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Mark Little's Blog

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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!

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!



I've been saying for a while (and not vocalising publicly for a lot longer) that JBoss is about Java and all things JVM related, yet has much wider applicability. We've seen this with the success of projects like TorqueBox and Immutant, as well as new arrivals like AeroGear. And we're committed to OpenJDK for obvious reasons. The JVM is our bread and butter; we'll use it and improve on it where it doesn't work as well as we need. And it should go without saying that we are committed to open source in everything we do, and to making the working environment within Red Hat the best place for engineers to be. So with that in mind I am extremely pleased to be able to announce that Charlie Nutter and Thomas Enebo have joined us, bringing with them their skills around jRuby. Both Charlie and Thomas have been instrumental in making jRuby what it is today, both technically and from a community perspective. They'll be working with various teams in JBoss and Red Hat, including the obvious candidates such as TorqueBox, Immutant and OpenJDK, but also helping us deliver on our polyglot visition. I can say that bringing them to Red Hat has been almost 2 years in the making, but it's time that has been well worth spent and I have great expectations for their future here. Therefore, please join me in welcoming Charlie and Thomas to the JBoss/Red Hat family!


By the way, I know that Charlie is presenting at JRubyConf this week, and will be making a similar announcement (probably already has by the time you read this). The TorqueBox team are there to welcome Charlie and Thomas too, so if you're there and see some folks walking around with red fedoras, why not grab them and either welcome them to the Red Hat team, or talk with them about where we are going with Ruby and other polyglot efforts. On a personal note, I'm looking forward to working with Thomas and Charlie on a number of core projects for JBoss and Red Hat!

A while back we released AS 7.1 to the OpenShift community. And a little further back we announced the Web Profile of EE6 was available. Well with AS 7.1 we've completed the Full Profile certification, and naturally that has a positive impact on what's available to OpenShift users today. In order to try and make some of these new features, such as Web Services, transactions and JAX-RS, easier to understand and consume in the cloud, we've been working on some collateral material in the form of blogs and videos. Each of these will attempt to show a specific aspect of the EE6 Full Profile and how you, as an OpenShift developer, can make use of it. Enjoy this sampler, and expect further announcements around JBoss World on official Full Profile EE6 support for OpenShift.

The voting has been completed, and the winners have just been notified. They are:


Documentation: Markus Eisele - Arquillian  

Markus, a very active blogger in the JavaEE space, has taken an interest in Arquillian and has written multiple blogs about the project and how to use it with alternative containers. He helped translate the “Getting Started” guide into German, which gives Arquillian native language support in one of it’s biggest supported areas.


Wiki: Hantsy Bai - Arquillian

Hantsy jumped at the opportunity to contribute to Arquillian, and produced no less then three Chinese guide translations: “Getting Started”, “Getting Started: Rinse and Repeat” and “Getting Started Faster with Forge”. His contributions open Arquillian up to a whole new world of developers.


Issue/JIRA: Bartosz Majsak - Arquillian 

Bartosz started out as a early Arquillian advocate, publishing multiple articles about Arquillian on his company blog. It wasn’t long before Bartosz became a key part of the Arquillian project. Today, he is not only an active contributor, but the lead of multiple modules - Persistence, Spock and Seam2 - and an active speaker at conferences around Europe on topics related to Arquillian. He has a unique interest in the topic, and brings with him an endless source of new and interesting approaches from his previous testing-related work. Bartosz is also a well-known name on the forums, where he does everything from helping users get started, to openly discussing future directions for the project.


Bug Fixes: George Gastaldi- JBoss Seam 

George Gastaldi is a long time member of the Seam community, and has contributed many bug fixes and new features to the Seam project.  As community module lead for “Seam Reports” and co-lead for “Seam JCR,” George's work on these modules, and in other areas of Seam has been extremely valuable for raising the level of quality in Seam - and for providing important features for Java EE developers. He is always willing to lend a hand to other developers, and his efforts quite often go above and beyond expectation, many times assisting other developers in areas outside of his own usual areas of contribution. George has a friendly, energetic attitude and is an absolute credit to the Open Source community.


New Features: Esteban Aliverti - Drools 

Esteban has shown a dedication and commitment to high quality work over the years for a variety of areas in Drools. His GUI work includes complete components such as the change-set and spring editor and also many incremental improvements to the guided editor. He has also undertaken complex improvements on the knowledge agent for incremental builds.


Thanks again to all who participated! And we'll see the winnders at JUDCon Boston to receive their awards.

