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Mark Little's Blog

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Mark Little

QCon London 2012

Posted by Mark Little Mar 9, 2012

I've been going to QCon conferences for a number of years, at least from 2008 onwards. I've spoken on a range of things, from REST through transactions to the future of Java. And throughout those years QCon has never failed to be a stimulating place with people who want to cut through the hype and get to the real problems. In short, it has always been a great place to visit as well as present at. However, it's also been a relatively small venue, which helped to foster that almost 1-on-1 interaction with people that stimulates good discussion. Until this year! I don't know what they did, but QCon London 2012 was huge and yet still manages to retain the same feel as in previous years!

 

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I'm just back from giving a presentation (Is Enterprise Java ready for Mobile and Cloud?) and it went well. There was a lot of interest and according to the feedback I got, 92% of the audience thought it was good The presentation and video will be up eventually and I'll try to update this posting when that happens. The entire track that I was within (the Solutions Track on High Performance Systems) was very well attended and had interesting talks. For instance, I'm an F1 fan but this is the first time I've been in a presentation where someone managed to show how DevOps can learn from the F1 teams! Funny but very informative.

 

I'm looking forward to presenting at future QCon events. However, if you've never been to one before then I definitely recommend them!

Last year I mentioned that JBUGs are really important to us and that we were starting to make some changes to improve the way we work with them. Well I can now announce some more things that are happening around JBUGs.

 

For a start we are launching a series of JBUG leader calls with the JBoss core teams. Initially due to timezone constraints this will be restricted to North America, Latin America and Europe, but I hope we can offer this around the world soon. The calls will be at 12pm Eastern on the first Monday of each month, and each call will include a JBUG-focused technical presentation about some topic of interest, previews of things to come etc. During the call the JBUG leaders will be able to tell us what else we can do to help them out as well as ways in which they can collaborate. At the moment JBUGs rarely get to help each other, so we'll be looking at some online forum or mailing list where they can chat and tell each other what works and what doesn't work.

 

What qualifies you as a leader? Well if you regularly help in putting together a JBUG then you're a leader. And it doesn't matter if you are a JBoss/Red Hat employee either - you can still attend.

 

The first meeting is on the 5th of March (yes, it's close!) And in that call we'll be talking about AeroGear. The next meeting, on the 2nd of April, will be about the JBoss Developer Framework and DeltaSpike. And during that meeting we're planning on providing some discounted access to JUDCon for JBUG leaders, so you definitely don't want to miss it!

 

So how do you get involved? Well first of all you should sign up to the JBUG pages. Next you should start to follow the @JBossUG on Twitter. That account will provide us with a way to communicate. Hopefully everyone will find this a useful start to more improvements we'll be making to and for JBUGs in the near future. So come and get involved and help us shape this future.

Mark Little

JBoss 3D

Posted by Mark Little Mar 1, 2012

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone here given our efforts around Cloud, mobile and JBossEverywhere, but recently we introduced what I'm tentatively calling JBoss3D, or the Three Deployments. Essentially this means that from now on all of our projects will consider the three different types of deployment environment whenever developing new capabilities: mobile, cloud and traditional. Of course many of our projects have been doing this for a while, and others have started to think about it. But I wanted to formalise this so that everyone understands that our future relies in a range of environments. So if you're in the community as a contributor or user, then please help us make this a success!

There's really not a lot more I can say to describe how happy I am that we've just released AS7.1 and it's fully EE6 certified! The entire team has worked flat out for months (years!) to achieve this and not only have they done it, but they've done it with style! I'm not going to say much more because there are a plethora of blog posts out there already telling you all about AS7.1 so you should go take a look for yourselves. All I will add is that this is the start of the final lap for the EAP 6 release, so it won't be long before we'll be offering a fully supported EE6 platform to our customers as well as the community. Just watch this space!

 

Oh and for those who didn't see Jason's original email announcing the release, here it is:

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I am extremely excited to announce that JBoss AS 7.1.0.Final

"Thunderbird" has been released. This is the first JBoss AS release to

be certified under the Java EE6 Full profile. On top of that it brings

numerous management, security, and clustering enhancements. Altogether

this was a grueling release with 590 Jira issues resolved (we only set

out to do 311!), which brings us to a combined total of 1465 issues

resolved since 7.0.2.Final!

