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Mark Little's Blog

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Mark Little

JBossAS renaming update

Posted by Mark Little Nov 7, 2012

I just wanted to post a quick status update on the renaming of the core JBoss Application Server project. As you all know, we asked for the community to send in their suggestions for a new name a few weeks back. We were overwhelmed with the number of names we received (well over 1500!) With the benefit of hindsight this shouldn't have been a surprise, but the amount of names we received were a lot more than we expected. Unfortunately this has had an impact on our timescales. Whereas originally we thought that we'd be putting up the more popular names for a community vote by now, that hasn't been possible because we have had to go through these names and check them against trademark infringements etc. This takes a lot of time, proportional to the number of names we received and we're only just drawing that phase to a conclusion. So what this means is that rather than announce the results of the vote at Devoxx next week, we'll be announcing the names that we're going to vote on. At this stage we're looking at a voting period of a few weeks and that then takes us into the Christmas holidays, so we'll probably make the final announcement early in 2013.

I'm going to be giving the keynote at the Red Hat Developer Day in London in a couple of days time. You should come along and hear what we have to offer to developers and also what we'd like developers to help us with. I'll try and hang around as long as possible to speak to people, but unfortunately I'm actually on holiday this week and it's my wife's birthday the day of the event! So apologies in advance if I miss you this time around.

I'm just back from speaking at CLASS (Cloud Assisted Services) Conference in Bled, Slovenia, where I was asked to speak on the Red Hat vision on Cloud. Ales was also there talking about CapeDwarf and Trustin gave a tutorial on building applications on top of Infinispan. There were a lot of other speakers talking about their experiences and vision for Cloud, and it was good to meet some of them and see that our thoughts are in line with those of others. Unfortunately I was only able to spend a couple of days in the area and just one day at the conference, but it was still worth attending. Some areas of interest included listening to Ken Ducatel speaking about what the EU have planned in terms of security and authentication standards for all cloud vendors operating wthin the area, and then real world Cloud uses from Kate at Argonne National Laboratories and Christine from AmpLab.


But another important reason for attending the conference was that it was my first time in Slovenia and to meet the entire team based in the area. I was already impressed with the team (hey, they're JBoss engineers, so what else should you expect ?), but Slovenia was much more beautiful that I had expected. Upon reflection, if I'd done my homework or been awake on the flight from Paris to Ljubljana airport, I'd have seen much of this from the air. However, I didn't and it was a very pleasant surprise. I hope to have further opportunities to visit the area in the future and next time I'll spend more than a couple of days!



Mark Little

JavaOne 2012

Posted by Mark Little Oct 10, 2012

I'm just back from JavaOne, where once again we had a great turn out for JBoss related sessions (almost a dozen!) I'm sure the other speakers will post blogs, if they haven't already, to give everyone an idea of how the event and their sessions went. My own were well attended and judging by the various comments in the talks and afterwards seemed to appeal (slides should be made available on the JavaOne site soon). I know that the "meet the EE7 experts" session was also well attended, but this time I was in the audience and Pete Muir did a great job of explaining some of the things we'd like to see improved in the standards as well as the way in which they're managed.



Of course one of the things that has quickly become a tradition with JBoss (and a success) is our booth and the booth sessions/presentations that we do. There were 21 sessions this year and every time I swung past the booth it was packed! Many of them were recorded so they'll be online eventually, but this picture I took gives you an idea of the level of interest.




And of course another tradition is the JBoss Party. We held it this year at the MOMA and although it was slow to get going, it quickly gained the momentum that is typically associated with out parties!



Overall the feeling throughout JavaOne was great and I think JBoss and Red Hat participation was key to this. So here's looking forward to next year!

Mark Little

JBossAS renaming

Posted by Mark Little Oct 6, 2012

I had thought that we had been pretty explicit about the reasons behind the recent announcement of the JBossAS rename, but some feedback I've received makes me think that another entry is necessary. As I said before, there are a number of factors involved in the rename decision, some technical and some not so. But one of the major issues we want to fix is the confusion inherent in the term 'JBoss'. Sometimes people use it to mean the community. Sometimes it's the middleware group in Red Hat. Sometimes it's the EAP product.  And sometimes it's the community application server project. This confusion can cause major problems, especially if you download JBossAS (AS7) assuming you're going to get a fully supported binary, only to be told weeks, months or years later that that isn't the case!


So we find ourselves at a point where, because the project and product often diverge over the lifetimes of versions, it creates a lot of confusion when they have the same name. Instead, when people see software called "JBoss," we want them to know that it's a commercial product with a well defined SLA and support lifecycle, in contrast to the community projects with best effort forum-based support provided by the community. And other projects with "JBoss" in the name will continue to be renamed, as we've already been doing for the past several years with messaging, transactions, security, etc. We also hope that more clearly distinguishing the projects from the products in this way will encourage wider community participation.

