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Catching Up With SpringSource

09.10.2008
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There have been quite a few SpringSource developments over the last few weeks. To get a summary of the recent announcements and to see what we can expect from SpringSource for the next few months including Spring 3.0, I met with Peter-Cooper Ellis, vice president of engineering and product management.

Peter was the former executive vice president and general manager for the WebLogic Server product line at BEA Systems, Inc. While at BEA, he was recognized for growing the WebLogic Server Unit business from its inception to the creation of BEA’s flagship product, BEA WebLogic Server, the world’s leading Java application server. BEA Systems was acquired by Oracle Corporation earlier this year.

James Sugrue: SpringSource Enterprise is now on general release. What impact is it having on the community?

Peter-Cooper Ellis: We released Enterprise in late July. The uptake has been phenomenal. Enterprise gives the Spring community all the capabilities available with Spring 2.5 in a hardened, indemnified, professionally supported package, plus we’ve added SpringSource tooling, application management and performance packs.  The total package makes it much easier to develop, deploy, and manage enterprise-class applications.

Sugrue: From the first few months, what is the main feature that developers are talking about?

Ellis: Developers are really excited about the SpringSource Tool Suite. They seem to really like the concept that SpringSource has assembled all the tooling that Spring developers could want and infused it with the collective intelligence of the experts from SpringSource. Things like integrated best practice recommendations and the Task Focused Tutorials for new technologies like OSGi are really popular. Interestingly, developers are also very interested in the SpringSource Application Management Suite. It appears that they have been using the data reported by its Spring instrumented JARs to analyze and profile Spring-powered applications in QA and test environments.  

Sugrue: Are there any new tools or features in the pipeline for SpringSource Enterprise?

Ellis: We are putting together a bundle of SpringSource Enterprise and the new SpringSource Application Platform which we are very excited about. A lot of the tough problems in enterprise Java production systems can be tackled in new ways if you utilize dynamic modularity and that is the unique characteristic of the SpringSource Application Platform. 

We are also working on a number of interesting features for the next release of Enterprise itself which is due out early next calendar year. We are still in the planning cycle on some of these but I can give you a flavor for the kinds of things we are looking at:

  • Spring will pick up REST support and Expression Language support.
  • The SpringSource Tools Suite will pick up better support for Web development and better support for OSGI. We are also investigating the ability to support deployment and testing to virtualized runtime environments as this is something that more and more of our customers are using.
  • SpringSource Application Management System will pick up additional distributed management capabilities and the ability to plug into third-party enterprise management consoles.
  • SpringSource developers are also looking at other enterprise databases and trying to see if some of the techniques we use in the SpringSource Advanced Pack for Oracle Database can be applied in other settings.

Sugrue: What does the partnership with Carahsoft mean?

Ellis: Carahsoft and SpringSource have entered into a SpringSource Authorized Reseller Partnership.  Carahsoft has rights to resell SpringSource products and services to the public sector.  SpringSource products and services are now available on Carahsoft’s GSA schedule. 

Sugrue: Are you finding more adoption of Spring technologies in the government and public sectors?

Ellis: Spring is widely used throughout the government and public sectors in both Europe and the US. The use of Spring in the French online taxation system, for example, led directly to improvements in code quality and faster development cycles. Ultimately, the French Finance Minister has described the system as a “triumph of IT”. In addition to Spring, Apache infrastructure technologies, like the Apache web server and Apache Tomcat are widely adopted in the public sector.  With its acquisition of Covalent, SpringSource has many customers in the Federal, state and local government that utilize SpringSource Enterprise Ready Server and rely on SpringSource for full commercial support for Apache and Tomcat.

Sugrue: Developers are quite eager to see Spring 3.0. Is there any planned release this quarter?

Ellis: Yes. As I mentioned, we are working on Spring 3.0 now. Our target for GA is early next calendar year. The key features include REST and Spring Expression Language support. We’ll have early milestone releases on the open source project side in the October-November timeframe. The milestone releases are important because they give the community an opportunity to provide feedback on our direction and give recommendations about improvements. The community has always be a vital part of the software engineering lifecycle for Spring our team make sure to incorporate their feedback into the final release candidates.

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