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JBoss World Conference - Day 2

Posted by tmarrs on March 1, 2005 at 6:41 PM PST

I first attended Marc Fleury's keynote. Marc is the President of The JBoss Group, and he started out by stressing the viability and stability of the company.

He showed how the JBoss application server had moved from a 13% market share a couple years ago all the way up to a market-leading 34%.

He then covered JEMS (JBoss Enterprise Management System),
which includes:
JBoss AS (Application Server) 4.0 - Now J2EE 1.4 certified
Tomcat 5.x
Hibernate 3.0 - Now driving the EJB 3.0 standard
JBoss Eclipse IDE
JBoss Cache - Distributed Caching
jBPM - Workflow Management
JBoss Portal - Portal and Content Management

The JEMS vision is to for every piece to be plug-and-play:
- No monolithic software stack
- Modular - Use only what you need
- Avoid proprietary lock-in

Marc said that JBoss Portal & jBPM are high priorities this year.

He then mentioned how JBoss is now contributing to standards and innovation by being on the JCP (Java Community Process) and the EJB 3.0 committee.

Marc announced a couple of new initiatives:

JBoss Open Source Federation:
- An umbrella for new Open Source projects
- This differs from Apache & SourceForge because each project MUST by OSI certified and follow the Professional Open Source model by providing support for their product.
- Collaboration with Apache and SourceForge.

JBoss Network (rollout over 2005):
- Knowledge Access with a Customer Portal
- Software distribution - for deploying patches
- Application Management - Monitoring, Admin Console, and Cluster Management.I went to some great sessions today.

Bill Burke, The JBoss Group's Chief Architect, covered EJB 3.0 which will completely change how we deploy J2EE applications. Based on J2SE 5.0, we'll be using Annotations that specify the runtime behavior of an EJB: Security, Transactions, and so on. EJBs will now be Homeless :-), which means that there will be no more Home interfaces. Also, the EJB callback methods like ejbActivate(), ejbPassivate() are no longer required so you don't need an empty implementation just to satisfy an EJB interface. These methods are now considered "on demand" - you use them if you want to, but you're not forced to provide an implementation. Afterward, Bill mentioned that although the public release of the EJB 3.0 specification will be available this June, we still have to wait for the entire J2EE 1.5 specification. Bill expects to see the final J2EE 1.5 spec in Q1/Q2 2006.

Tom Baeyens, the founder of jBPM (a new Open Source workflow engine), gave a nice introduction to work flow concepts, and how you use work flow in your applications. I really like the fact that jBPM is easy to plug into your J2EE application - it's very loosely coupled and not tied into an underlying implementation like JMS, Web Services, and so on. jBPM looks like a great tool and I'm hoping to use it on some upcoming projects this year.

Rick MacConnell and Sameer Nanda of AutoTrader.com gave an excellent presentation on large-scale JBoss application deployment. They showed how they roll out patches to their application and JBoss upgrades to 200 host machines using Ant, and Unix tools like sed. The level of automation was outstanding. Just push a button and go. There's no need to fiddle with properties and setup on each indidividual machine.

On the conference floor, I found out that Richard Monson-Haefel isn't writing the next edition of his best-selling EJB book for O'Reilly. Due to Richard's job at the Burton Group, he's leaving his J2EE wtiting behind for now. I, like many others, looked up to Richard as a source of reference on J2EE standards and technologies - he will be missed. On a happier note, Richard has turned the reins over to Bill Burke, the JBoss Group's Chief Architect. This is a great fit because of Bill's heavy involvement with the emerging EJB 3.0 standard. So, I'm really looking forward to the 5th edition of the EJB book.

I also met with Teodor Danciu, the Founder & Project Manager of Jasper Reports, a powerful Open Source reporting engine on SourceForge. When I saw the demo, I was impressed. Teodor showed me a report generated from a JSP, and the report was very professional-looking. Jasper Reports uses templates to structure the report layouts, and there are other Open Source GUI tools such as iReports to help create the templates. Jasper Reports uses iText, another Open Source package from SourceForge to output a report to PDF format. Jasper Reports is loosely coupled, and doesn't depend any particular J2EE platform or database. This package is definitely worth adding to your Open Source toolkit. I hope to catch Teodor's presentation tomorrow.

Stay tuned - tomorrow is the last day of the conference.

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