Skip to main content

JBoss World 2006

Posted by gsporar on June 18, 2006 at 3:33 PM PDT

Sun was a premier sponsor of
JBoss World 2006
. This caught some folks by surprise. But if you think
about it, it makes sense. JBoss has
been an active member of the Java Community Process (JCP).
The attendees at the conference are interested in enterprise Java software. Sun
has tools and deployment solutions that would be of interest to those sorts of
folks. So it is a natural fit.

And in fact, we had pretty good traffic in our booth. There were four demo
stations setup. One each for the NetBeans IDE,

Sun Java System Application Server

(project Glassfish),

Sun Composite Application Platform Suite
, and the

Sun Java Application Platform Suite

I did demos of the NetBeans IDE along with Brian Leonard
Angela Caicedo.
One of the great things about the attendees at this conference is that they
already know about enterprise Java development. So it is not difficult to show
them the advantages that the NetBeans IDE provides: wizards for creating all
sorts of things (servlets, EJBs, filters, listeners, JSP pages, etc.), sample
applications, an HTTP monitor, automatic creation and management of deployment
descriptors, integrated support for the JBoss application
server, etc. The ability to quickly create a basic CRUD (create, read, update, delete)
application and deploy it to JBoss version 4.0.4
using NetBeans IDE
version 5.5
got some attention - Brian
has created an
excellent description
of it.

And of course, I went to some sessions. Thoughts on the most interesting
ones are below.

Migration Experiences

This was done by Mark Smith of
Valtech. He has been the chief architect
on a project for over four years now that involved retraining 120 COBOL programmers
and having them implement a large (1.5 million lines of code)
enterprise system in Java. A key requirment is the ability to maintain state
during transactions that involve communicating with
fourteen unique external systems. They tried
storing information in the session, then they tried stateful session EJBs, and
finally entity EJBs. They ran into scalability and/or reliability problems with
all three (at that time they were using an application server that was
not from JBoss or Sun).

They eventually crafted their own solution, based in part on
JBoss Cache. In the
end, they created a framework that Mark described as "a poor man's version of
Seam." One other comment
he made that is worth noting: "With Seam, Gavin King is doing for Inversion of
Control what he did for Object/Relational mapping with Hibernate."

SOA for Developers and Architects

This was a very informative and entertaining session done by
Burr Sutter
of JBoss. His intent was to strip away the hype from the world of
Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and talk about what is really happening
in the real world of enterprise systems. Some of his comments that stood

  • Many of the systems described today as "SOA" by their implementors are not
    terribly sophisticated. There is a lot of passing of ASCII files around
    via FTP.
  • The Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is not so "simple" anymore.
  • Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) is not yet widely adopted. He
    referred to it as "WSDL with logic."
  • The Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) protocol is
    not yet widely adopted. Many system architects keep a spreadsheet with
    the URLs of the web services they need.
  • The goal of implementing an SOA is not reuse. The goal is agility and
    alignment with business processes.

  • REST
    is a very popular approach to doing web services, but discoverability
    and description of a specific service's APIs are an issue.
Development Tools

My favorite topic. :-) Max Rydahl Andersen of JBoss did a session on the tools that he
has developed for Hibernate. He did
an extensive demo and he spent some time talking about how "support for NetBeans
is on the road map." Toward that end, he has recently added contributions from Leon Chiver
Petr Zajac
to the cvs repository on As Roumen has mentioned
before, both
plugins are currently available (here
and here).
For more information,
check out
this post
from Max.

I attended a two-hour hands on lab on the
JBoss Eclipse IDE. This was taught primarily
by Marshall Culpepper,
who is the development lead for the JBoss tools. Max was also there and
did a brief demo of his Hibernate tools. Marshall stepped us through the process
of registering an installation of JBoss 4.0.4 with Eclipse and then creating
an EJB3 project. We used the tools to generate entity classes based on a
database schema. Then we wrote a simple servlet to display a field from one of
the entities.

It went okay, although there were some rough spots. The tools do not manage the
deployment descriptors, so we had to do those by hand. Likewise with specifying
the contents of
the .jar, .war, and .ear files. We were using the current version (1.6.0) - I think
they said some of these things might be improved in version 2.0.

After the lab ended I met with Marshall, Max, Koen Aers,
and Shaun Connolly, the
Vice President of Product Management for JBoss. We discussed some ideas for
providing better support for developers who want to use the NetBeans IDE with
JBoss software. So stay tuned.

Some Photos - Click for Full Size
Marc Fleury gets a t-shirt
Marc Fleury wears the t-shirt
Heavy traffic at the Sun booth
Brian doing a demo
Angela doing a demo
Demoing the NetBeans Profiler
Happy recipient of the last t-shirt we had