I'm off to Belfast this week to give a keynote at the newly opened Titanic Suite at the Titanic building in Belfast. This is going to be a first for a couple of reasons: the building only recently opened, so this will be the first Java (and JBoss) presentation there, and the organisers have arranged a Google+ hangout with the speakers after the event. We're also going to spend some time visiting the Northern Island Science Park, meeting some of the companies there and seeing what's happening in the area. I'm looking forward to that very much because I think it's a great opportunity for me to learn about some areas of our industry that I might not see otherwise. And of course I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little excited about the venue: I've been interested in the story of the Titanic since I was a child and watched the original A Night To Remember (I'm a long time fan of Kenneth More and those "classic movies" where fairly modern when I first saw them!) Growing up I've read a lot about the Titanic, seen various films and programs, and of course built the model (several times.) So it'll be great to see what they have in the Titanic building and I'm fairly sure I'll have the opportunity to take a few photographs of the event. So if you're in the area, come along and hear the presentations, ask some questions, have good food and drink, and soak up the atmosphere.

I'm just back from giving my keynote at JAX in Mainz. I have to say that the event was well managed and there were about 2000 people there to hear about all sorts of things Java related. The only downsides were the wireless network, which appeared to be non-existant most of the time, and that I came down with a (man) flu the day before I traveled and was definitely under the weather throughout my time at JAX. That's a shame because I really wanted to experience it and Mainz much more than I was able to in the end. However, despite this I managed to give my keynote and hopefully the fact that I had cold didn't come through and impact it. The subject of the keynote (is enterprise Java ready for mobile and cloud) is something I've spoken about before, but this time I updated the talk and went into more detail about some areas where Java and the JVM need to be improved. I got the impression during the talk that it was going well and certainly afterwards the feedback was unanimously positive. However, I'd timed it for 60 minutes, when in fact I only had 45, so the last few slides were a bit rushed. But despite that, I think the message came across: Java, the JVM and Java middleware, most certainly do have a role to play in mobile and cloud; as a Java community, the future is ours to lose, and as long as we can make the necessary changes, it should be a bright future. As I said at the end of the presentation, now is probably the most interesting time to be a Java developer with the exception of 1996 when Sun released it!


One thing that confused me when I arrived at JAX was that the program contained presentation abstracts in either English or German. I didn't understand why until I went to a couple of the sessions, and the rule was pretty simple: if the abstract was in German (even if the title was English), then the presentation would be in German (even if the slides were in English). Fortunately the German sessions I did go to were easy to follow via the slides, since my German is almost 30 years old and rarely practiced!


However, the thing that impacted me the most (quite literally) about JAX was the journey back to the airport. It started by my forgetting what time the flight was, so I had to grab a taxi instead of the train. Then I got into a teleconference as we headed down the autobahn at Break Neck mph. About half way through the teleconference (yes, Craig and Rob, it was the one we were in together!) a guy in front of us ran into the back of another car. The taxi driver slammed on his breaks and managed to stop before hitting the car in front - he didn't even need to swerve to prevent hitting. So I breathed a sigh of relief and then milliseconds later thought (and you're probably already ahead of me here!) "what about the cars behind us?!" Sure enough, one car slammed into the side of the taxi followed by another car hitting that car. So like I said, it had quite an impact! Fortunately no one was hurt, but the entire autobahn was closed. After the police arrived (one officer looking like Chris Hemsworth's Thor - you know, smiling nicely but with an undercurrent of 'don't &%^* with me or I'll smash you with my hammer') they sorted things out, but there was no way I was getting another taxi for quite a while. The clock was ticking and my flight wasn't going to wait for me. But another witness happened to be heading to the airport so he gave me a lift and I thank him very much!


If you're interested in seeing the carnage, then the taxi is the one closest to the central reservation (almost hidden in this view). What you can't see is the two other cars further down the road that caused the incident in the first place.




So all in all, JAX was a very good and interesting conference. But next time I think I can do without the excitement on the way back from the event! (I should also add that I continued on the teleconference throughout the crash, so I don't think anyone there noticed!)

I mentioned that along with a number of my team, I have the pleasure of attending JAX Mainz in just over a week's time. I'll be giving a keynote on some of the challenges facing Java and the JVM in the future, particularly in the area of cloud and mobile. I continue to believe that these new frontiers can and should benefit from the experiences the Java communities have learned over the years. Of course there are technical challenges that cloud and mobile present which we haven't always had to consider in the past, such as scalability. But sometimes I think that the challenges aren't always technical: the "not invented here" syndrome is something I've encountered throughout my three decades of software development, so it's not just the domain of these new technological waves. But it is there and hopefully we can work together to break down these barriers. I've blogged before about how I think JBoss can help a wider range of communities than we are traditionally associated with. However, a while ago I also had to write an article that made it clear that we are still very much in the Java world. This came about because there were concerns that we may be spending more time on "sexier" languages than Java or the JVM. But recently I've started to hear another concern that can probably be summarised as: JBoss is firmly in the Java arena and has very little to offer languages that don't reside on the JVM, whether they have their roots in the 20th Century, such as C or C++, or the 21st Century, such as Go.


