Until a few months ago, I had heard about OSGi but I didn't care. For me it was just some obscure standard Eclipse was running on and since I don't like Eclipse, I didn't like OSGi either. So much that when the topic was mentioned on Apache Cocoon mailing lists a few years ago, I really didn't see the point. And about all those so-called OSGi implementations like Apache Felix, Knopflerfish, Equinox and others, I thought "hey, some geeks need to have fun". It was all until a magic day in last december.
That's when Peter Kriens, OSGi evengelist did a great presentation of the potential of OSGi on the server-side at Javapolis. At that time, I was thinking about the architecture of an online collaboration suite I'm working on, complaining about the fact that it missed something: modules. And I was fed up with the classpath system because of the way Maven manages dependencies transitively: I constantly have several versions of the same dependency in my classpath, and it forces me to do some manual tinkering on my POMs. And then this guy talks about a technology that can handle dependencies at runtime, start, stop, move modules and resolve services and packages dynamically. That's what you can call a "AHA moment".
Since then, I've read the whole Spring Dynamic Modules reference documentation (high quality like always), I've looked at Apache Felix, BEA's dev2dev introduction and the work under way on JonAS... and I've been quite frustrated. Because OSGi just misses one thing to realize its full potential on the server-side. It needs to get rid of all this J2EE crap like WAR and EAR files, it needs a deployment platform, an application server running OSGi. Of course there is JonAS but it is not exactly a mainstream server. And there is the new BEA platform, and Websphere. But let's be honnest, what I'm really waiting for is Tomcat OSGi support. And since the jury is still out about the final specifications the Enterprise Expert Group is working on, there are a lot of things in the pipeline.
Well, the way I see it, this zone can be the central place where the community can track all those ongoing efforts. And thanks to the tools offered by DZone, we can share our thoughts and comments, spread the word, gather documentation and links. I'm convinced it's going to be huge, at least equivalent to what Spring brought to Enterprise Java a few years back, and I'm glad they are part of it now.
So welcome the the OSGi Zone, and enjoy!