Rod started out by giving a quick overview of the Spring timeline, starting with the publication of Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development, up through the formation of Interface21/SpringSource, and into the more recent acquisitions.
He then described Spring's core values:
- For developers by developers: Speaking of SpringSource, he says that they like to code and like making it easier to write code. They avoid ivory tower solutions and their staff works with customers every day. They're about practical solutions and a solution is only valuable if it works in the real world.
- Simplification: They called the emperor's new clothes in old J2EE and drove positive change, while others were patenting J2EE patterns (remember Fast Lane Reader?) and writing about the reasons they loved EJBs. Each version of Spring has reduced the amount of code in applications based on Spring (the framework does more so you do less). Not just about the framework and runtime stack...also about application lifecycle.
- Community: Spring's strength is due to its community, which Gartner estimates is at 3 million members. The Spring community is passionate, highly-skilled, and prepared to think for themselves. They write over 1000 posts per week in the Spring forums and contribute bugs and feature requests.
- Innovation: Technology evolution is never done. Each advance allows others. Always new challenges to overcome.
With regard to community, Rod invited everyone to get involved. Ask and answer questions on the forums. Request issues and report bugs in JIRA. Participate in community events such as Spring and Java user groups and Groovy and Grails meet-ups. Join the conversation by following SpringSource developers on their blogs and on Twitter. Contribute code through Spring Extensions and by writing tests and patches to the other Spring projects.
[Editor's note: Spring Extensions is the new incarnation of what used to be known as Spring Modules. Spring Modules had a caching module that hasn't been moved to Spring Extensions because, as I understand it, lack of a project owner. If you're looking for an opportunity to get involved, that'd be a great place to start.]
Rod then went on to talk about what's new in Spring. He mentioned a few of the new features in Spring 3.0:
- Simplification of configuration, especially with the Spring Expression Language
- MVC improvements
- Comprehensive REST support
- Updated to take full advantage of Java 5+
- Support for meta-annotations...annotations that can be used together to make stereotype annotations
- @Configuration (aka, Spring JavaConfig)
In addition to the new stuff in the Spring Framework, Rod also mentioned some recent and upcoming releases elsewhere in the Spring portfolio:
- Spring WebFlow 3.0M1
- Spring Integration 2.0M1
- Spring Roo 1.0 GA
- Spring Batch 2.1
- Spring Security 3.0 GA
- Grails 1.2
Rod then highlighted two Spring portfolio projects, Spring Integration and Spring BlazeDS. With regard to Spring Integration, he said that Spring Integration is an embedded message bus that runs within any Spring ApplicationContext--no need for an ESB. All components are Spring-managed objects and can take full advantage of the Spring component model. It also serves as an application integration framework, connecting to other systems via adapters such as File, JMS, HTTP, WS, Mail, UDB/TCP, Twitter, and others.
As for Spring BlazeDS, it bootstraps Adobe Blaze DS within a Spring environment, allowing Spring to manage Flex server-side components. It offers direct remoting from Flex clients to Spring beans and easy integration with Spring Security using regular Flex API. Spring BlazeDS gives Flex applications access to full power of Spring.
At this point, Rod invited Jereme Grelle and Mark Fisher to take the stage and give a demo of Spring BlazeDS and Spring Integration. The demo involved a Flex chat application that used Spring BlazeDS to communicate with server-side objects. On the server-side, Spring Integration was used as an embedded message bus to accept and deliver messages between Flex clients. It was a very impressive demo.
Rod then returned to the stage and told of having tried bacon ice cream (available on the menu at the hotel) and how it reminded him of pigs, which reminded him of Grails. That's because, from the story of the 3 little pigs, he knows that pigs build houses and the Grails house is built on the bricks of the JVM, Java Server infrastructure, and Spring. At this point, he invited Graeme Rocher to speak about Grails and to demo new Grails features coming in SpringSource ToolSuite.
Graeme reported that Grails continues to garner interest, with 150% growth in traffic to the Grails site in the last few months. Groovy 1.7 and Grails 1.2 releases are approaching. But what was most exciting to Graeme is the explosion in the Grails plugin community; over 25 million lines of user-contributed code in over 300 plugins. If you want to do something in Grails, then there's probably a plugin for that.
Graeme then spoke of the challenges in IDE support before demo'ing a Grails-capable version of SpringSource ToolSuite. Coming soon, STS 2.2 will include a much improved Groovy development experience and support for working with Grails in the IDE.
Rod returned to the podium again to speak briefly about SpringSource tcServer, which has been focused on operational concerns. He then announced SpringSource tcServer Developer Edition, which focuses on development-time concerns. It includes the Spring Insight Dashboard which provides real-time performance insights, drill-down transaction tracing, and a view into application health. It is tightly integrated with STS and will be available as a free download.
John Travis, lead tcServer Developer Edition, then demoed tcServer Developer Edition. He wowed the crowd with the ability to dive into a running application in real-time and see what was going on at an amazingly low-level.
Rod then returned to the podium one last time to discuss what's next. He spoke of their latest acquisition...VMWare (obviously joking). But with regard to VMWare's acquisition of SpringSource, he stated that both companies share the same core values. He says that VMWare cares about developer communities, is committed to open-source, and is serious about middleware.
He then went on to talk about moving into the cloud and their recent acquisition of CloudFoundry. Speaking of CloudFoundry, all SpringOne/2GX attendees will receive an invitation to try CloudFoundry for free for 48 hours of server processing time.
Rod wrapped up by saying that it's not just about SpringSource. For the next 3 days we'll have the opportunity to learn about technologies from the source and interact with the Spring team and fellow Spring developers. He also mentioned that we've packed the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, so almost everyone here is a Spring or Grails person.
Finally, and best of all, Rod said that this is the first conference venue that offers the opportunity to try bacon ice cream.