Unfortunately yet again the truth is somewhat different if you stop to think about things. Anyone who has been working in the area of SOA will understand what I'm about to discuss and if you've ever used CORBA then you're probably already at the conclusion! Like it or not, CORBA and IDL were very successful in illustrating how you can have a language agnostic approach to building distributed systems. Simply define your service or object in IDL and then have a compiler produce the associated client and server stubs. From these you can construct your application and it really doesn't need to know how the constituent pieces are implemented. And CORBA has been around long enough to support many different languages, even COBOL! Despite no longer being as popular or widely used as it once was, it and the OMG are still around.


Now of course you may not want to use CORBA, but the principles that it illustrated (language agnostic invocations between objects or services) can be provided in a number of other ways, several of which are also standards based. These include REST (whether over HTTP or some other protocol if you want to improve performance, such as SPDY), Web Services (yes, this is another one that will split the community into supporters and detractors, but it is very widely available and deployed), or messaging implementations such as those supporting AMQP (OK not quite a standard yet, but it's heading in the right direction and will be there soon).


So you can construct applications, components, services etc. out of other components or services that are not necessarily implemented in the same language that you are using currently. In fact they may not be implemented in the same language as each other, if you are using several services at once. And building applications from distributed invocations (building distributed systems) is a lot less intensive than building core components from scratch (yet again). Believe me ... I've been there, done that and got several t-shirts to prove it! You really don't want to be implementing transactions, security, persistence etc. from scratch when there are perfectly good implementations out there that can be "wrapped" in your language of choice.


Of course there are a different set of issues to be considered when building distributed systems. These include performance and fault tolerance, but our industry (and academia) has many decades of experience in tackling these. So they should not be used as an excuse for ignoring middleware stacks, or individual components, that exist already. And yes, although I started out talking about JBoss, this really is an argument that can and should be applied much wider. I'm not suggesting we don't consider implementations from scratch, but that we don't have that as the initial reaction to every problem that comes along! So whether you're building in COBOL, C++, Java, Ruby, Lisp etc. if you've got a need for core services that we take for granted in enterprise middleware stacks such as JBoss, don't rule out either using the entire stack or cherry picking from it just because it's implemented in Java: you don't have to know Java or even use a JVM to benefit from the years of experience and maturity we offer.

Mark Little

JAX Mainz keynote

Posted by Mark Little Apr 7, 2012

I'm going to be doing a keynote at JAX Mainz on the 18th of April. Here's a copy of the keynote abstract:


"Platform as a Service has gained great popularity over the past two years. Many vendors have rewritten their middleware handbooks, and discarded existing investments in Java EE. With the rapid growth in interest around mobile, we're starting to hear the same things: that existing middleware implementations and approaches are simply not right for the mobile developer. In short, Cloud and Mobile represent the death of middleware! However, we believe that this approach may be short-sighted and risky. Not only does enterprise Java (particularly Java EE) have a critical role to play in Java-based PaaS and mobile solutions, but it can also be used as a platform for other languages such as Ruby, that are finding growing adoption in both of these areas. The requirements for real world Cloud or Mobile applications include reliability, security, fault tolerance and much more: things that your typical enterprise middleware developer has taken for granted for four decades. In this session we will discuss the needs for enterprise Java in both Cloud and Mobile. We will also suggest how Java, the JVM and associated standards and communities need to evolve in order to better serve these two growing and important aspects computing."


In essence the traditional role of middleware in the data center has been challenged to expand and meet the ubiquitous computing demands becoming more prevalent. The way applications are built, deployed, integrated and managed must accommodate the rapidly evolving mobile and cloud paradigms, without sacrificing security or performance. Open Standards, and a more agile stewardship of the Java Community Process will enable developers, architects and IT executives increase return on their existing IT investment and spur innovation in next generation application environments. So if you're in the area or you're going to JAX, come along and ask questions. Of course I'll use JBoss and Red Hat technologies to illustrate some points, but the fundamental issues are relevant to other platforms and frameworks.


JAX this year has a great contingent of JBoss people, so even if you can't make the keynote you can still hear about the innovation that's going on. For instance, there's Jay, AeroGear lead, who is talking about the project, HTML5 and other mobile technologies. Then there's Aslak who will talk about AS7, Arquillian and lightweight containers. Kris is talking about jBPM5 and other things going on in the world of BPM. And Stef will be giving an introduction to Ceylon. Definitely a lot of JBoss goodness to keep you happy!

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!


Mail Attachment.jpeg


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!

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