Saturday, June 27, 2009

EJB 3.1 specs heading in the right direction

Since a long time EJB were loosing ground in favour of simpler and more effective programming models. specifically, Spring has become the leading framework to develop and deploy JEE applications.

For these reasons, a sense of urgency is pushing the new EJB specifications toward a massive simplification. This trend was clearly significant when the EJB 3.0 were introduced, and it is continuing now with the latest EJB 3.1.

Ken Saks, the Specification Lead for EJB 3.1, has written a nice summary of the hottest features. "A Sampling of EJB 3.1" shows you the most interesting news. Together with the upcoming Glassfish V3 , which is a very lightweight and OSGi based application server, the new specs can represent a quantum leap in terms of productivity and win back some developers.

It is difficult to predict if it is too late to regain developers' confidence and market quotas, but the combination of JEE 6 + EJB 3.1 + Glassfish V3 seems to be heading in the right direction: no overload of features but simplification.

Specifically, Ken Saks mentions:
  • Ease of Development: the ability to package enterprise bean classes directly in a .war file, without the need for an ejb-jar
  • No-interface View: you don't have to write interfaces if you don't need it
  • Simplified Packaging: You now have the option of placing EJB classes directly in the .war file, using the same packaging guidelines that apply to web application classes.
  • Singletons: A singleton is a new kind of session bean that is guaranteed to be instantiated once for an application in a particular Java Virtual Machine
  • Application Startup/Shutdown Callbacks: The introduction of singletons also provides a convenient way for EJB applications to receive callbacks during application initialization or shutdown

Simplification, is the way to go.