Summary:

"We get it" was the three word version of this presentation. Rod Johnson, the creator of Spring should be proud that the entire focus of JEE and GlassFish teams seems to have been to enthusiastically and shamelessly imitate his every move in recent years. Almost no reference was made to Spring or the driving force behind the latest changes, but it's a credit to the many JSR working groups that they allowed themselves to be so thoroughly influenced by the direction that market moved when Spring supplanted so much of the market that EJBs were intended to serve 10 years ago.

There were over 50 attendees.

To wit - the following technologies were described as "new" that seemed to follow rather than lead, the trends set by market forces years ago.

  • aspects
  • IOC
  • annotations
  • simplicity and ease of use
  • tooling
  • convention over configuration

Pleasing

If the words "Simplicity" and "Ease of Use" were taken out of this presentation we could have gone home 5 minutes earlier. They seemed to be in every paragraph.

The NetBeans tooling was demonstrated as having the most capabilities in the JEE6 area, especially as regards GlassFish integration.

Code example after code example was shown with the following theme:

  • and here was the old clumsy way of configuring things with [yada deployment descriptors xml etc]
  • and here is the new way with annotations and the like

Bottom line - the normal everyday stuff is made fast and easy, the complex weird stuff still possible using the harder older configuration techniques.

Sunset R Us

Bye bye old technologies - or at least some time in the future. I did not note which ones, but many of the 28 specifications now supported in JEE are slated for later deprecation, so if you are using these you need to migrate to other means.

This is very healthy and sound logic on their part, Spring has made mincemeat of it's competitors by ignoring technologies to death, and Sun/Oracle is to be commended for recognizing this trend. For some of us, it's "good riddance" but no-one was forcing us to use these technologies. The official term for this activity is "Pruning" if you are interested, or that is the term that Arun Gupta used.

Arun Gupta

The presenter at this Roadshow presentation was Arun Gupta. Impressive. He speaks and thinks in code examples, not Markitechture, and as such is a great representative of what works in the world of communication with developers. 

I actually had a hard time googling for his blog this morning, still not sure if I found it with this one, but at any rate showed us that he has hundreds of code examples for JEE and other on his site, so be sure to consider this if you're trying to find a quick way to do something in JEE6.

Mr Gupta speaks clearly, quickly, and goes straight to the point. He's an easy guy to listen to. You'll be pleased if you catch the Roadshow where you live, and you won't feel like you wasted your time.

Lots and lots of cool improvements

It would be easy to get blogged down by iterating through everything that seemed impressive about the new lists of features. So instead I'll arbitrarily limit myself to the top things I'm excited about, other than the over-riding topic of simplicity and ease of use mentioned above.

[Not in any order of importance]

  • asynchronous servlets
  • asynchronous session beans
  • glassfish is an OSGI runtime
  • facelets is now primary engine in JSF
  • typesafe JPQL criteria
  • jersey restful services from POJOs
  • quartz/cron like timer features
  • portable global JNDI naming syntax
  • annotation based everything
  • "profiles" for lite versions of an app server

And mostly for me, GlassFish still here...

My biggest fear was that Larry Ellison would shut down the open source side of java as much as he could. Just the fact that he hasn't was probably my biggest relief from this Roadshow.

Arun Gupta went over the general plan and where the open source side fits in with Fusion and WebLogic and the rest of the mix. It makes sense, and it runs out a couple years. That was where I started breathing a little easier.

This is interesting to me in that our little group had tried so very hard to use both WebLogic and Fusion in my last contract at a big fortune 500. We had to give up on both - this year, because there was more buggy software than we could get around. So after migrating everything to Tomcat just to get the darned thing to work, I'm pretty enthusiastic about having alternatives in the open source side of the world. At least this way, you can get something that works - instead of something that's supposed to work but doesn't.

When it's free, it has to work, or no one will mess with it. Apparently expensive supported software doesn't have to fit that model.