Spring Welcomes Thaw in Chill with JBoss

Rod Johnson, CEO of Interface21 and founder of the Spring Framework project, said he would welcome a partnership with JBoss.

Despite an often tense relationship between leaders in their respective open-source communities, the Spring and JBoss leaders are now talking about a truce.

Rod Johnson, chief executive of Interface21, the company that maintains the Spring Framework, told eWEEK that he would welcome an opportunity to work with JBoss. Johnson spoke with eWEEK just weeks after JBoss leader Marc Fleury told eWEEK he was open to working with the Spring community in some fashion.

The apparent thaw in the often chilly relationship could signal a big boon to Java developers who use the Spring Framework with JBoss Hibernate technology. Spring is a lightweight Java application framework that helps developers avoid the complexity of the Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition (J2EE), while Hibernate is an object/relational persistence and query service for Java.

The height of the friction between the two camps was perhaps best captured in a blog post from last year by Scott Haug, a developer at Jobster, entitled "Hibernate Hates Spring."

However, many developers who posted comments to Haugs post said they use both Spring and Hibernate, and many called for a truce.

Said one responder, who identified himself as PaulE: "Im a developer working on a DOD [Department of Defense] project, using IBM WebSphere, Spring and Hibernate. I, like most developers, like using Spring WITH Hibernate because it reduces the pain of working with Hibernate alone. I really dont see why we are debating something that makes peoples lives easier."

Both Johnson and Interface21s Chief Technology Officer Adrian Colyer acknowledged that using Spring with Hibernate benefits developers and they would like to see some sort of relationship struck between the Spring community and the Hibernate/JBoss community.

Johnson, who spoke with eWEEK at the Spring Experience conference in Hollywood, Fla., Dec 7-10, said he was going to attend the JavaPolis conference in Antwerp, Belgium, Dec. 11-15, where Marc Fleury would be keynoting.

/zimages/1/28571.gifFleury seeks further investment in JBoss. Click here to read more.

"Id be quite keen to sit down with Marc and see whether or not theres anything that we can do for the benefit of our joint users and customers," Johnson said.

"Basically we feel that it would undoubtedly benefit users and customers if the two communities got on better," Johnson added. "And certainly I dont think any of the history came from our side."

Moreover, Johnson said that given Interface21s broader partnership strategy, there is no particular reason that the company could not have a partnership with JBoss. "We had some preliminary discussions with JBoss about 18 months ago… and we think that it would be quite interesting to explore how we could do business," Johnson said.

In addition, Johnson said he believes Spring is pretty clearly ubiquitous, "so the majority of JBoss customers are going to be using Spring. You look at our community-Sthe majority of our community is using Hibernate and theres a significant proportion using the JBoss application server."

Developers at both the Spring Experience and the JBoss conference in Berlin in November spoke of using JBoss and Spring technologies together. However, despite residual tension apparent from both sides, the leaders appear ready to work together. JBoss overcame similar issues the organization was experiencing with the ObjectWeb open-source community when JBoss struck a deal with the French IT giant Bull last month.

Of the Spring community and the possibility of working a partnership of sorts, Fleury added: "We are very open and I want them to know that."

/zimages/1/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.