BEA dispels misconceptions about middleware

Java isn't being displaced, conference told

BEA Systems executives at the JavaOne conference sought to dismiss what they described as marketplace misconceptions, including the notions that Java is being displaced, that middleware is obsolete, and that innovation and commercial software are both dead.

Company officials preached BEA’s blended mantra, which combines open source software with commercial offerings. They also stressed that dynamic scripting languages are not displacing Java but play a role in the enterprise.

Middleware, meanwhile, is not becoming a complete commodity, BEA says. Successful middleware involves pulling together a lot of different products and technologies into one solution, says Patrick Linskey, Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) team lead at BEA, which is a middleware company.

The company has been working on linking its WebLogic Server application server and EJB, he says.

“The people who say that middleware is a commodity are the people who have commodity middleware,” he says. The reality is there is a lot of interesting innovation going on in this space, he says.

Innovation in IT continues, says Bill Roth, vice president of BEA’s Workshop business unit. “In reality, we believe that innovation is everywhere,” he says.

BEA has been implementing innovations such as:

• atomic dynamic configuration, in which an application server can be reconfigured without requiring that it be taken out of service during the process;

• the ability to group a set of changes and have them succeed as a group or be rolled back as a group;

• a hot-swappable WebLogic Server, in which the server can be swapped out without needing any down time.

BEA officials also endorsed scripting technologies such as AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and Java) and PHP (HyperText Preprocessor). Use of Java, however, has increased and the language is not falling out of fashion in a manner similar to Cobol, according to Roth.

“As we talked to various people in the industry, it’s pretty clear to us that we are looking at a multi-language future,” Roth says.

PHP, which is useful for building interactive web pages, is being made to run on WebLogic Server, Roth says.

BEA also announced a collaboration with Interface21 to provide an implementation of the Java Platform Enterprise Edition (Java EE) 5 version of the programming language that is based on the Spring 2.0 framework.

The two vendors have worked together to use Spring 2.0 as a foundation for Java EE 5 components, specifically the Java EE 5 Common Annotations technology featured in Java Specification Request 250. These components features resource injection and EJB 3 interception.

With resource injection, configuration data is provided to applications without requiring look-ups. Interception is a way to refactor code and apply it to methods that require it rather than having to embed it in the source code of each application that needs it, Linskey says. Interception is part of the concept of aspect-oriented programming, he says. Interface21 features Rod Johnson, the founder of Spring.

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