2006 Was Springs Coming-Out Party

The CEO of Interface21 says the open-source Spring Framework became ubiquitous in 2006, with many people using Spring-powered apps daily without even realizing it.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla.—2006 has been a pivotal year for the open-source Spring Framework, but it is just the beginning of bigger and better things for the Java development platform and its keepers, said the founder of the project.

Delivering a keynote speech at The Spring Experience conference here on Dec. 7, Rod Johnson, founder of the Spring Framework project and chief executive of Interface21, the core maintainers of the framework, said, "2006 was the year that Spring became ubiquitous. This is the year of consolidation for Spring adoption. Spring was confirmed as a de facto standard."

Indeed, Johnson ran through a quick demo of checking his banking transactions online and then visiting the Web site of the European patent agency to look for patents and said that Spring is at the heart of both systems.

"Today we interact with Spring in our daily lives without knowing it," Johnson said, noting that many banks and financial institutions use Spring. "This is really only scratching the surface; there are tens of thousands of Spring-based applications," he said.

Johnson said many people use Spring-powered applications daily and dont even know it. He said travel agents and travel service companies, airlines, airplane manufacturers, retailers, the U.S. Postal Service and other government departments are all Spring users.

"This is how we got to this position to cement Springs place in the heart of enterprise Java," he said.

One of the highlights of 2006 for Spring was the release of Spring, Johnson said. However, "Spring 2.0 is a launch pad, not an end in itself," he added.

Johnson said that in the next year, key technologies such as OSGi (Open Services Gateway initiative), Spring Web Services and further improvements in Spring Web Flow will take leading roles in the platform.

Johnson said two of his favorite things about Spring 2.0 are annotation driven transactions and the AspectJ library aspect.

February marked the introduction of Spring Web Services 0.9, which supported contract-based Web services, Johnson said.

Following that, Spring played a prominent role at the annual JavaOne conference in May in San Francisco.

First Interface21 and BEA Systems announced the Pitchfork project, in which BEA would use Spring in its implementation of WebLogic Server.

"BEA sees competitive advantages in using Spring … and Spring is the core of the forthcoming WebLogic 10," Johnson said. Incorporating Spring with the BEA technology will help BEA cut time to market, reduce risks, and improve functionality, he said.

Meanwhile, Oracle announced at JavaOne that it would be using Spring with the Oracle middleware. Also in May, Interface21 completed version 1.0 of Acegi Security for Spring, Johnson said.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about Oracles Spring 2.0 integration.

Then in June, the federal tax office in France rolled out a new Web interface based on Spring. And in July, Voca, a U.K.-based provider of payment services to banks, went live with a payment engine based on Spring technology, Johnson said. The company overhauled a Cobol system with 10 million lines of code and replaced it with a Java-based system running Oracles database and BEAs application server on Sun servers.

"Spring gave them an increase in developer productivity," Johnson said.

In August, Interface21 trained its thousandth developer on Spring. In September, the company saw the one million downloads milestone go by, and as of now there have been more than 1.2 million downloads of Spring.

Spring 2.0 went final in October and the demand for downloads was so heavy that it took down the Interface21 servers. Also in October, the Spring Web Flow project reached 1.0 status, Johnson said.

And leading up into October, Johnson said he had observed steady growth of interest in OSGi and the Spring OSGi project gained momentum. "This will be a key story in 2007," he said.

Finally, another highlight of the year was the hire in October of Neelan Choksi as senior vice president of the Americas for Interface21. Choksi founded and ran SolarMetric and then, after selling the company to BEA, drove the open-sourcing of the SolarMetric Kodo technology as OpenJPA.

Choksi, though he has only been with Interface21 for two months, said he sees a vast amount of opportunity out in the marketplace for the Spring technology.

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