Friday, January 25, 2008

OSGi on the Server Side and the matter of the WOO

With the advent of a SOA approach to building enterprise applications, it is apparent that there is a need of a better modularity solution for Java server-side programming. Is 2008 the year for the ascendency of OSGi?

An Introduction to OSGi on the Server Side

No-Fluff-Just-Stuff founder, Jay Zimmerman, likes to refer to what he calls the WOO factor - window of opportunity - when talking about the dynamics of our software development industry.

For me, Adobe Flex is a case in point of the WOO factor that he talks about. It's a technology that was ready and in position at the right time to become a dominant RIA solution. In contrast Java was caught with nothing to show in the RIA space. It missed the WOO.

Right now, I have an engaged server-side project that will be built on OSGi. OSGi is here today, has a proven track record (Eclipse), and solves the problems of project size scalability that we need to grapple with over product life time.

Once again, just as EJB3 missed the WOO and has been eclipsed by Spring Framework, whatever standard that Sun will ultimately back via the JSR process will miss the WOO.

Why am I writing this as though I'm lamenting a sad development? I guess that's a good question. There's really nothing to be downcast about. Great software solutions on the Java platform exist outside of JSR land. Indeed, maybe the very best software used in Java circles has been the non JSR stuff.

In coming to the Java community I've never had a problem sidestepping the nonsense being peddled and instead adopted what made sense. With JEE I completely ignored session and entity beans and just used JMS MDBs and Hibernate. So in 2003/2004/2005 I built a distributed software system on principals that the SOA dudes are now all crowing about.

Building Effective Enterprise Distributed Software Systems
data-driven communication vs behavior-driven communication

More recently I've completely ignored MVC web frameworks on the server-side and instead went with RIA + SOA where MVC is completely done on the client-side. (Doing MVC on the server-side in defiance of the Fallacies of Distributed Computing was wrong headed from the get go.)

Web frameworks peaking toward obsolescence

So here we stand today poised to fish or cut bait on this matter of large scale SOA-based development on the server-side - and we badly need a modularity solution for Java.

This is the moment of the WOO and here stands OSGi.


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