Category Archives: OSGi

JBoss is working on OSGi too

home_callout_jbossosgi.gifI wanted to download the latest version of JBoss AS to deploy it to a new server, and while I was wandering round their site to see what is going on, I found an interview of Ales Justing by Mark Newton about the work they’re doing with OSGi.

Apparently they are not waiting for it to happen. They’re really taking part in it, which is refreshing because ever since Redhat acquired them, I’ve always been afraid of the possibility that they could rest on their achievements and have trouble keeping up with innovation. Obviously I was wrong and since they even have some people inside the Enterprise Expert Group, we can expect some pretty good integration of OSGi into future releases of JBoss.

They are even going as far as reengineering a key part of their architecture, which is the microcontainer, to integrate OSGi. That’s really an excellent thing because I’ve always found that JMX is really a pain to manage. According to the interview, they are totally changing their core classloader:

We could probably use the classloading features of existing OSGi frameworks but it would again mean bending around things to make them work. As we wanted to have a bullet proof implementation, where all the nasty details were hidden away under private/protected modifiers, it was important that we could tightly control access through policies and delegation. From this perspective it made more sense to implement our own classloading layer.

Concerning integration with Spring, apparently they are still taking their distances. I guess it has something to do with the fact they Spring/Hibernate competes with EJBs and has thus encouraged many developers to choose a simple Tomcat server instead of a full-blown JBoss for their deployment. But as long as I can freely deploy my Spring/Hibernate on JBoss and still benefit from features like SOAP, JNDI, JMS and so on, that’s fine with me.

So that’s one other major actor of the enterprise application server market who is moving towards OSGi. Did I already say that it’s going to be big? And OSGi DevCon is certainly going to be very important this year.

Towards a mainstream Open Source OSGi application server?

That’s official: SpringSource has just acquired Covalent. Or as I explained it to one of my colleagues, “the company behind our IoC framework has bought the one behind our application server”.

My first reaction was satisfaction, because it’s another step forward in the direction of corporate Open Source adoption. It’s always amazed me to see how big companies can be afraid of Open Source. And the fact that there is now one bigger support service offer behind two of the most popular Open Source technologies in the enterprise will certainly reassure some skepticals.

The second “kiss cool effect” was undoubtedly about something I’ve really been playing with lately, since Javapolis: OSGi. The fact that componentization-related JSR’s are so fragmented and so alpha, plus the recent works of Spring Dynamic Modules for OSGi, added to Peter Kriens’ presentation at Javapolis, all of that really got my attention. And now I’m dreaming of building a collaboration platform using Flex for the front-end and OSGi, Spring and Hibernate JPA for the back-end. The only component that’s missing in my big picture is a deployment target platform, i.e. an OSGi application server. Of course, JOnAS is working on that but there’s no documentation on their 5.0 server whatsoever. And I’ve heard Websphere and Weblogic are using OSGi too, but hey, I’m talking about Open Source here! Now have a look at the documentation of both Tomcat and Spring. They’re probably amongst the best Open Source documentations on the planet. Now imagine that quality of documentation for a brand new Tomcat 7 server using OSGi as a core deployment mechanism, and integrating Spring DM libraries to ease the development of web application bundles.