Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Weblogic

Weblogic: Article

Migrate Early, and Often:Maintain your flexibility to upgrade when the time comes

Migrate Early, and Often:Maintain your flexibility to upgrade when the time comes

Working at a software company and watching products evolve over the years, "Migrate Early, and Often"is the best advice I can give someone who is trying to stay on the cutting edge of technology. Obviously, if you have an application that's in production with no problems and you aren't planning on adding any new features, then of course keep the same version of the underlying platform. However, if you're developing a new application and are currently in the process of architecting and designing, you should definitely talk with your vendor about what you can expect in upcoming releases. Although you might not target the initial phase of your project to the new release, you can ensure that you have the flexibility to upgrade when that time comes. Keeping your options open will, in the long run, give you a more stable and maintainable product. As one of my friends, Peter Seibel (now at Kenamea), said, "Software gets better."And I think that you can say that almost universally. Some might argue that it should be phrased, "Software gets bigger,"but I take exception to that. This might be true in the world of desktop applications, where new releases inevitably exist only to encourage people to buy the next upgrade; in the enterprise people have support contracts that ensure the next version is available. All the critical aspects of enterprise software increase with each new release: reliability, administration, scalability, and performance. Those are the normal ones, but I'm going to add one more aspect that also gets better with age - one that WebLogic has concentrated on in our newest release: usability. That may not be part of the big four, but it's fast becoming one of the more important measures in the enterprise software world.

So what has WebLogic done in this release to increase usability? Migration is an excellent example and the focus of this issue of WLDJ. One of the big problems that people had moving from previous WebLogic Server versions to the newest release was the changes that had to be made to accommodate J2EE. The move from EJB 1.0 to EJB 1.1 was particularly painful because there were some source changes that had to be made. For people who are migrating from 5.1, the biggest obstacle was often the switch from using the weblogic.properties file to using Web applications (.war files). This was especially true for our ISVs, who had become accustomed to releasing their products in a certain way. In that transition we attempted to solve the problem through documentation and support. Although people got through it, I'm glad that future migrations will be done mostly through effective applications of technology. From WebLogic Server 6.0 and forward we have kept the config.xml file as a backwards-compatible configuration store so new versions of the server can read an old version of the configuration and still understand it. In the process it upgrades that configuration to be perfectly compatible with the new system. WebLogic Server 7.0 helps you migrate to the newest version using a number of tools and built-in functionality.

Inside the server, we again have the capability to read an old config.xml and upgrade it to the newest version. In fact, you might have heard about the new security framework that was released with WebLogic 7.0. This framework can even read your old security properties from 6.1. This gives everyone an easy upgrade path if you're not planning to use many of the features of the new security framework right away. To address the needs of applications, WebLogic Builder will automatically upgrade your old application .ears, EJB .jars, and Web Application .wars to the newest versions of the specifications. You do this by starting up the tool, loading the application in question, adding in any new functionality, validating the configuration with the (possibly) new restrictions, and then saving the configuration files back to the application. This upgrade path for applications makes it much easier for people to test on the new platform to ensure that everything behaves as it did before the upgrade.

Even with these tools, however, the developer still has some responsibility to ensure that the application works properly with the new system. Some changes to the J2EE specification, plus bug fixes that occur between releases, can sometimes cause incompatibilities that must be found prior to going to production with an application. In order to find these differences you must have a proper set of unit, feature, system, and performance tests in place to validate that the new version of the platform software performs as you would expect. If properly implemented, these tests can find any problems well before they are deployed to a customer.

Finally, there's one other selfish reason to upgrade to the next release of the product. You'll be working with the current state of the art. Staying on top of new technologies, like J2EE 1.3 or Web services, is very important for any developer. To sum up what I've said, I will rephrase the tagline: "Migrate as soon as you can."

More Stories By Sam Pullara

Sam Pullara has been a software engineer at WebLogic since 1996 and has contributed to the architecture, design, and implementation of many aspects of the application server.

e-mail: [email protected]

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Every organization is facing their own Digital Transformation as they attempt to stay ahead of the competition, or worse, just keep up. Each new opportunity, whether embracing machine learning, IoT, or a cloud migration, seems to bring new development, deployment, and management models. The results are more diverse and federated computing models than any time in our history.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...