Java Developers Abuzz over JBoss Seam

JBoss' new lightweight Java application framework seamlessly ties together JavaServer Faces and Enterprise JavaBeans.

JBoss Inc. Tuesday will formally announce the beta release of its new lightweight Java application framework known as JBoss Seam.

Already the Seam framework is generating a lot of buzz on Java forums, as developers take a peek at its capabilities.

Essentially, JBoss Seam is an integration framework that seamlessly ties together the Java presentation layer and the transactional/database layer, thus the naming of the technology, the company said. Seam integrates JavaServer Faces (JSF) and Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) 3.0, said Marc Fleury, chief executive of Atlanta-based JBoss.

JBoss Seam is the result of work begun by Gavin King, a JBoss core developer who founded the Hibernate project and created the Hibernate object/relational persistence and query service for Java. Hibernate is now a core part of the JBoss Enterprise Middleware System.

"JSF does a good job for the Web tier, but theres a gap in how to tie together the presentation layer with the transactional layer and the back-end database tier," King said.

So JBoss Seam is "a unified component model," where a developer can "write a component that handles business logic and is simultaneously understood by the presentation layer," King said.

Fleury said that while he does not wish to make a comparison with the productivity-focused Ruby on Rails (RoR, pronounced "roar") dynamic scripting, language-based open-source Web development framework, he acknowledges that RoR "was what crystallized this. Seeing Ruby-on-Rails-style productivity was definitely a catalyst."

/zimages/6/28571.gifJBoss delivers development tools that support the Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0 specification. Click here to read more.

Indeed, Fleury said JBoss recognized a need to get to even greater simplicity in Java development than what lightweight frameworks such as Apache Beehive and Spring provide.

"We had gotten so snobbish," he said of the Java worlds strict attention to often unnecessary Java patterns and "redundant" code. "But RoR was such a roaring success, we said we could do something like it in Java, but even better because Java is a typed language and you can do refactoring, etc."

However, Fleury said he is not trying to push one over the other, because developers will have to choose. But JBoss Seam is pure Java, he said.

Moreover, "were offering this portable across all application servers," he said. "This is not a lock-in scenario."

Indeed, King and Fleury said they will be willing to submit Seam to a standards body to be adopted as a standard. "Were open to it," they both said.

JBoss Seam is a new framework for building Enterprise Java applications, and JBoss also introduced its JBoss Microcontainer, a lightweight container that can be used to manage, configure and deploy plain old Java objects (POJOs).

Fleury said the Seam and Microcontainer announcements are "part of the bigger SOA [service-oriented architecture] picture for us. … This marks the entry of JBoss into the SOA world. Were the open-source platform for SOA. Were defining the programming model for the whole stack."

Fleury said the SOA picture includes the companys broad support for Web services—both Simple Object Application Protocol (SOAP) and Representational State Transfer (REST) style, increasing support for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX), and workflow—via the jBPM JBoss workflow and business process management engine.

King said the original thinking for Seam came to him as part of an application he did two years ago as a consultant. King and the Hibernate project joined JBoss in October 2003—and it reached its millionth download this month, the company said. But being the lead for Hibernate and pursuing his full-time wage earning responsibilities delayed the delivery of the finished framework. However, King said it would have been "difficult" to deliver Seam without being employed at JBoss.

"Its a logical progression for JBoss to do this," Fleury said. "When Gavin came to me with this idea I immediately gave him the green light to go out and hire people."

Next Page: Seam eliminates unnecessary programming.