Compact, Helpful, Well Produced - All in One Place

OSGI isn't just a technology, it's a different way to think, a different kind of design. It can be a real trick to get one's head around. This screencast from SpringSource might help.

The commentary below outlines a little bit about why a single screencast might help, or skip my review and go straight to the screencast, if you already know why watching a good 1 hour screencast on this technology would be worth the effort. 

No Lack of Information on OSGI

It isn't a lack of information, there's enough info about OSGI swimming around to keep you confused for weeks. These questions are the ones I have to keep asking:

  • What are the basic ideas?
  • How does this impact my work as a developer?
  • Which implementations have which features?
  • Positives and negatives to each approach?

Even Biggest Players Offer Disjointed Information

Even the biggest groups involved in OSGI offer quite a display of disjointed and poorly maintained or outdated information. You'll find broken links, references to projects and initiatives which are outdated because of recent developments. These groups include SpringSource, Eclipse Foundation, Sonatype's Tycho, OSGI spec group, and many others.

This isn't anyone's fault. It's just the nature of the process, as technology moves through the maturation process, what got put on the web yesterday becomes obsolete, but it's still there to confuse the reader, and it's only 5% of each piece is obsolete anyway, most of it is still good. So, over time, as this pattern repeats, things get more and more confusing.

Who Are The Current Players To Watch, and How Does It Affect Choice Of This Screencast?

The early players were the best ones to watch in the initial years. Peter Kriens with his early BND tools, and the Eclipse Foundation with it's great eclipse tooling, and the some of the Ops4j Pax players. Then there's the OSGI group itself with it's spec, for those who need something to put themselves to sleep at night.

The most exciting (and usable) things going on right now in OSGI as far as I can tell, seem to be at SpringSource, and at Sonatype with it's Tycho offering - still in development. I've already covered Tycho a little bit here, but the SpringSource stuff seems to be a bigger effort, and frankly a bit harder to follow at times, or at least until this screencast which weaves it all together.

That's one thing that makes this video so helpful. It covers from "What Is OSGI?" at the start, all the way through examples and specific implementations. Not bad for an hour.

What's So Cool About Spring OSGI?

This screencast covers more than just Spring's implementation, but what's cool about the SpringSource approach to OSGI is the same thing that's cool about the SpringSource approach to everything.

  • Simplicity
  • Tooling, both language and IDE based
  • DRY
  • a habit of persistence that tends to work the kinks out of immature technologies

SpringSource's attack on the OSGI stack is no exception to their normal approach, you can skip much of the more challenging parts of OSGI, simply specify things in a declarative way in the xml configuration file, and go back to adding value to your app instead of staying stuck trying to get the OSGI stuff to work.

One Example: Replacing An Implementation

If all this stuff seems like much ado about nothing, 51 minutes into the screen cast shows a pretty slick example of what is possible with OSGI that would not be possible without it. It's not the only example worth watching, just perhaps one of the sexiest.

I hope you don't just watch that one example though, the development world really does need to get a better handle on the basics of OSGI so that enough critical mass forms to push it through it's current state. OSGI is not boring yet, and it really needs to get to that stage before it can do the most good.

Production Quality

One last recommendation. The production quality of this screencast is pretty above average, for a software shop screencast anyway. Maybe that's not saying much - there are so many bad examples out there.

But at least with this one, you won't feel like you've wasted your time.

Skipping Through SpringSource Marketing Commercials

If you have to skip through the commercials, fast forward to 5 minutes into the screencast. I hope you don't, but everyone has their own value system.