The ServerSide Symposium

The ServerSide Symposium

I arrived in Vegas this morning on the 6:30am flight from San Francisco. There are very few things that cause me to get up that early.

The day started with Floyd again telling everyone how great they were and how they were really smart and how cool TSSS is. I really think they should do this with facts rather than statements. The TechTarget people that acquired TSSS have a pretty cool instant polling system that I think would be great to have access to as a speaker. I hope the speakers knew about it ahead of time and are going to poll their audiences. Here are the results of the poll:

Should java be open sourced:
59% yes

This is an inexact question because it is not qualified with what form this would take but you can see it is somewhat of a community divider. Myself, I voted no, mostly because I don’t think that without further explanation it is a valid question. For instance, lets say it was released with GPL and all Java code that used it needed to be GPL’d. I don’t think you would get a 59% yes response worded that way. For my needs, Java is sufficiently open sourced. I can download it and file bugs and patches against the source that they expose.

Star Wars versus Star Trek:
Star Wars about 65% — he moved quickly.

I believe that you have to compare the best vs the best. In that regard I compare Empire Strikes Back to Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. For me, in this case, Star Wars still wins by a nose,

What is the most important thing when choosing a web application framework?
application maintainability 34%
ease of development 27%
existing architecture 19%
leverage skills 10%
code reuse 11%

This is clearly the result of asking this question to advanced java developers. People choose Java because you can go back to code that you or someone else wrote and figure out what it was doing and how to change it. There are quite a few technologies that this doesn’t apply to that people are trying to push.. *cough* PHP *cough*. These weightings generally reflect my biases.

What Java IDE do you use?
Eclipse 53%
Idea 20%
jbuilder and wsad 7% each

No surprise here except that I think IDEA has gained on Eclipse from this same written poll last year. Remember that WSAD is also Eclipse which puts it at 60%. There were a bunch of other ones on the slide but they were all noise.

What web framework would you use?
struts 47%
spring 21%
tapestry 8
webwork 2
other 15

I voted other on this one because I really think that JSP 2.0 is going to be sufficient for my needs. With the new automatic prelude/codas, tag files, and scriptfree pages I can build and extremely clean system without using any of these containers. I was a bit surprised that JSF wasn’t listed, however I’m not going to use it because of its incompatibility with JSP EL, etc.

After the introduction to the conference Floyd introduced Mark Hapner, a lifer at the JCP who has had his hands in virtually every interesting (to me) JSR. His talk was mostly about how the community now owns most of the infrastructure it needs to build services on the internet and that we should never again accept a proprietary wire protocol. He then drifted into something about mixing SE and EE technologies that didn’t make much sense. I’ve never had any problem mixing things that were designed for SE into WebLogic. Blah blah blah, collaboration, potential, all kinds of vague innuendo about lightweight containers without talking directly about it. Somehow he went from this to message and exchange patterns within an application and between them with some hand waving about unix pipe composition. The only problem is that unix pipes are incredibly ad hoc and have no meta data associated with them while the XML messages that he is talking about compositing are typically in well known self-describing formats. Perhaps unix processes should be able to output a schema for their output with a command line option so you could grab known fields instead of randomly grepping through stuff like you do today. I think Microsoft has some sort of shell for .NET that does things like that, though it goes a little too far to the object side. He also Seems to have a lot of Random Capital letters for Things in his Talk. Somehow I think that is supposed to elevate them to “ideas” but really they are just words and without specifics things like Service Component is not that interesting.

Finally he gets to the point, “here are the specs I’m working on, use them:”

J2SE as the basis
JMX for management
JBI for collaboration
J2EE for its Service (capitalization his) technologies
Build it and other Service technologies will come

I’m not so sure on that last point. From what I can tell only .NET and Java really have the support for advanced WS-I technologies (this is what he is really talking about I assume). Not that it is a bad thing, but I don’t think you are going to see much Ruby, Python, and PHP playing in this service platform or even talking to it without a lot of work. That is of course unless you are using an implementation that runs on the JVM and just leverage all the Java libraries for dealing with this stuff.

Now that he’s made his point he goes back into vague arguments about making the Java Platform the web build-out technology. Why he’s making this argument to a bunch of Java developers who are already using the Java platform to do all this stuff, I’m not sure. We all either believe in this vision already or are spies for Microsoft or the collection of duct tape technologies (the Ps).