 

So, a very large thank you is in order to all of our contributors who

had a part in this release. All of those hours working around the clock

to make this happen have finally paid off!

 

Check out the extensive release notes here:

https://community.jboss.org/wiki/AS710FinalReleaseNotes

 

As always, you can download it here:

https://www.jboss.org/author/jbossas/downloads.html

 

Thanks, and as a mentor once said,

 

Onward!

It seems that my latest article on the polyglot evolution that you're seeing at JBoss/Red Hat has generated some interest, particularly the idea that this is about continuing to support Java in a major way. Well I took a few day off recently (Valentine's weekend) and got to thinking about why this seems news when I've been saying the same thing for a long time? The only conclusion I could come to is that maybe I've been using the wrong approach when describing it in the past. So to compliment what I've already written I put together another entry, this time over on my personal blog. I'll copy a few snippets here, but if you're interested in knowing more about how and why we're approaching this polyglot, go over and read the whole entry.

 

"This Polyglot movement is a reality and it's unlikely to go away any time soon. Fast forward a few years we may see a lot less languages around than today, but they will have been influenced strongly by their predecessors. I do believe that we need to make a distinction between the languages and the platforms that they inevitably spawn. And in this regard I think we need to learn from history now and quickly: unlike in the past we really don't need to reimplement the entire stack in the next cool language."

 

"I think the kind of approaches we're seeing with, say, TorqueBox or Immutant, where services implemented in one language are exposed to another in a way that makes them appear as if they were implemented natively, makes far more sense. Let's not waste time rehashing things like transactions, messaging and security, but instead concentrate on how best to offer these capabilities to the new polyglot movement that makes them fit in as first class citizens."

I mentioned the other day that Java is still incredibly important to us as a technology and community. But what about the area of standards? Well as our representative on the Executive Committee, that is something which is never far from my mind. I've spoken many times in the past about how we think the state of Java standardisation should be improved. Whether it's in the combined interviews Mark Proctor and I did for Red Monk, on the DZone Tech Chats, or on a panel session at QCon, the message is clear: the future of Java is tied critically to the future of the way in which it is governed. We're not the only ones to call attention to the often less than open ways in which the Java Community Process has been managed in the past; even Oracle did so prior to their acquisition of Sun. However, things have been improving and although the rate of change is often frustratingly slow, at least it is typically moving in the right direction.

 

As Scott mentioned last year, JSR 348 made some changes to the process that many of us have been asking for a while and we have been practicing in the JSRs that we lead. This isn't the end of changes to that process: as announced at JavaOne last year there is now the intention to merge the ME and SE/EE Executive Committees. Scott has a reference to the current discussions on that effort in his latest blog, so I encourage everyone to take a look and raise any concerns or questions through the appropriate channels. But this isn't going to be the end. For a start there's still a lot of work that we need to do on the processes, including further simplifications and more openness. Then it is likely that we'll need to look again at the merged EC: does a 25 seat body work well, for instance. So there's still a long road to travel before we reach our destination. However, I am hopeful that we'll get there and that it won't take us another 7 years.

Unless you're still recovering from Christmas, you can't fail to have noticed that we're doing quite a bit of work with languages other than Java. Those include Ruby, via TorqueBox, Clojure with Immutant, C/C++ in Blacktie, Scala in Infinispan, Ceylon and my own person favourite Erlang (ok, that's still more a pet project for me than anything else). But does this mean that we're turning our backs on Java? No, of course it doesn't! If anything it shows our continued commitment to Java and the JVM because all of these approaches to polyglot leverage our Java projects and platforms. I've said on a number of occasions that the future of middleware isn't to reinvent core services and capabilities (check out my Future of Middleware presentation, for instance). There's also a lot more that we have done so far and will be doing in the future that should show we're as committed to Java today as we've ever been:

 

 

The links are to some things I've said over the past 12 months, but the entire JBoss team has been saying and presenting on similar topics. So I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to find those references.

 

In conclusion, for all those people who believe that we're ignoring Java, I have to say that nothing could be further from our minds.

