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Open source - develop vs deploy

Posted by daniel on July 30, 2003 at 7:38 AM PDT

Maybe this is the wrong group to ask, but how often have you used open source software and not messed with the code base? This is, of course, a non-representative sample of users of open source software. In his most recent java.net blog entry, Simon Phipps draws the distinction between people who need the source and people who just want to use the software.

Simon's entry, Sun and Open Source - Development, not Deployment is a response to Alan Williamson's blog yesterday asking who pays for open-source? Phipps argues that open source is designed for developers and warns at the risks of thinking in terms of deployment.

The openness facilitates a developer community. It's not primarily intended as part of the deployment vehicle for end users, and that's where the risk lies. The developer-friendly features make it all seem so tempting for deployers - control over the software, free code and no lock-in - but those things were put there for the developers, not the deployers.

For some tools this distinction is obvious. Lucene is an open source search engine available from the Apache Jakarta Project. My mom isn't going to download Lucene to sort through her recent email messages. A developer may want to download Lucene and add robust search and indexing capabilities to another piece of software.

Even with open source and docs, getting Lucene up and running requires a bit of work. Erik Hatcher gives you a boost up the learning curve with his feature Lucene Intro. Erik provides easy to follow code examples of how to index the text documents in a given directory and then how to do analysis and searches.

Use, modify, and expand Erik's examples to provide these capabilities in your application. When it comes to deploy your application, your average customer may not need to see the Lucene source any more than I need to know who manufactured the cooling system in my car. Open source certainly has an impact on the deployment of an application -- it allows us to include features we would otherwise have to build from scratch and may not have time to implement.

In other featured Weblogs today Greg Vaughn notes that JavaSpaces [are] Still Alive in an entry that traces the "backwards" development of J2EE. Vaughn traces a history that started at the presentation layer with Servlets and has worked its way down. Now he reports on a free JavaSpaces JMX component. Jack Shirazi announces the latest issue of the Java Performance News. Thanks Jack for the blog which provides a nice TOC with direct links to each of the articles.

In the Also Today section, we link to Chuck Cavaness' ONJava article that has stirred up a discussion Why Web Developers Need JavaServer Faces. Cavaness talks about the problems that JavaServer Faces is designed to address and points to JavaServer Faces resources. Also Dustin Marx considers how he would update his two year old advice for best practices for JSPs. In the JavaWorld article More JSP best practices he presents more modern advice in light of the advances in tools and in the spec itself.

Steve Mallett, the Java Today news editor has gathered the following
Java Today News Headlines : "Project JXTA Annonces Town Hall Meeting", "RSSOwl ver. 0.3a released", "LAN Instant Messenger 0.3.1 final Released", "JBoss, Sun Agreement in the Works?", and "McDonald's beefs up Wi-Fi trials".

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