OASIS looking to tackle deployment dependancies
An article on InfoWorld's website describes a recently announced effort at OASIS to standardize on how to describe software dependancies across heterogeneous environments. The newly formed OASIS Solution Deployment Descriptor Technical Committee is looking to help address the ongoing complexity and manual intervention required when dealing with the resource and system dependencies of software installation.
In deploying applications across multiple platforms, automating things like installation, configuration, rollbacks, and updates can be a real bear. Things like webstart are invaluable for automating the deploying Java client applications to heterogenous desktops, but deploying J2EE applications is a different story all together. Not only is the installation of any given App server different for each OS it supports, but the deployment of J2EE applications onto an App Server also varies from vendor to vendor.
If all goes according to plan, we should expect an XML Schema specification for describing these dependancies in about a year.
I can envision how this specification could enable the creation of an ANT equivalent for deployment. Just as the Apache ANT project automates and simplifies the application build process, this specification could make way for a Java-based deployment tool.
Yes, you can use ANT for deployment today, but as you can see in this Developer.com article, there's a lot of platform specific stuff involved. What is likely is the creation of sort of deploy.xml file that ANT can read and build.xml can reference, if necessary.
Either way, we should all keep an eye on this as it proceeds and, when the time is right, a Java reference implementation of this would be a great java.net project.
Thanks for reading.