Welcome!

Open Source Authors: Sematext Blog , Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Elizabeth White, 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

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, 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. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard 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. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, 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. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...