IP issues. Where is the focus on making developer's productive like RoR's focus? By and large, RoR does not beat out the Java community in tools and ideas, but on their focus on developer productivity. Contrast this to the JCP's focus on vendor profits. We need to focus.

We do live in interesting times in the Enterprise Java space. We have RoR-inspired frameworks and vendor-driven JSRs. We have Bruce Tate, a former promoter of lightweight Java frameworks, become an advocate for RoR. We have Hani, one of the chief opponents of lightweight POJO-based frameworks, get elected to the JCP Executive Committee.

On the other hand, we have great frameworks and ideas such as POJOs, domain-driven design, Spring, Hibernate, Rife continuations, Rife meta programming, JSF, Facelets, Seam, and AspectJ. It is time to promote true innovation wherever we find it: JCP or innovative projects. Avoid standard APIs and frameworks that don't make sense.

More Stories By Rick Hightower

Rick Hightower serves as chief technology officer for ArcMind Inc. He is coauthor of the popular book Java Tools for Extreme Programming, which covers applying XP to J2EE development, and also recently co-authored Professional Struts. He has been working with J2EE since the very early days and lately has been working mostly with Maven, Spring, JSF and Hibernate. Rick is a big JSF and Spring fan. Rick has taught several workshops and training courses involving the Spring framework as well as worked on several projects consulting, mentoring and developing with the Spring framework. He blogs at http://jroller.com/page/RickHigh.

Comments (3) View Comments

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.


Most Recent Comments
Rick Hightower's Sleepless Night in Tucson 05/15/06 08:07:37 PM EDT

Trackback Added: Updated3: Interesting Times in the Java Enterprise: How did Hani get elected?; It is JavaOne time. It is time to see Hani dance. Yeah!
I softened the tone a bit. I think the JCP has come a long ways since the days of EJB 1.0, but still represents vendors more than developers.
Interesting Times in the Java Enterprise (JDJ

Rick Hightower 05/10/06 09:39:19 PM EDT

I look forward to your feedback.

SYS-CON Italy News Desk 05/05/06 11:17:09 AM EDT

Robert F. Kennedy once said, 'There is a Chinese curse which says, 'May he live in interesting times.'' The enterprise Java space is 'interesting.' Not too long ago, folks like Bruce Tate, Gavin King, and Rod Johnson were pushing lightweight frameworks such as Spring and Hibernate, and there is still a lot of true innovation going on with AspectJ, Spring, Hibernate, WebWork, JBoss (method invocation handlers), and more. This lightweight POJO revolution shook the enterprise Java world.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of presentation. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Jocelyn Scheirer, CEO & Founder of Bionolux, will discuss ho...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Every day we read jaw-dropping stats on the explosion of data. We allocate significant resources to harness and better understand it. We build businesses around it. But we’ve only just begun. For big payoffs in Big Data, CIOs are turning to cognitive computing. Cognitive computing’s ability to securely extract insights, understand natural language, and get smarter each time it’s used is the next, logical step for Big Data.
There's no doubt that the Internet of Things is driving the next wave of innovation. Google has spent billions over the past few months vacuuming up companies that specialize in smart appliances and machine learning. Already, Philips light bulbs, Audi automobiles, and Samsung washers and dryers can communicate with and be controlled from mobile devices. To take advantage of the opportunities the Internet of Things brings to your business, you'll want to start preparing now.
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner is Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., will discuss the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conduct a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply...
Container frameworks, such as Docker, provide a variety of benefits, including density of deployment across infrastructure, convenience for application developers to push updates with low operational hand-holding, and a fairly well-defined deployment workflow that can be orchestrated. Container frameworks also enable a DevOps approach to application development by cleanly separating concerns between operations and development teams. But running multi-container, multi-server apps with containers is very hard. You have to learn five new and different technologies and best practices (libswarm, sy...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DragonGlass, an enterprise search platform, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. After eleven years of designing and building custom applications, OpenCrowd has launched DragonGlass, a cloud-based platform that enables the development of search-based applications. These are a new breed of applications that utilize a search index as their backbone for data retrieval. They can easily adapt to new data sets and provide access to both structured and unstruc...
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, will discuss IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sector...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Disruptive macro trends in technology are impacting and dramatically changing the "art of the possible" relative to supply chain management practices through the innovative use of IoT, cloud, machine learning and Big Data to enable connected ecosystems of engagement. Enterprise informatics can now move beyond point solutions that merely monitor the past and implement integrated enterprise fabrics that enable end-to-end supply chain visibility to improve customer service delivery and optimize supplier management. Learn about enterprise architecture strategies for designing connected systems tha...
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fil...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MetraTech, now part of Ericsson, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society- a world leader in communications infrastructure, software and services. Some 40% of the world’s mobile traffic runs through networks Ericsson has supplied, serving more than 2.5 billion subscribers.