Frank Cohen is the expert that information technology professionals and enterprises go to when they need to understand and solve problems in complex interoperating information systems, especially Service Oriented Architecture (SOA,) Ajax, and Web services. Frank is Founder of PushToTest, the open-source test automation solutions business, and maintainer of the popular TestMaker open-source project. PushToTest customers include Jackson Labs, eBay, General Motors, TIBCO, BEA, Microsoft and other Fortune 1000 companies. Frank has posted 9 posts at DZone. View Full User Profile

JavaOne 2009 Analysis

06.08.2009
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Is there a business reason for PushToTest to be at JavaOne in 2009? Well, not exactly. The PushToTest open source community is 1/3 developers, 1/3 testers, and 1/3 IT managers and CIOs. We can reach these audiences through other means. So why JavaOne?

Gregor Hohpe, gave a good explanation: “JavaOne and OOPSLA are the conferences that bring out the big ideas.” While JavaOne and OOPSLA may have faded a little in recent years they have philosophies that inspire people to create new inventions and not be satisfied with the current technology. While I attended an excellent party at JavaOne thrown by the RedMonk guys that was billed “The Sun Wake,” I found that it was more of a celebration of what we accomplished over the past 14 years of JavaOnes.

With emotion in his voice Scott McNeally, Chairman at Sun Microsystems, told the audience of 13,000 (est), “All the way to Mars and the four corners of the world, I’m proud of what you have done with Java.” With that the JavaOne 2009 conference began. Here is what I heard, saw, and found.

Selenium, Windmill, Mozmill

Big news came the Open Source Testing (OST) world. The Selenium project achieved 1.0 status for Selenium IDE, RC, and Grid. The team held a user meeting in San Francisco to announce the 1.0 status and give a roadmap to Selenium 2.0 using the WebDriver architecture. Selenium 1.0 architecture uses a JavaScript browserbot to run tests in the browser itself. WebDriver operates tests using the external browser APIs.

Windmill is an up-and-coming software test automation suite. It features record/playback of tests, a new JavaScript browserbot style architecture with callbacks, support for exporting tests in the Python language, and a very active open source community. Windmill does record and playback in IE, Safari, Opera, and Firefox. Windmill announced the 1.2 release will ship next week and feature speed and multi-window test capability.

The Windmill team impresses me because they understand the need for testing beyond the
Web browser. For example, the same team delivers Mozmill for testing Mozilla XUL-based applications.
PushToTest, announced ScriptRunners for Windmill and Mozmill in TestMaker, our open source
test automation platform. TestMaker support gives Windmill and
Mozmill support for repurposing tests as functional tests, load and performance tests, and business service monitors. Plus TestMaker enables data driven testing, step-time recording, and results analysis functions in Windmill and Mozmill tests. The Windmill team discussed their product roadmap with me: We will be spending some time refactoring the proxy forwarding logic and adding some new APIs to the proxy. This will also include the cookie work that was cut from 1.2. This will also begin to prepare the code base for the windmill2 transition.

Selenium, Windmill, HTMLUnit and the other test projects are all contending with Ajax based application challenges. The asynchronous nature of Ajax applications requires tests to include synchronization instructions to make sure the test is not operating faster than the application. Mikeal Rogers and Adam Christian of the Windmill team told me they were looking at implementing automatic waiting for elements before calling actions on them. They told me this feature deserves some discussion. I think it is a great idea and they should start kicking around an API discussion.

Christian said “We'll need to figure out how wait variables are passed in a unified way to any test controller function and how to send the start and endtime information for both the wait and the controller actions for each test controller call.

Java Development and Management Merging

Reducing the time it takes a Java developer to build an application is valuable to organizations. SpringSource is betting that making management of the resulting Spring-based application easier will unlock huge new benefits to organizations. This is the reasoning behind the Spring-Source Hyperic merger. I had a chance to speak with Rod Johnson (CEO) and Javier Soltero (CTO of Management Products) of SpringSource. Johnson and Soltero make a happy pair. They even finished each other’s sentences at times. This seems to be a continuation of their earlier technology partnerships.

For example, Spring Enterprise comes with Hyperic HQ. Spring uses AspectJ technology to transparently instrument enterprise applications. I have a business interest in understanding Spring’s management technology for Java enterprise applications. PushToTest built a monitoring API that reads performance metrics from Glassbox. Glassbox integration comes in TestMaker 5.3 and provides correlation for root cause analysis and mitigation. PushToTest designed its monitoring API (PTTMonitor) to read other performance monitoring systems through the same JMX interface that Spring uses to publish performance metric. Look for an announcement from PushToTest shortly!

Spring-based applications are automatically instrumented for monitoring and management. Hyperic then monitors internal operations and presents the data as a set of dashboards, consoles, and reports. On the face of it the merger makes business sense too. Johnson told me owning an open source business is nothing different from anything else: “Pre-revenue requires hand waving. Hyperic had million dollar revenue streams and a definable growth rate.”

Johnson said SpringSource aims to achieve $1 Billion in sales and make its IPO in 18 months. That would certainly make SpringSource’s venture capitalists (Benchmark and Excel) happy. Soltero gave some details on the upcoming product roadmap for the combined companies. Cloud management announcements are coming down the track. They are getting rid of JBoss and will do new development based on Spring. Hyperic Sigar  low level parts are going into other parts of Spring. SpringSource’s reach into management may extend beyond Java enterprise applications. Johnson told me SpringSource contributes to the Apache group httpd server.

Johnson told me the black box nature of PHP and Ruby on Rails improves developer productivity but lacks the visibility into the internals to make it manageable. Java has JMX, .NET has Perflib and CLR application management. Java and .NET have a centralized management model that you can plug into, including performance counters, service and statement management. Johnson said, “With SpringSource we can make JMX and related capabilities leveraged past the ISVs.”

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Published at DZone with permission of its author, Frank Cohen.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

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Comments

Jose Maria Arranz replied on Tue, 2009/06/09 - 8:05am

@F. Cohen: The announcements at JavaOne 2009 demonstrate to developers that the mobile application fragmentation problem moved beyond technology. Every operator has their own app store. With 10 different phone operators developers need to go through 10 different app stores. Maybe the mobile app fragmentation initiative would be solved with a single app store.

Don't worry I think we're going to see the same history in mobile as in desktop, native/JavaME/JavaFX applications for graphically intensive applications and the rest of applications... mobile web, mobile web and mobile web. 

I think we're in the previous phase of a mobile web explosion. The pressure of the mobile web will make lower the barriers of the different market stores of non-web applications.

The problem of this web explosion is not political/corporative barriers imposed by phone carriers and device makers, is technical issues related with the compatibility problems of the myriad of browsers out there.

 

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Ayo Bakare replied on Thu, 2009/07/30 - 7:06pm

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