Mark Little

Middleware 2011 and FOME

Posted by Mark Little Dec 14, 2011

I'm just back from the Future of Middleware (FOME) workshop at Middleware 2011, where I was presenting a paper I co-authored on "Another Look at the Middleware for Dependable Distributed Computing". As you can probably guess from the agenda, it was a very wide ranging workshop covering pretty much all aspects of middleware that you could imagine, from enterprise through to sensor networks. Overall I thought it was great to see so many challenges still remaining in the middleware area and also that there was a lot of commonality in the way the authors, both academic and industrial, were proposing solutions: it's a good time to be in middleware research and development.

 

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So it wasn't uncommon to hear terms like "the internet of things", "ubiquitous computing" and "dynamically reconfigurable middleware". As with many of these events, it wasn't just the presentations that were interesting or worth the trip, it was also meeting the attendees and sharing experiences and thoughts. There was a good mixture of academic and industrial attendees and it was good to catch up with a few friends/colleagues that I haven't seen for a while, such as Rachid Guerraoui and Steve Vinoski (OK, I saw Steve a few weeks back at QCon San Fancisco!)

 

Unfortunately due to the time of year and the amount of work that we've got going on throughout the company I wasn't able to spend as much time at the conference as I'd have liked. So I didn't see the wider conference, only the FOME workshop. Plus, I didn't get a chance to see Lisbon, which is a great city that I've visited many times over the past couple of decades. The people are great, vibrant and friendly. And usually the weather is pretty good, though this time it rained, despite what the marketing image might suggest

 

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All of the papers are (or will be) available for free for a very limited time from Springer, so thanks to them for doing this. I encourage you all to go and download them because there's some really good material in there. The various presentations will be available eventually too, but I'm not sure where they will be placed (probably the FOME web pages.) Until they're available, I'll leave you with a couple of the slides from my presentation to whet your appetite!

 

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I'm a big softy at heart: whenever I see baby photos, or videos of them laughing I go all warm and fuzzy Seeing something come to life is wonderful. So you can guess how I felt when all of the work we'd been putting in to things behind the scenes finally flourished and Apache DeltaSpike was born! This is an important announcement for a number of reasons: first, it's multi-community based, with collaboration with many other CDI projects in the open source space (there are a couple of notable absentees, but hopefully they'll come along later); second, counting the time when we first thought about doing something around CDI in a vendor-neutral environment, it's been over a year in the planning. This is only the first step though, and we'll be announcing other related activities and thoughts around DeltaSpike, Seam etc. in the coming weeks and months. And we'll be asking for the community to help guide where we go with CDI at least, so if you're at all interested now is the time to put those thinking caps on.

 

As I said, this has been a collaborative effort both inside and outside of JBoss. My thanks go out to everyone who has helped to get us here and to all those people who will surely make this a success. Not only is this a good step for Seam and CDI, but hopefully it illustrates how EE6 can be a much more open effort if there's a willingness to engage in constructive dialog. So from my team and in no specific order, I want to end by thanking Pete Muir, Shane Byzak, Lincoln Baxter, Jason Porter, Dan Allen and many others. My apologies in advance if I missed your name out! And thanks to Jim Jaglieski who helped shepherd things.

It's official now: Ceylon is close to it's first beta and the team have launched the site at Devoxx. Of course we heard about Ceylon earlier this year but the curtain really came up last week. For a project that really only took off just after I took over from Sacha, Gavin and the team have done a great job. And in great JBoss tradition, I'm not just talking about the specification or implementation, but also about the thriving community that's built up in only a few short months! It's is yet another project that I wish I had more time to commit to it, so have only been able to help on the specification intermittently and only then much earlier this year, but as they say, every little helps (no pun intended!)

 

I'm really excited by Ceylon and what it might mean for other things we're doing in Cloud and JBossEverywhere. So expect to hear more about this effort in the coming months, because just like Java, it's going to continue to evolve. And can we please stop these "my language is better than your language" arguments? There's room in this evolving polyglot world for a few more, even if just to allow people to stretch their mental legs and see what works and what doesn't. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and reasoned arguments are always allowed; but flamewars, especially if they're subjectively based, don't help anyone.

 

Onward!

Mark Little

QCon San Francisco

Posted by Mark Little Nov 20, 2011

Just back from QCon where I was speaking about JBossEverywhere again and with help from Kevin, also trying to reproduce the original demo. Unfortunately due to issues with the new plug computers and network limitations in the room, we weren't able to show things happening live. Fortunately I brought along the video of the JBoss World demo and showed that. The feedback we received from the audience indicated that this was something that caught their imagination yet again, as well as showing us as a centre of innovation. All good stuff and it made my fourth trip to the States in as many weeks well worthwhile.