When you think of major influences on Java middleware over the years then JBoss the company and JBossAS the project should be in your list. Whether it's bringing J2EE to the masses, helping open up the Java Community Process, or simplifying application development, JBoss has played a significant role. However, as I've pointed out several times, the middleware landscape of today has changed and is continuing to change radically and we continue to change with it - in fact I assert that we are driving a lot of this change. Our plan, best summarised around JBossEverywhere, is obviously to continue to drive for further improvements in the EE standard and specifically in our implementations, e.g., DeltaSpike. The JBossWay initiative is the project under which many of these changes will happen. Of course we have far more today than just an EE application server, so JBossWay will extend to those as well.


Our work with mobile and embedded devices, such as running projects including AS7 on a RaspberryPi, helps to put the capabilities that all enterprise applications need into the hands of developers no matter where they are. Of course the various polyglot work such as with TorqueBox and Ceylon, is equally important because although we believe the JVM is the right base on which to build, we don't want to force people to use Java. For the kinds of cloud PaaS that we are focussing on with OpenShift, this flexibility is critical. It's also flattering to see others trying to copy us! And talking about cloud, CapeDwarf leverages JBoss EAP6 underneath GAE interfaces in OpenShift, so JBossEverwhere truly goes from the small scale to large scale!


As I mentioned before, the JBoss name now covers far more than an EE application server. We have SOA, BRMS, Portal as well as tooling, and with the acquisition of FuseSource and Polymita our breadth and depth of technologies increases. JBoss morphs every time an acquisition occurs; in fact every time we hire someone we evolve, being influenced by them and influencing them. So really when I talk about JBossEverywhere I'm talking about JBoss/Arjuna/Metamatrix/Fuse/Polymita/.../Everywhere. Mobile and cloud have driven another area of innovation: NoSQL and BigData. With Infinispan and JDG we announced part of the strategy there. But much more is to come in the near future. I can't go into details just yet, but suffice it to say that I've been working with teams across JBoss and wider Red Hat to formulate a plan that will take shape over the coming months.


JBossEverywhere is intended to put JBoss technologies into the hands of as many developers as possible. The recent JBossAS project rename announcement and associated strategy to enable developers to gain greater access and availability of our products, is therefore yet another "string in our bow". I am sure that by allowing all developers to use our products for free whilst at the same time ensuring innovation in our communities, is not only a game changer for professional open source, but it also helps all of our communities grow and benefit from each other. Of course there's a long road ahead of us with all of the plans I've already mentioned, as well as those that I haven't. JBoss will continue to evolve. JBossEverywhere will influence much of what we do in the coming months. And I'm hoping that with the changes we've announced recently that all of our communities will help make it a success.



I first came across JBoss in 2002 when started Arjuna Technologies and we were looking around for ways to leverage the transactions and messaging pieces we'd brought with us when we exited HP. We subsequently replaced the JBoss transaction and messaging pieces with our own and had a fairly successful business selling that combination. Fast forward a few years and JBossAS was dominating the open source J2EE landscape. With the evolution of enterprise Java, EE5 and then EE6, the Red Hat acquisition of JBoss, and a few other changes in our industry, JBossAS evolved and became the basis of everything we do. Whether it's portal, SOA or mobile, JBossAS is the fabric on which we build. And then of course there's the Fabric effort which is continuing to feed into it and other projects.


What this means is that JBossAS today is very different to what it was a decade ago. The uses cases it has to satisfy are orders of magnitude more complex and diverse than they were. Put simply, although Java EE is central to what it does and we do as a community, it is no longer the only driving force behind it. And over all of these years, through all of the changes I've mentioned, we've all known it as the JBoss Application Server, or JBossAS. With EE6 came our shorthand of AS7, but it was really still JBossAS. Well now we'd like to change that. We've had lots of discussions here and we believe that the time has come to change the name of our project to better reflect the changes we've seen in its reason for existence so far, but also for what's to come in the future. Importantly with something so influential to open source, we want our community to be involved in the rename in just the way they have in other aspects of its life. So this is your chance to suggest a name that will be associated with the number one application server.



Mark Little

StrangeLoop 2012

Posted by Mark Little Sep 27, 2012

I'm just back from StrangeLoop and the first word that springs to mind to describe it is ... Strange. It's definitely a unique conference, covering a breadth of topics that used to be the mainstay of events like this two decades ago, before we had the more targeted efforts we see today. In some ways it worked really well: I sat in many sessions and learned a lot about things I probably wouldn't have known about any other way. But in other ways it felt confused and rushed. Some of the talk, mine included, were pushed to just 25 minutes, which is not enough time for most topics. And then there was little to pull the individual sessions together into a coherent message or theme. There were tracks, but they were often split across many different rooms requiring people to move around a lot; this may be a good thing to encourage mingling, but it can also be confusing if the "tracks" have sessions in parallel. At the end of the first day I knew I'd been in many interesting sessions, but most of the time I wanted to hear more and couldn't. As someone with me mentioned, it was like eating tapas!


