JBoss Tackles AJAX, Web 2.0 with Seam Update

JBoss, a division of Red Hat, updates its JBoss Seam Web application framework to better support AJAX and Web 2.0 development.

JBoss, a division of Red Hat, has announced an update to its JBoss Seam Web application framework.

At the JavaPolis conference in Antwerp, Belgium, JBoss announced Seam 1.1, with new features that enhance the development of Web 2.0 applications through integration with AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) technology, the company said. JBoss made the announcement on Dec. 13.

The JBoss Seam framework integrates SOA (service-oriented architecture) technologies such as AJAX, JSF (JavaServer Faces), EJB3 (Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0), Java portlets, BPM (business process management) and workflow. The new features in JBoss Seam 1.1 expand on the number of supported application servers as well as improve integration with AJAX-based applications.

New features in JBoss Seam 1.1 include a new POJO (Plain Old Java Objects) component model, which presents an alternative to EJB3 and enabling JBoss Seam to be used with containers like Hibernate or Apache Tomcat as well as with J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) application servers that currently do not support EJB3.

A Java container is a runtime entity that provides services to specialized Java components. And developers also can build standards compliant JPA (Java Persistence API)-based applications using JBoss Seam 1.1, JBoss officials said.

Other new features include new tooling for data-driven applications; integration with ICEfaces and Ajax4jsf, which are open-source JSF-based AJAX solutions for building rich client applications; support for atomic conversations; and a new concurrency model designed with AJAX in mind.

JBoss officials said JBoss Seam reduces complexity at the architecture and API level by letting developers assemble Web applications with annotated POJOs, componentized UI widgets and XML.

"This update to JBoss Seam reinforces it as a unified programming model for any development environment where simplicity, speed, and ease-of-use are desired, from the simplest to the most complex applications," said Ram Venkataraman, director of product management at JBoss, in a statement.

"Our users have weighed in: JBoss Seam delivers what it promises. With many of them contributing valuable feedback for this latest update, were continuing to make JBoss Seam a versatile programming model for all developers."

In an interview with eWEEK regarding JBoss Seam, Marc Fleury, senior vice president and general manager of Red Hats JBoss division, called Seam one of the hottest technologies in the JBoss fold today.

Seam is "a very powerful framework based on very simple ideas, very intuitive programmatic interfaces," he said. "Im very proud of what Gavin [Gavin King, a JBoss core developer] and his team is doing, because they are repeating a success that they have had with Hibernate. And thats no mean feat. One time is luck, twice is just through and through talent."

Fleury said the Seam project is "really what JBoss should be about: Green-field research with real applications into the enterprise. And were doing this in a standard way. To me its a great example of what can be achieved when you put a talented group of folks together and give them the resources to go and do what they need to be doing."

Indeed, Fleury said the uptake of Seam within the JBoss community has been "tremendous. The download profile of Seam with 5,000 downloads a month right now when its not even a 9-month-old product, shows all the signs of a thoroughbred. And Seam 1.1 works with WebSphere and WebLogic by demand be-cause people asked for it."

Meanwhile, JBoss is offering Seam to a broader audience by pushing it through a standards body. This effort has been started as the Web Beans JSR (Java Specification Request), known as JSR 299.

Among the companies that have signed on to support it are Oracle, Sun and Google. "These are all the guys that are looking at how do you write a modern application, how do you write a rich Internet application and whats the component model behind it," Fleury said. "In the middle of the Web frameworks noise--I mean you have a thousand little AJAX frameworks—Seam is trying to push a standardized view. And signing up all this industry support behind this effort is a very encouraging thing."

Fleury said the JBoss Seam team is already looking at opportunities that could result from Suns open-sourcing of Java. Moreover, among other technologies Seam borrows from Ruby on Rails and its focus on simplicity.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about Sun open-sourcing Java.

"Gavin has taken some of this simplicity and tried to build it into Seam with the tag approach," Fleury said. "And now some of the team are thinking about now that we may have a GPL Java Virtual Machine, cant we build scripting facilities that we can fix the class loaders finally so that you can change something in the code and bam it appears on your Web page."

JBoss Seam 1.1 is currently in beta with general availability targeted for December 15, 2006. It is currently available as part of the JBoss Application Server 5.0 beta. Licensed under the GNU LGPL (Lesser General Public License), JBoss Seam 1.1 is free use and can be downloaded here.

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