Mark Little

Cloud for developers

Posted by Mark Little Nov 16, 2011

So you've decided to develop for the cloud and your next decision is the language. Well I've already mentioned why Java is probably the best choice for you, especially if you want reliability, security and other enterprise capabilities. But as developers we all know that whilst these things are important, it's how you pull them together into an application that makes an incredible difference. It doesn't matter if you've got the best framework around if it takes a rocket scientist to be able to understand it or develop anything with it. This is where tooling comes in. And once again Java helps you here, because over the past decade no single language has seen the kind of explosion in developer-oriented tooling. Now I use the word "tooling" to cover a wide range of things. Whether it's IDEs such as Eclipse or IntelliJ, utilities to facilitate building your code e.g., ant, maven or Ivy, automatic code coverage tools like EMMA, or testing tools like junit or the DTF, you'll find them and much more in the Java ecosystem. You can say what you like about the language and it's future, but anything that eventually comes to replace it either has to leverage these things too or replace them, which is going to be quite a Herculean task.

 

Anyway, back to the cloud. These tools grew up because there was a need for them and naturally developing in the cloud doesn't necessarily remove that need. Yes we hear a lot about how cloud can simplify the life of a developer, but if you are a Java developer and it doesn't integrate with your favourite tools then your life is probably not simplified at all! We announced OpenShift back in May and then integration with AS7 several months ago. But despite the fact that at that time we did a lot of ancillary work around this to make it really simple to develop your applications, and we've done further work adding things like Arquillian, there were some important pieces missing. For a start it was originally very command-line driven, which is fine if like me you grew up using Unix and still use emacs, but is perhaps a slight burden for others.

 

So in the interim along with making a series of other improvements to the OpenShift runtime, the team have been working to simplify the life of a developer. The ultimate aim is to blur and then remove the distinction between cloud and non-cloud development, or at least as much as makes sense because at times you really do need to understand the differences. And when I say "the team" it's important to realise that once again, as with the AS7 effort, this has been work conducted by people across several distinct teams, including the OpenShift developers and JBoss engineers. I don't want to spoil the surprise too much because if you come to the webinar you will learn so much more from the engineers who have been involved with this effort, but what we are announcing in a few days time is a complete develop-to-test-to-deploy (d2t2d?) approach, including one of the most popular testing implementations and IDEs. And it's also worth noting that despite the fact I've concentrated on Java in this posting, you'll see that it actually goes well beyond a single language!

 

In conclusion, you'll find that not only was OpenShift the first Enterprise PaaS with EE6 support, simplifying development for the cloud and helping to shape where others had to follow, but now we are continuing that effort. And the emphasis is on "continuing": there is much much more to come from the teams in the coming months. I wish I could hint at some of them, but that wouldn't be fair to tease you or our competition So all I will say is watch this space and if there are things you'd like us to concentrate on then let us know through the usual avenues! Oh and enjoy the webinar!

 

Update: ok, so I wrote this entry on a flight and it took me a little longer to publish than I expected. In the meantime we announced some of this, so the surprise is already out there You should still come to the webinar though! Tries these links out in the meanwhile:

 

Jenkins + OpenShift How-To Blog:

https://www.redhat.com/openshift/blogs/build-test-and-deploy-using-industry-standard-jenkins-on-express

 

Jenkins + OpenShift How-To Video:

https://www.redhat.com/openshift/videos/build-test-and-deploy-using-industry-standard-jenkins-on-express

 

JBoss Tools + OpenShift How-To Blog:

https://www.redhat.com/openshift/blogs/getting-started-with-the-openshift-eclipse-plug-in-for-java-applications-on-the-cloud

 

JBoss Tools + OpenShift How-To Video:

https://www.redhat.com/openshift/blogs/deploying-java-apps-to-the-cloud-with-the-openshift-eclipse-plug-in

I'm just back from HPTS 2011, where I was chairing the session on Consistency Revisited and going to present on data inside and outside the enterprise in a large scale environment. I've been to this workshop many times in the past and it's always a great event to attend, not just if you're in the transactions space. Over the years it's had a great track record of predicting what's coming up across the industry, whether it's SSDs, Java transactions(!), or eventually consistent data stores. The papers/presentations will soon be on the website (as soon as I receive them from the attendees), but here are a few pictures to give you a sense of the event.

