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Catching Up With Java One – Annotation and Dynamic Languages May 26, 2006

Posted by poseidongroove in Annotation, ATG, BEA, IBM, Java, JavaOne, Oracle, PHP, RUBY, SOA, Weblogs.
1 comment so far

If you want to catch up with all the Java One sessions, you should start here, PodTech. You can listen/download all the session podcasts there. Highlights include, vendors such as BEA demonstrating capability to run PHP on their App Server(imagine clustering and session failover for PHP Applications nice). J2EE 5 support for annotation. BEA's Bill Roth also presented a session called Use the Right Tool. Good Job guys. People are listening.

Annotations reduces the amount of code and xml files we currently have to live with in Java, Annotations are mark up notes in the code that tell the Container how to execute the code, generate deployment descriptors or connect with a resource. So you can write a simple java class and insert annotation to let the container know to treat it as an EJB. 

The JDK development team are claiming a significant reduction in the amount of code in this version of the JDK. I've personally not verified this. However, what I see so far is very good.

My take, Java has finally dealt with one of the big things the .Net camp and dynamic language camp used to scream about. Too much complexity. The only thing someone forgot to tell the .Net camp is that they're just as bad.

It's one of the reasons why I rarely use EJBs why bother when you can use Servlets or message driven beans.  All that nonsense code and deployment descriptors for what. I'd rather write CICS transactions or Encina Procedures.

Java started off well, then complicated things with all the silly XML descriptors, Java Community Process made it worse as well. I remember a few years ago it was almost a nightmare for developers to keep track of all the JCP activities. I think that's why dynamic languages became very successful overnight. Over engineered complexity for what !!

Anyway good job to the J2EE and J2SE development teams about time all that code was reduced. The news is, a lot of the JCP code will be rolled into the JDK. I'm glad that's happening as well.

Several other hightlights for me, there was talk about participatory architectures in most of the sessions

I hate to say I told you so. One thing that hasn't escaped my attention is all the talk from the J2EE development team about using dependency injection  in J2EE 5. Hmm, so Java has finally caught up with what ATG did with Nucleus years ago. Alright, I know Spring Framework mimics this as well and more. Shame ATG didn't make it open source at the time. 

With dependency injection, you can easily wire together an entire application without writing a single line of Java. I remember developing a site using this approach several years ago. So now they call it dependency injection. Ok thank you, I'll call it plug and play and everyone thinks it's new!

This is one of those defining moments in Java. We've spent so much time over engineering the beast and finally some common sense is now needed. The language is now all about participation from Oracle, Sun, BEA and IBM the message is the same. I'm glad the big vendors are listening. Make all scripting languages part of your platforms and you automatically convert a lot of developers in the enterprise to code to some enterprise standard API. Basically, you work out which are the enterprise developers and workgroup application developers in this way.

Me suspect it's the PHP and Ruby on Rails gang that's forced the big changes to the Java API. These changes are good.

Finally, this is the best Java One for a while, I think we'll start to realise the benefits of all these features from vendors and developers alike pretty soon. If you're a developer, you really ought to start checking out all the new features of J2EE 5.  If you only know one development environment you ought to get your head examined. There's a lot of good things to learn out there@ the mo.

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Context of Use for Dynamic Languages April 30, 2006

Posted by poseidongroove in Chaos, CMS, Joomla, PHP, Python, REST, RUBY, SOA, Social Software, Web Services, Weblogs.
2 comments

The last few weeks have been quiet on the blog but very busy for me workwise. I had a few customer projects to put into production and also complete hand over. Last Friday was my last day at Consider Solutions. Been fun working amongst friends the last 3.5 years or so. Will miss you guys.

I’ve started up a project with some friends; I’ll share details of what we’re doing on the blog in due course. You get to a crucial age when you feel I really want to make the difference in your own little way. I’m @ that stage right now.

This post been nagging away in my mind for several weeks, Richard Veryard blogged about it a few weeks ago The Lightweight Enterprise. I’d already written up a draft on my stolen laptop.

We have two camps in application development today, the dynamic scripting languages camp and the enterprise class application development camp. Without Dynamic Languages like PHP, Ruby and Python, we probably will not have the amount of innovation we have on the web today. Just think for a moment, WordPress and Typepad are both written in PHP so they’re enterprise class content management systems are they not? On the other hand Enterprise IT is slow cumbersome, standards obsessed, reflective and worse stifles innovation. We’re so full of contempt for Dynamic Languages because we think we can’t control it. I’m transitioning between these two camps all the time, until I discovered the Power of PHP and Ruby I was an enterprise bigot. Now, I have a more pragmatic view about all things software related. I’ve always used Jython for light coupling, PHP and Ruby are simply awesome!

I’m building our company website in Joomla at the moment, I’ve used Documentum, Media surface and Interwoven Teamsite. Joomla and Mambo are more elegant and easier to use. Besides, you can create enterprise grade websites in these tools even if I hate to admit it. Better still, they’re free, loads of free templates available for them. So where does this leave our bigoted view of superiority of so called Enterprise Grade Architecture/Software? Maybe locked into a bitter fight for deals with fortune 500 companies. Leaving the door open for mass market adoption of so called open source alternatives.

I think what So Called Enterprise Software vendors need to do is recognise that you can’t stifle innovation for long. I think the best way of opening up Enterprise Applications and Architecture to participation is to recognise a context of use for Dynamic Languages.

For example, if all application server vendors, enterprise service bus and BizTalk(Whatever MSOFT App Server is called), have out of the box Runtime support for as many scripting/dynamic languages as possible, you then empower developers to use whatever tools are available to develop rich web applications. All these bigoted views we have about what language is better will cease. Who cares what language, who cares if you use REST or SOA? As long as end users adopt the application and it scales, that’s all that matters. It really isn’t that hard to do this. My last project used Jython referencing Java APIs provided by the platform.

If you’re in a big enterprise, turning your nose up at Dynamic languages, you do so at your peril, you’ll be out of a job soon believe me. The world of software will start to revolve around free software and software as service in less time than you imagine. Only the vendors that tolerate innovation and open up their platforms will survive this shake out.

If you’re in a command and control enterprise, your developers are all spending their spare time getting up to speed with Ruby and PHP. Yet when they come into work you say thou shalt only use Java or C#. You’d better smell the coffee before it’s too late.

How about developing reusable services/components that can be used by all languages using REST?

If you Mr/Mrs Enterprise follow this approach you can then force your software vendor to provide a runtime environment for scripting languages. It then becomes easy to loosely couple services in your enterprise and harness available skills to build any application.

The question of scale will disappear why? If you use REST to couple a PHP based application front end to a backend SAP, BEA or Siebel CRM everyone is a winner, the application scales (hardware is cheap with dual core and virtual servers, you get more from your CPU investments) structured languages and dynamic languages bigot let’s all get together and make the end users happy. That’s our job!