EJB 3 Introduction at Harrisburg JUG

On the 17th of last month I gave an introductory talk on EJB 3 at the Harrisburg JUG. It was really nice to be back on my old turf, it is a reminder that life is not as hectic in the Northeast’s hinterlands. The turnout for the talk was great. The audience was one was extremely active and savvy. By and large, I think the demographic was significantly younger too.

The talk was a lot of fun and gave me a chance to present some of the introductory material in the book. The talk was not as hands-on as I would have liked. This probably wouldn’t have been practical given the time allocation and the amount of material to cover. However, I’m hoping to give a JPA/Hibernate 3 talk at the NYC JUG soon. I’m aiming to make that extremely hands-on. I’m even toying with the idea of a code-along. I may also repeat that talk at the Connecticut JUG if all goes well.

EJB 3, Spring, Hibernate Comparison Talk at Connecticut JUG

On the 8th I had my EJB 3, Spring, Hibernate comparison talk at the Connecticut JUG. I didn’t realize exactly how big this JUG was. There was a very large turnout and good audience participation. The JUG leader Ryan Cuprak posted a very nice review for the presentation on the JUG site. It is always good to hear when people receive one’s efforts well.

I think the crowd was heavy on the EJB 2.x side because of all the larger insurance companies in and around Hartford. There were actually a number of people using Entity Beans who were particularly happy about the new features introduced in JPA. Ryan asked me to return in a few months for a JPA/Hibernate 3 specific talk. In the meanwhile, I’m trying to get Ryan in touch with a few of the Spring/Interface21 folks. Apparently, they have not had a intro Spring talk yet, although some JUG members are using Spring in production environments.

The same concern over WebSphere EJB 3 support came up again. I really hope IBM has gotten it’s efforts in gear. Someone also asked about the better annotation support for DI in Spring 2.1. I couldn’t really tell them much. I’ve read some vague things here and there and am anxious to see the concrete road map for 2.1. The gradual gravitation towards annotations is definitely encouraging. I still suspect Spring will remain a highly configurable DI/AOP container at heart instead of an EJB-like platform with a lot of high-level constructs. In either case, I’ve always found mucking around in verbose, messy XML a pain, so Spring annotation support has to come as a pleasant development for a lot of folks.

EJB 3, Spring, Hibernate Comparison Talk at Princeton JUG

Last Tuesday I had my EJB 3, Spring, Hibernate comparison talk at the nearby Princeton JUG. This was the first leg of my tour to promote EJB 3 in Action and the EJB 3 technology in general.
The talk went extremely well. I got good attendance and a very decent level of audience participation. The folks at Princeton are definitely a very lively bunch and I hope to talk there again. Of course, I wasn’t too surprised given that Yakov Fain leads this JUG. I’ve always had a great amount respect for Yakov. He is a veteran Java champion and one of the most well balanced and cool heads I have ever met. I am trying hard to get him to come down to Philly for a talk, perhaps on Adobe Flex/server-side Java integration.

It was good to see that a lot of people are very receptive of EJB 3. In general, the biggest concern was the availability of container support, particularly from the larger vendors like BEA and IBM. I have to admit that this is a very valid concern. Thus far, the only containers that are really Java EE 5 certified are Oracle AS and Sun’s Glassfish. Although the JBoss crowd were instrumental in the spec itself, JBoss AS is yet to get Java EE certified, particularly because of their slow pace in implementing the Web Services functionality in the new spec. Fortunately, the projected release of WebLogic 10 next month is going to go a long way in assuaging app server support concerns. It is a shame the WebSphere effort has not gathered more steam yet…

It was also nice to see that people were seriously considering JPA providers other than Hibernate such as Oracle TopLink and BEA Kodo. Product diversity is always good for the Java standard and the Java community in general.

Burr Sutter Speaks at Philly JBUG

My company, Tripod Technologies, hosted the first Philadelphia JBoss User Group meeting this past Tuesday. We had Burr Sutter from JBoss speak on JBoss ESB. In case you are not familiar with Burr, he is a current Java champion, founder of the Atlanta JUG and manager of the JBoss ESB team.

I was a little apprehensive about how many people we would get for this meeting, given that the group has been dormant for a while. As it turns out, about forty people showed up at the Unisys center in Malvern, PA. Not a bad turnout for the first meeting of a “specialty” user group. Let’s hope we can keep up the momentum. To that end, I’m trying my best to schedule someone else of Burr’s caliber to come and speak. Among other things, I’m thinking of having someone speak about JBoss Seam and Groovy. I’m hoping to get a session or two in for EJB 3 as well.

I was really impressed by Burr’s presentation too. I think this is the first time I’ve seen a coherent, unambiguous view of what ESB really is. I can only imagine that this clarity translates to the vision and implementation of the JBoss ESB product as well, although I haven’t gotten a chance to play around with it first-hand myself. The Philly JBUG site will post a copy of his excellent presentation soon (right now we are a little limited for hosting space). For now, you can download it from my website.

If you attended the meeting, I hope you liked what you saw and will spread the word. We are trying our best to deliver something that is useful to the overall Java community in Philly. I think this means reaching beyond the world of purely JBoss-centric talks. Another interesting idea is to have people in the local area talk about cool work that they do at their job. Personally, I’ve always found that very insightful rather than hearing about yet another product or technology I may or may not use. It gives “ordinary” developers a chance to showcase what they’ve accomplished too and gives me a good idea of what is going on in the local area.

If you are so inclined, do send me feedback about the JBUG. I’d really like to hear what people out there are really interested in getting out of user groups. I’m especially interested in knowing about specific speakers and topics you’d like to see at the Philly JBUG.

Launching an EJB Community Site

Having emerged from writing EJB 3 in Action, both I and my co-author Debu Panda were feeling a slight void this past month or so. This past week, an interesting thought filled the void–starting an open-source style community site surrounding the EJB ecosystem.

A similar idea was pursued by Kito Mann when he launched JSF central. JSF central aims to provide something Sun can’t provide because they are a big business, Server-side, Javalobby or Java.net can’t provide because their focus is too broad and Apache MyFaces can’t provide because they are a specific implementation of the JSF standard. JSF central essentially provides a community centered around a pretty widely-used Java standard. We think the next logical candidate for this great idea is EJB 3. In fact, I believe server-side was originally rooted around EJB 2.1 but eventually broadened its focus (please feel free correct me if this is not true).

True to Kito’s original idea, we are thinking of calling the website EJB central. Similar to JSF central, we are planning to have news, articles, books, EJB 3 products and resources sections. In addition, we also want to have forums, project spotlights for the early adopters of EJB 3 and an incubator for solutions around EJB 3 such as patterns, APIs, reusable components and interceptors. Perhaps most interestingly, we are thinking of creating a lightweight EJB 3 tutorial maintained by the community.

Like Wikipedia, any registered community member will be able
to contribute to the EJB 3 tutorial including adding content, refining code samples or just proofeading. We are hoping to create one of the best resources for learning EJB 3 effectively with the active help of energetic and altruistic “committers” to the tutorial. Initially I and Debu will seed the content and see where things gravitate…

Once we hash around a few more ideas, we’ll probaby start the hard work of creating the template/content, registering the domain and finding a suitable host very soon. The site is going to be written on a JSF/EJB 3 stack (what could be more appropriate? :)). We haven’t decided on a container quite yet, but I’m seriously eye-balling OpenEJB.

If you have a helpful idea or comment, definitely drop me note!