Now don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at StrangeLoop and come away with ideas I may not have had otherwise. But I can't help feeling that I was either missing something or that the conference was. However, the venue in the Peabody Opera House was great!




But after three weeks of traveling back and forth across the Atlantic, my last image summarised how I felt sitting in the airport on the way home.



Well in case you haven't seen the recent announcement, I'd like to welcome Polymita to the rapidly expanding JBoss family! This is yet another acquisition in the SOA space and I think it compliments our Fusesource acquisition as well as the work we've been doing around jBPM, BRMS and Drools. This is a really exciting time for JBoss/Red Hat and I'm looking forward to working with the Barcelona team. Congratulations and onward!

Mark Little

JBossWorld 2012 keynote

Posted by Mark Little Jul 3, 2012

We did a great keynote at JBossWorld 2011. I don't recall the exact number of people in the audience, but the auditorium was packed. So this year we knew we had to try to repeat that experience and it was always going to be difficult. However, I think we did it! The room we had this year was supposed to take about 700 people, but it was packed again with people standing and sitting on the floor. Fortunately you can now all judge for yourselves as the video and associated blogs have been uploaded by the team involved. I want to say a big thanks to everyone who spent months working on the demo - the slides were the easy part of the keynote!

Red Hat has done a number of acquisitions over the years, including JBoss and Gluster. Well it's with great pleasure that I'd like to announce another: FuseSource. What's particularly special about this aquisition is that the team at FuseSource are first class members of the open source community, driving many great projects such as Camel and Karaf. Furthermore, we've been working with them and using several of their projects for a number of years. We've got Camel in Switchyard. We've got CXF in EAP 6. So it's not as if our two groups of engineers are strangers to each other - quite the contrary. In fact if you look closely at what we've been doing in JBoss in the SOA space over the years and the direction in which the FuseSource team have been heading, this is a meeting of minds as well as companies. I'm really excited about the prospects for our collaborations in the future and I'm sure you'll be hearing more from us over the coming weeks and months. But for now please join me in welcoming the team to Red Hat and JBoss. Onward!

I've seen a lot of FUD directed at me, my teams and our products over the years, especially whilst I've been at JBoss. But recently some came our way that was so bad and so inaccurate that it almost seemed like a waste of time to debunk it. But debunk it we did and Shane wrote a great article on it. Here at JBoss we don't do FUD, just facts. Many of us have strong scientific backgrounds and reproducibility and provability is important whenever we make presentations, write papers, present at conferences etc. So be warned: if you send FUD our way we will respond and kill it with the facts! What made this feeble attempt worse in my eyes (apart from the number of inaccuracies in it!) was that the author tried to pull me into the FUD directly by referencing my recent EAP 6 release announcement and using that as "proof" that we had immature implementations, poor architecture etc. That annoyed me because not only was I taken completely out of context but the facts speak for themselves. I posted a comment on the original article's comment page, but I doubt it'll be approved so I'll copy it here for posterity:


"Ricardo, your article is so full of inaccuracies I don't even know where to begin. You need to do your homework better, because FUD of this quality is very easy to debunk! I would also appreciate it if you would not misquote be (sic) in future as you have. I did not refer to the things you mention in that paragraph and you used a very underhanded approach to attempt to make out that I did. Not very professional."


Now I'm not going to tell this company what to do with this FUD, but I'm sure some of you can guess. All I will finish with is a simple statement: if this had come from someone in JBoss then I'd at least be having a few stern words with them Fortunately I trust my teams and know we only hire the best!

Mark Little

EAP 6.0 on OpenShift!

Posted by Mark Little Jun 26, 2012

It hasn't been that long since we announced the availability of EAP 6.0 and I'm really please to make another related announcement: EAP 6.0 is now running on OpenShift! We've been running the community version of the application server on OpenShift for over a year now, with much success and adoption. We started last year with AS7.0 and the Web Profile, moving on earlier this year to AS7.1 with the Full Profile. However, as I said earlier these are the latest and greatest community versions, with all that that entails. I won't go into the community versus product differences again, except to point you at a great article from Rich Sharples. So putting our platforms (all of them eventually) on to OpenShift was an obvious next step. This gives developers and customers the stability that they've come to expect from all of the JBoss platforms, along with the great capabilities that we get from AS7 such as performance, scalability, lightweight(-edness?!) and manageability. And guess what? This is the world's first PaaS based on a supported Full Profile EE6 application server!