 

Here we have James Hamilton (ex Microsoft, ex DB2 guru) talking about the costs of developing and managing a data centre on the scale of Amazon. As someone else pointed out, it can't be many computing workshops/conferences that you attend and learn about electrical noise attenuation or transformers.

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In the next picture you can see everyone listening to Charles Lamb (ex Sleepycat) talking about Oracle's entry into the NoSQL space. There's a lot of overlap with what we're doing around Infinispan, so it was good to listen to some of the technical details.

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It's worth pointing out that the event is always held at Asilomar conference grounds, which has remained largely unchanged for decades. For many years there was no wifi and only dial-up modem, which helped you to remain focussed on the presentations. Then about 6 years ago wifi was introduced, but only in the main reception hall. This meant many of us would be there at about 5am in the morning catching up on email before heading to the workshops. However, this year they introduced wifi to the rooms which on the one hand is good but on the other is bad as it reduces the need to mingle.

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On the Monday evening there's a tradition of having a 2 hour or so series of poster sessions, where those who present have 10 minutes to cover their favourite topic. Most of the time these go well, but as the evening progresses and the more contentious talks come on, it's not uncommon for the audience to get more and more "troublesome" But always in the best possible way! Here we see Pat Helland (ex Microsoft, ex Amazon) presenting on why we shouldn't believe a word he says on transactions! It's a long story, but Pat has swung from being a pro-ACID/2PC guru, away from it and not back. His talks are always entertaining and this one was no exception.

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On the Tuesday evening there was a panel session on Scale Up vs Scale Out. There was only one slide for the entire 2 hours, but the time flew. The panelists covered the range of topics that this subject often raises.

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Asilomar is a great venue for a great workshop (probably the best workshop I've ever been to). It's always good to go to the workshop and the weather is usually pretty good too. So until I get the presentations uploaded, I'll leave you with one last image of the event.

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Mark Little

JavaOne 2011

Posted by Mark Little Oct 12, 2011

We're back from JavaOne and it was great! I could use various other superlatives to describe the event from a JBoss perspective but sometimes a picture really does paint at least a thousand words! First let's take a look at some shots of our booth in the pavilion.

 

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It was packed almost continually and particularly when we were giving the booth presentations, such as this one from Manik Surtani on Infinispan!

 

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A couple of our projects were also Dukes Choice Award winners! In these pictures you can just make out Andrew Rubinger, Aslak Knutsen and Dan Allen receiving the awards for Arquillian and Netty. Congratulations to the teams and their communities!

 

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I won't include any of the photos I took of various JBoss people out and about or partying, since I don't want them reciprocating Of course the major sad news during the event was the death of Steve Jobs. Not only was there a moment's silence at the JavaOne party where Sting dedicated Fields of Gold, but the keynote on the next day also held a moment's silence.

 

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We had a lot of talks at JavaOne and AS7 was the subject of many of them. It was really great to see the amount of interest from the attendees on what the team have been doing for the past 2 years. Here's a representative shot of Andrew's session afterwards, where it seemed like the entire audience came up to ask more questions!

 

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Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of my "guest slot" at the keynote on Tuesday, but it and our sessions should be available online soon. And watch out for other posts from the rest of the team on their JavaOne experiences!

Mark Little

Java EE as a PaaS

Posted by Mark Little Sep 29, 2011

Sometimes if you don't have anything useful/constructive to say it's better to say nothing. Case in point: I came across this posting today. It's the usual kind of statements from the vendors who don't really have an enterprise solution to offer their users so they try to deflect the argument to something else. In this case it's the typical "lightweight = agile" statement, carefully ignoring the realities that sometimes "lightweight = adhoc = maintenance nightmare = more expensive to maintain = not suffient for enterprise deployments". Look, I could rant about this until the proverbial cows come home but I've said so much about this before and at some point I need to stop banging my head against a brick wall! So rather than repeat, I'll just point at some relevant postings:

 

 

So take a look at these. I've tried to be very objective in many of them, because I really do believe that there's far too much smoke-and-mirrors and outright deception being pushed by some vendors.

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