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Midnight Madness

WLDJ's Editor-in-Chief Explores the Beta Version of WebLogic 9.0 (Code Named Diablo)

As the father of an avid teenage video game enthusiast, I was a bit amused late last year by all of the excitement and anticipation surrounding the upcoming release of Halo 2.

For months leading up to the November 9 release date, I heard all the buzz from my oldest son about how great it's going to be, how much better the graphics will be over the current game, and so on. Not really being much of a gaming enthusiast myself, I let it go in one ear and out the other.

As the fateful day approached, my son was eager to pick up his reserved copy at the local video game store. The whole gaming world seemed transfixed on its midnight release, so it really didn't surprise me when he asked if he could camp out at the store till 12 with his friends, and of course, spend the rest of the night and the next day in virtual ecstasy. Of course, being a good father, the answer was no, and I explained to him what truant officers do for a living. Anyway, the day came and went and somebody got a lot richer. Sales exceeded a blockbuster movie. And of course, my son was in seventh heaven.

Now, flip the calendar forward a little more than a month, and another highly anticipated release is ready to roll out on to the computing stage. This one slightly different - devilishly so I suppose. With all the buzz coming from BEA over the last year about Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), and with hints here and there as to what improvements WebLogic 9.0 (code named Diablo) will have over its predecessor (version 8.1), I was eager and ready to download the beta version. What new features would I behold? What new levels of Web Service integration would I be able to implement? If I could only get a peek at some of the release documents and details about what they were up to. This one was under tight wraps, for sure. With a few days to go before to the beta's December 16 release date, expectations were high. And, it even crossed my mind that maybe; just maybe, I should stay up until midnight to be one of the first to download a copy.

After realizing that BEA is on the West Coast, and that that meant 3am Eastern time, I dropped that idea. Besides, I had work the next day.

Anyway, I eventually did get to download a copy a few days after the release (too many meetings at work), and was pleasantly surprised with all the improvements the 9.0 version has over its predecessor. First, a few enhancements in management and administration will make it easier to deploy and manage applications. The new portal-driven management console makes it easier than ever to deploy and manage applications and services. Improvements in logging and monitoring bring us a step closer to the SOA world envisioned by the industry and espoused by BEA. The improvements and new features are really too numerous to mention here, but after looking through BEA's 100-page release note, I think things are moving forward in a positive direction. It's apparent that BEA is taking on the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) competition with the 9.0 release and its clustered JMS service implementation.

Strangely absent from the beta are any documented improvements to the Workshop IDE and underlying Beehive-based framework. Is the fate of Workshop sealed, and will we eventually see Eclipse/Pollinate take over once it's reached critical mass? If you haven't downloaded the 9.0 beta yet, I would suggest you do so. It's worth staying up for.

More Stories By Joe Mitchko

Joe Mitchko is the editor-in-chief of WLDJ and a senior technical specialist for a leading consulting services company.

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