What's That Noise?! [Ian Kallen's Weblog]

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20040421 Wednesday April 21, 2004

Container? I don't need no stinkin' container! There's no denying it. A Boston Tea Party is swelling against Sun, the JCP and the way Java API's have been handed down from that Cathedral. Look at all of the bitchin' publications that've cropped up in the last few weeks and are expected in the coming weeks and months

Object-relation mapping without the container
A quick rundown of Hibernate, Spring Framework based transaction management plus a side order of DbUnit; more fun than you can shake a stick at.
Hibernate: A Developer's Notebook
O'Reilly has posted a sample chapter with a simple Hibernate example.
Hibernate In Action
The publish date on this is now listed as August 2004; I thought this was coming sooner but nonetheless seeing as how it's from the horses mouth, it should be a good read.
Java theory and practice: Coaxing J2EE out of the container
Projects like Somnifugi JMS blur the boundary between J2EE and J2SE
Discusses using JMS, JNDI and JMX for J2EE outside of the EJB container.
Expert One-on-One: J2EE Development without EJB
From the Spring Framework creator, Rod Johnson follows up on his fine 2002 publication "Expert One-on-One: J2EE Design and Development"
That's just the activity that's bubbled up through The Establishment. The J2EE blogosphere and TheServerSide is effervescing with stuff about Velocity, Tapestry, Jython, Java Groups, Pico, Hivemind, iBATIS and so on week in and week out. Struts and Ant are probably the prime examples of de-facto standards arising from outside of Sun but Hibernate has certainly opened everyone's eyes to the notion that the blueprints and the pet store aren't ominpotent and in fact, the whole "work inside our container API's and let the magic get handled for you" concept is pretty limited.

The bottom line for me is: I want to be able to easily test stuff outside of the containers and the mandatory interface implementations. Traditional J2EE, the practices promoted around it and the tools provided haven't accounted for that requirement. So the grassroots have.

Sun, consider yourself put on notice!

Due to space constraints, I couldn't get into it in my article about AOP (Aspect Oriented Programming: An Introduction) earlier this month but as I was looking around the landscape of AOP implementations and the related technologies (i.e. Inversion of Control) it's become increasingly apparent that Hibernate, Spring and an array of other projects that've gained momentum from the grassroots level are really the important story this year in J2EE, not Java Server Faces or EJB 2.1 or EJB 3.0 -- the J2EE developers in the trenches are tired of Sun groping around trying to get it right and they're pressing ahead with real-world solutions without Sun's official blessing. If useful standards can arise out of the open source ecosystem, then Sun's JCP, the insular and opaque JSR working groups and the Decisions From On High about what's important at JavaOne are likely to see their relevance ebb.

Hasta La Vista, Baby

( Apr 21 2004, 11:31:18 PM PDT ) Permalink
Comments [2]


I agree with all of these articles. All I need is some way to run Java on a web server (I prefer Apache). mod_java would be nice, if it's implemented like mod_php. Servlet containers are not needed, and EJB containers are just another not needed bloat. Light weight containers do the job just fine. Why to tie everything under one umbrella (J2EE in this case)? I see no point in it. KISS works and scales better. Take this with grain and salt and a bit of humor (althought It's not meant to be a joke).

Posted by Aapo Laakkonen on April 21, 2004 at 10:37 PM PDT #

Yes and no. For large scale corporate development, containers style rule the day, and probably will for some time. Sure, they aren't as sexy as all these new technologies but they have a few things going for them: they are well understood (lots of experience in large deployments, huge base of experienced developers), have good performance (E-Bay is nothing more than an implementation of cookie cutter J2EE patterns) and have long term commercial backing. Most of these free tools will probably languish in small development shops until a corporate backer picks them up. This isn't an idictment of their quality, but the reality of the day. Struts is still here and going strong because you can pay big bucks for tools that work with it. Also, for every Tapestry developer, there are probably 500 struts guys willing to backfill a position. I'm a fan of these new technologies as well, but I suspect the noise to reality ratio from blogs and books unfairly diminishes the huge momentum that existing container solutions still have in the marketplace.

Posted by Merrick on April 22, 2004 at 04:04 AM PDT #

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