Why SpringSource Brews Best Enterprise Java

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-10-20

Why SpringSource Brews Best Enterprise Java

CHICAGO-While the rest of the enterprise Java world, including Java steward Oracle, sort of plods along, VMware's SpringSource division is making moves that legitimize its claims of becoming the de facto standard for enterprise Java development.

SpringSource was able to entice mega Java backer Google to attend its annual developer event here, and to be a major-read platinum-sponsor. Google, for various reasons, including legal issues with Oracle, declined to participate in Oracle's JavaOne conference-which some developers have disparagingly referred to as "JavaHalf" because it did not live up to the expectations of previous years' events. SpringSource also did not participate in JavaOne.

However, on Oct. 19, VMware's SpringSource division announced a new set of cloud-based development and collaboration tools aimed at simplifying the entire application-development process.

At its SpringOne 2GX developer conference here, VMware announced a new set of cloud-based tools developed in partnership with Tasktop Technologies, a leading provider of task-focused development and ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) integration solutions. The new tools, known as Code2Cloud, build on leading open source development projects to provide a unified, setup-free development infrastructure delivered as a cloud service, said Rod Johnson, senior vice president and general manager of VMware's SpringSource product division.

"This is the single biggest announcement we've made to date; we think this is going to be a big deal," Johnson told eWEEK. Moreover, this year's SpringOne 2GX event is the biggest SpringSource has held yet, with more than 1,000 developers in attendance, Johnson said.

Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop Technologies and the creator of the Eclipse Mylyn project, said Code2Cloud allows developers to focus on what is important-business logic and writing great code. By removing the distractions of configuring development environments, setting up code repositories, and continuous integration and seamlessly incorporating issue-tracking systems, Code2Cloud removes much of the complexity and headaches from the application-development process, Kersten said. Code2Cloud is delivered as a service with no setup, and no hardware or software to manage to the more than 2.5 million members of the SpringSource developer community.

"For the past decade, SpringSource has always focused on improving developer productivity-from the creation of the Spring Framework and our rapid application-development tools, Grails and Roo, to the most complete Eclipse-based IDE, SpringSource Tool Suite (STS)," Johnson said in a statement. "Now, along with Tasktop Technologies, SpringSource will bring the same innovation to application lifecycle tools. To help our developer community prepare for the cloud, we are bringing the cloud to them with a complete set of development tools-to make every developer more productive."

Taking advantage of the cloud for development infrastructure is a great first step for developers and IT organizations to move forward with their public cloud strategy, Kersten said. While developers and application owners will be able to use Code2Cloud for the entire build process, it also enables a choice of Java cloud deployment destinations easily targeted at internal infrastructure, or public PAAS (Platform as a Service) offerings, like the enterprise-ready VMforce, a joint offering between VMware and Salesforce, or Google.

"We believe having a unified view of the process will give developers a chance for breakthrough innovation," Johnson said. "We plan to make the Spring model the natural value proposition for Java cloud computing," he added.

The software development tool chain has always been tedious to set up and integrate, Red Monk analyst Michael Cote, said in a statement. "While cloud-based development promises to make application delivery, deployment and use easier, I haven't seen excellent unified application-management approaches that take full advantage of cloud.

"VMware's SpringSource Code2Cloud is an ambitious attempt at moving much of the development management stack into the cloud and hopefully vacuuming up those tedious application-management tasks. It'll be fun to watch this idea evolve as more and more people and applications start taking advantage of cloud computing," Cote continued.

Code2Cloud builds on open source projects, including Eclipse Mylyn task management, STS (SpringSource Tool Suite IDE, Hudson continuous integration and Git source control, Kersten said. It provides a new cloud-centric issue tracker that is compatible with the popular Bugzilla bug-tracking system, as well as a dashboard for managing applications and development teams. The solution leverages the Tasktop Certified ecosystem of Agile and ALM integrations, ensuring interoperability with existing ALM (AppWare Loadable Module) tools and support for best-of-breed Agile technologies.

"Developers live and breathe inside their IDE," Kersten said. "With Code2Cloud, once the developer fixes a defect within Eclipse, the hosted code is instantly built, tested and deployed. Any issues detected at run time immediately show in the issue tracker and IDE with the full context of the failure, ensuring an unprecedented degree of integration between the running application and the day-to-day activity of the development team."

Between the open source Spring ecosystem and now Code2Cloud, developers have a destination for their tooling, their programming model, their deployment destination and now their application lifecycle tools, Kersten said. Much like the Spring Framework allowed enterprises to leverage their existing investments in software infrastructure but provided modern developer-friendly tools to access that infrastructure, Code2Cloud will be highly extensible to other ALM solutions via its implementation of the Eclipse Mylyn framework and of the OSLC (Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration) Web service standard.

Kersten demonstrated Code2Cloud during the opening keynote of the SpringOne G2X developer conference. The technology will be available as a developer preview in the first quarter of 2011. And when it becomes generally available, Tasktop will provide enterprise support and integrations with third-party Agile and ALM solutions.

Driving Innovation of Enterprise Apps


Meanwhile, VMware also announced a series of extensions to the Spring framework that will continue to drive the innovation of enterprise applications. Modern applications need to be easy to use, data rich, provide access anywhere and anytime, and enable collaboration with others. SpringSource demonstrated extensions to Spring that cover new use characteristics found in modern applications: handling data in cloud and large-scale environments, Web application support for mobile devices, integration with popular social media services and secure access to payment services for Web commerce applications.

"A new generation of applications has emerged that faces fundamentally new challenges of cloud scale and inter-connectivity," Johnson said. "We are committed to providing enterprise Java developers the innovative and productive tools they need to face these challenges as they build and deploy Java applications in the data center, private Java cloud or public cloud."

With the emergence of cloud computing, new elastic data caching and storage alternatives have emerged to address the performance bottlenecks inherent in traditional relational databases and back-end systems. New Spring Data Access projects have been created to provide simplified access to modern data-caching platforms such as VMware vFabric GemFire, noSQL data stores such as Redis, Apache Cassandra and high-speed cloud-messaging systems such as RabbitMQ. Spring Data Access has also been enhanced to provide fast connection failover, data source pooling and advanced queuing for the Oracle relational database.

Enterprise applications increasingly need to provide a rich, collaborative user experience across a range of platforms, browsers and personal devices. New Spring projects and enhancements have been created to enable application developers to integrate with popular social media services, including Facebook, Twitter TripIt, and LinkedIn, as well as target the latest mobile devices, including Android and iPhone. The Spring Social project provides support for authentication via OAuth 2.0 across social media sites and enables developers to securely access and interact with social profile data. The new Web application support for mobile devices extends the popular Spring MVC framework to provide automatic client detection and content adjustment to match device resolution.

Meanwhile, SpringSource has launched a new Spring Payment Services project to provide Spring application developers easy access to payment systems such as Visa, CyberSource, Authorize.Net and other alternative payment providers. SpringSource invites the Spring and Grails communities to participate in the project as the effort moves from initial incubation through general availability.

The Spring family of open source projects can be found on the Spring community website at: http://www.springsource.org.

Johnson said with Spring being 10 years old, SpringSource is set to take the technology forward toward another decade. For the first 10 years, SpringSource produced ideas that made enterprise Java easier for developers. And going into the next decade of Spring, the company plans to focus more heavily on new platforms, including mobile, non-relational data structures, or NoSQL, and social platforms, Johnson said.

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