Spring Creator Rod Johnson Leaves VMware, Makes Mark on Java

Rod Johnson, creator of the Spring Framework and founder of SpringSource, has left VMware and has also indelibly left his mark on Java.

Rod Johnson has left the building, but he left a sign on the wall for the Java elite: Rod was here.

Johnson, the founder and CEO of SpringSource and the creator of the Spring Framework, announced that he has left his position as senior vice president of application platform strategy and general manager of the SpringSource division of VMware.

And Rod did it Sinatra style€”his way. He made his mark. Not necessarily in Sinatra€™s New York, but in the New York City of the software world nowadays: the open-source business. If you can make it big in the open-source biz, you can make it anywhere in software. It takes a tough and scrappy exterior to make your way to the top of an open-source pile. And topping out in open source in the enterprise software world means you€™ve done something real. Rod€™s contribution to the world was the Spring Framework, which has helped a whole generation of enterprise Java developers by alleviating the pain of dealing with Enterprise JavaBeans (EJBs) and other Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) complexity.

The best tools are typically those that come out of need. Rod needed to make enterprise Java development easier for his own sake. He was working as a software consultant in London and decided to do something about the complexity he had to deal with in building enterprise Java apps. So he created Spring in his €œfree€ time. Above the many qualities that set Johnson up to succeed in the software business, perhaps his greatest is his ability to connect with developers€”to feel their pain.

€œI love to code,€ Johnson once told me. €œCoding has a profound effect on me. It€™s like playing the piano in that respect,€ he added. Johnson holds a Ph.D. in music history, as well as a B.A. in math, computer science and musicology. He even spent time as an instructor at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music while writing software on the side in his homeland of Australia.

Spring emerged from code Johnson wrote and published in his 2002 book, Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development. The Spring Framework open-source project began in February 2003 and Interface21€”which was later renamed SpringSource€”was launched in 2004. That year, Johnson also published the sequel to his book, J2EE without EJB with Juergen Hoeller, co-founder of the Spring Framework project.