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The Whole Package

The Whole Package

In the battle over application servers, I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that the battle is over. The bad news is that everybody lost. And by that I mean something a little different from what you might think.

Application servers are no longer a hot property. Yes, you still need them, and they still form the backbone of a J2EE shop's infrastructure. But the days when you selected a platform on the abilities of a particular application server are over. Part of this is due to the relative maturity of the J2EE specification, which has grown into something that developers can now truly code to regardless of platform choice.

Another part of this is the consolidation that has occurred in the marketplace over the past few years. Gone are the days when there were 30 application-server vendors trying to convince you that their clustering was better or their JMS implementation outperformed all others. There's BEA, there's IBM, and then there is low-cost, including Sun, Oracle, and JBoss. And really, only the first two are valid choices. Okay, only the first one is a valid choice.

Today the selection is made on more than just app server functionality - it's on the total package. Companies are evaluating the entire vendor platform in making decisions. Additional features and differentiators are what lead CIOs and CTOs to make the big decision, or to endorse the decision their key architects agree upon.

That's why the release of WebLogic Platform 8.1 from BEA is generating so much excitement. The new platform features a much greater degree of integration of products than previous versions, as well as enhanced support for Web services.

Probably the biggest news is the latest revision of WebLogic Workshop. Aimed at corporate developers, this Visual Studio killer shows real promise in accelerating application development and moving J2EE into the realm of application assembly instead of programming.

One of the biggest challenges in corporate development is that Java, for all its power, is still more complex to program in than VB. And until Workshop, the IDE makers concentrated on optimizing things for hard-core coders, excluding those who don't have either the time or the inclination to get into all of the details of the J2EE specification. There will always be a need for talented programmers who know Java inside and out, but sometimes the corporate mission requires a quick hit without detailed knowledge. That was lacking in the J2EE world until Workshop, which turns EJBs, JDBC connections, and Web services into components that can be wired together to create full-featured applications with minimal coding. Add to it awareness of other parts of the platform, and you have a powerful, easy-to-use IDE with great breadth of features.

*  *  *

It gives me great pleasure to introduce Joe Mitchko (see page 6) as the new editor-in-chief of WebLogic Developer's Journal. Back in the early '90s, Joe was the person who introduced me to Java, and he and I have worked together on several BEA WebLogic projects. Joe is a dedicated professional with almost 20 years of industry experience, and his insights into the intricacies of J2EE development will be vital in guiding WLDJ over the coming years.

More Stories By Sean Rhody

Sean Rhody is the founding-editor (1999) and editor-in-chief of SOA World Magazine. He is a respected industry expert on SOA and Web Services and a consultant with a leading consulting services company. Most recently, Sean served as the tech chair of SOA World Conference & Expo 2007 East.

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Most Recent Comments
Editorial staff 09/17/03 07:59:34 AM EDT

dev2dev is currently launching its dev2dev days tour (http://www.bea.com/events/dev2devdays2003/index.htm). Please check for that schedule or contact them directly for additional training.

Venugopal 09/17/03 12:20:28 AM EDT

We are using Weblogic 7.0 Applicaion server for our Collaborative Application. Do you have any workshops in India on weblogic 8.1, It is really help us to understand and switch from 7.0 to 8.1

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