Java staving off .Net, Spring founder says

J2EE technology is in a very healthy state, staving off the rival .Net platform and fostering innovation, said Rod Johnson, founder of the open source Spring Framework for Java development, in a presentation on Friday

A transformation has taken place among the J2EE community and leaders, Johnson said at TheServerSide Java Symposium in the US. Rather than representing chaos, the diversity in J2EE provides for innovation, he said.

"At the first TheServerSide symposium (in 2003), I must admit I was a bit pessimistic about where J2EE was going, because .Net was clearly mounting a very serious challenge," Johnson said.

"It's just very important to us that J2EE is a better technology," said Johnson.

Through use of agile programming methods, Java is now in a stronger position, said Johnson. He cited one unnamed survey that said J2EE appears to be growing while .Net is not. Agile programming involves a more interactive, collaborative style of application development.

J2EE is able to defend itself versus .Net, although both platforms will coexist, according to Johnson. However, "I think J2EE is probably going to be the stronger (platform)," he said.

One audience member professed to being a fan of Johnson's. "I consider him probably one of the most visionary persons," said Edmon Begoli, a Spring user and senior software architect at a United States national security-related organization. He agreed that .Net was once closing in on Java technically. "What I'm seeing is (that) open source J2EE is leaping ahead," Begoli said.

In his presentation, Johnson covered a wide range of topics ranging from the open source software movement to outsourcing of software jobs.

He stressed the value of open source software, although he added that commercial software shall remain. Although he said open source is not about getting something for free, he did not delve into methodologies for generating profits via open source.

Instead, he cited the value and economics of open source. "It's just unwise and expensive to build a J2EE application today without using open source," Johnson said. Open source software should be used because it is the best solution, he added.

Johnson also touted AOP (aspect-oriented programming), which allows for complementing object-oriented programming through modifications to meet new requirements. The merger of the AspectJ and AspectWerkz projects for AOP represents a milestone both for AOP and J2EE, he said.

Offshore outsourcing, Johnson said, is coming. "I think all of you guys in this room can compete successfully by adding value," he said.

He listed technologies to watch for Java programmers, citing inversion of control, dependency of injection, unit testing, test-driven development, and object-relational mapping. Web application development also is critical, according to Johnson.

"How we build Web applications and deliver them using HTML is pretty awful, so you need to watch the rich client space as well," said Johnson.

Also at the symposium on Friday, Oracle announced availability of Oracle Application Server Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) 3.0 Preview, to enable developers to gain experience with the latest EJB specification.

Oracle said its implementation of EJB 3.9 offers testability outside of the container and demonstrates how to address backward compatability, interoperability, and migration issues.

The vendor's JDeveloper IDE and TopLink Java object-to-relational persistence architecture also will leverage EJB 3.0.

The EJB 3.0 Preview is available for free at www.oracle.com/technology.

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