Wednesday, January 27, 2010

OSGi standards and adoption

The TSS thread on Virgo and whether or not OSGi is ready for mainstream enterprise application development contains some misconceptions.

Firstly, that SpringSource is somehow not involved in the OSGi standards process.

That couldn't be further from the truth. Recently we've led the standardisation of Spring DM into the blueprint service specification and reference implementation while IBM provided the compliance tests. We are developing the reference implementation of the OSGi web container while IBM wrote the specification and are providing the compliance tests. Then, as we look to the future, we are leading two, and involved in other, new specifications targeted at R4.3.

Secondly, it is easy to get the impression that other vendors, such as IBM and Oracle, are about to solve the adoption problem.

I certainly hope they do, but, at least in the case of IBM's WebSphere Application Server OSGi alpha, their programming models seem very similar to that of dm Server and their development and build tools, where the real adoption issues seem to be, do not seem to be particularly advanced.

Perhaps IBM's large customer base and marketing machine will encourage developers to jump the necessary hurdles. But the tricky thing about a product like WAS is that, after the alpha code has been rolled into the main product, it will be very hard to measure real usage. The only real evidence will be customer testimonials and APAR (i.e. external defect) rates against the OSGi features, which IBM typically do not publish.

Let's see how Virgo gets on. At least the adoption should be easier to measure as users will almost certainly be using it for its OSGi features.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Building OSGi applications

The recent SD Times article on Virgo paints an overly bleak picture of the problems of building an OSGi application.

Build certainly complicates adopting OSGi, but many users are willing to overcome that problem in order to get the benefits of modularity and the service registry.

Also various tools are available to help. We developed the bundlor tool for automatically generating bundle manifests from the code in a bundle. Peter Kriens's bnd tool provides similar function.

People have successfully developed Maven and Ant builds for OSGi projects and various helper plugins. for instance PAX Construct, are starting to emerge.

Also, SD Times fails to mention the Enterprise Bundle Repository which already makes available (directly or via other repository front ends) about a thousand of the most popular open source Java components packaged as OSGi bundles with carefully constructed bundle manifests.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Eclipse Virgo project

The news just broke. SpringSource are donating the dm Server code base to as part of the EclipseRT umbrella project. This should be just the server runtime that EclipseRT has been looking for. The Virgo project proposal is available and more details are on the SpringSource blog.


OSGi (130) Virgo (59) Eclipse (10) Equinox (9) dm Server (8) Felix (4) WebSphere (3) Aries (2) GlassFish (2) JBoss (1) Newton (1) WebLogic (1)