In fact being "cloud ready" is something we've been trying to ensure for all of our projects and platforms for several years now, and especially EAP 6.0. But what does this really mean precisely? Well for a start the tools that developers use are more naturally integrated with the cloud. To see what I mean by this you should really take a look at some of the great work of the JBDS team under the leadership of Max Andersen. Furthermore, because we've been working on cloud (PaaS and IaaS) for several years now, we've architected EAP 6 so that it can take advantage of the underlying infrastructure services to scale out on demand, as well as cope with some of those interesting idiosyncrasies that some IaaS providers impose, such as no multicast. And if you saw my keynote from last year's JBossWorld, you'll understand some of the architectural changes we've made within AS7 and associated projects to better support an "as a service" approach, which is important for the Cloud.


It is worth repeating that this announcement means we're the first to put a supported EE6 application server into the cloud. As part of doing that work we've learned a lot about what it means to be "cloud ready" and the limitations or restrictions that current standards impose. So although we can say we are done for now in terms of the implementation, we're definitely not done in terms of feeding those experiences back into projects, specifications and evolving standards. As a result I'm expecting to see us use these experiences to influence heavily new standards such as EE7 and EE8.


OK, so what next? Well now that EAP 6 is on OpenShift you should expect to see more of our platforms appear there over the coming months. But for now, just enjoy EAP 6 on OpenShift and for the best experience ever, make sure you check out JBDS as well! Onward!!

OK, so on the same day we announce the release of EAP 6.0, we also announce that our JBoss Data Grid, our NoSQL offering based on Infinisipan, is also available. You will definitely see and hear a lot more about this at JBossWorld and JUDCon from the likes of Manik Surtani and his team. Just as EAP 6.0 is a major announcement for us in the traditional enterprise Java space, so too is JDG important in the new and evolving world of NoSQL and BigData. I know that the team have spent a lot of time and energy getting this release out and working with early adopters in our early access program. This would have been a monumental effort at any time, but having to do this at the same time as pretty much everyone else was working on EAP 6.0 ramped up the pressure. Yet deliver they did and on time! So my congratulations go to entire team, including QA, docs etc. You've all done a fantastic job and keep it up!

Mark Little

EAP 6.0 GA Released!!

Posted by Mark Little Jun 20, 2012

We began planning for EAP 6.0 just over 4 months after I took over from Sacha. Having been with JBoss since 2005 and lived through various AS and EAP releases, I knew how important this new version would be. We had EE6 in its final stages of ratification in the JCP, with core capabilities such as CDI and Bean Validation that we had lead; there were new projects that were related to that effort in the JBoss world and new people in various positions (not just me) to lead this. But if history had told me anything, it was that it wouldn't be an easy ride; we've have ups and downs, highs and lows over the years and it's inevitable that things won't always go according to plan with an effort as significant as EAP 6.0. But I felt that the team could produce the world's best EE6 compliant application server in the community and likewise for our customers.


Well if you've followed our progress over the past months and years you'll know that we did it in the community first (of course!) with our certified Web Profile implementation and then Full Profile release. I won't go on again about all of the good things you'll find in the new application server, except to remind everyone that they include significant improvements in performance, reliability and ease of use. And lightweight? Of course! But the community release was only the first step towards EAP 6. Between then and now we've run an extremely successful Early Access program, which has allowed us to make further improvements based on feedback from those users. We've also put the code through probably the most rigorous testing that I've seen for any application server I've worked on (and I've worked on a few, across several different companies). We've worked on the docs, quickstarts, training, support and a host of other materials that are often taken for granted and yet are just as critical to a successful product as the code itself. Looking back on all of this, I'm surprised that we managed to accomplish so much in relatively little time! But today is the official release announcement. And you'll hear more about EAP 6 at JBossWorld next week of course!


I've had the privilege of being involved with some of the best software developers and managers I know, and watched them create a quality offering in the community and now for our customers too. The feedback we've received since the first community releases has been overwhelmingly positive, as has the early access feedback. And we've even managed to find time to put it on to OpenShift, where it has been successfull as well! I'm confident that we'll build on this success as we move forward with point releases for EAP 6, other products that will be based on EAP 6 and of course, slightly longer term, EAP 7 and beyond! After having seen how well we've worked as a unified team (engineers, QA, docs, support, product managers etc.) I don't think there's much we can't do if we set our minds to it! Though I think everyone deserves a bit of a rest now and time to recharge those batteries!!


So with that I just want to end by saying a very big thank you to everyone involved in the EAP 6.0 adventure. Whether you helped cut the code, test it, define what we had to do, use it, or anything else related to the product, you're all part of the team and can be justifiably proud of what we've all produced. And I also want to say thanks to Sacha for giving me this opportunity!



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