Thursday, October 27, 2005

Installing Blojsom on OracleAS 10g (10.1.3)

I am using internally Blojsom for blogging about the product I am taking care of: OC4J and especially the Web Services stack. In this post I am quickly documenting, as the title says, how to install Blojsom on OracleAS 10g.

The first thing to do is to download the product itself, just download the Blojsom quickstart from sourceforge.

Since, Blojsom is distributed as a WAR file you have nothing special to do, just deploy it. Anyway I have created a viewlet  that shows step by step deployment using Oracle Enterprise Manager.

So the application link will be: http://localhost:8888/blojsom/

Note: if you want to use the command line utility (admin.jar) or the Ant deployment task, you should package the Web archive in an EAR file.

3-Update the home page
The easiest way will be to just change the index.html page to redirect to the default blog. The index.html page to be modified is in:

  • $ORACLE_HOME/j2ee/home/application/blojsom/blojsomXXXX/index.html
where blojsomXXXX is the name of the Web application generated during deployment.

4- Start blogging...

This is it...

Monday, October 24, 2005

PHP will beat Java? Not sure about it...

I would like react to last week marc andreessen's words (netscape founder during the php/zend conference andreessen basically says that PHP will beat Java and succeeds where Java is not. Most of the reasons that Andreesen used to justify this saying are because of PHP simplicity. Do you think he is talking about the language or the application server -yeah, let's call it this way... (J2EE...)..

Let's talk about J2EE first, it is true that when you take a look to the learning curve of J2EE and PHP it is a no brainer.. PHP is effectively more simple. But we can start with the acronyms themselves: J2EE==Enterprise, where PHP==Personal Home Page ( since then renamed Hypertext Processor). So from the origins the 2 technologies were not here to achieve the same goals. But PHP has proven that it could be used for complex application/Web sites, and still keep it simplicity.

So PHP is simple this is true, but Java on the server could be also. I think that the complexity comes from the fact that J2EE its expert always see an application as a enterprise application, and what that means in term of life cycle, development process, packaging and so on....    Why am I saying that it is coming from the expert? Just take a look to a PHP tutorial and a J2EE one? This is clear that you must be a very good and experienced developer to start with J2EE... But this is is not coming from the technologies, but mainly the way we talk about it. I think we should talk a little more about simple development with Java. For example focusing o JSP and JSTL for simple stuff. I agree that putting too much logic in JSP and reduce the number of layer is 'bad' for complex applications, but it could be used for some. Why do we need to always package a WAR or EAR file? Yes you can technically deploy exploded archive and modify the information after the fact. This is not necessary the best practices but it could be useful for some applications (not necessary only in development environment.

About the language itself, sure that Java is more complex, it is considerate as a System Level Language, where PHP is a scripting language. Do we still compare Shell and C? No we need both of them isn't?

In the same time, Java as a language must be simplified, or let be more precise... I think Java developers need the simplicity of scripting languages such as PHP but with the power of Java under the cover. And this is happening right now. JavaScript is now integrated to Java 6, Groovy provided a well integrated JVM with a very powerful and simple syntax. Grails -Groovy On Rails- provided a simple framework for CRUD applications.

Still skeptical about the simplicity of PHP, try it...
Still skeptical about Java being simple, try a scripting language... for example Groovy

In conclusion the platform of my dream should:

Keep the simple case simple
Made the impossible possible

And I am sure that Java is the good language and platform for that; but Groovy and other scripting languages will help. And I will also continue to develop using PHP too. And both worlds will coexists and be integrated using Web Services and or JSR-223.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Can I do SOA with Web Services today?

I am just coming back for Toronto where I have been presenting Oracle Developer Day: SOA for J2EE Developers. As part of this exercise I have introduced Web Services and related technologies/standards.

A person in the audience asked me:

But can I do SOA Today?
Are Web Services are mature enough?
I think that is a very interesting and valid question. The answer is certainly: 

Yes you can, and I would add, yes you should!!

Web Services are  definitively big actors in Service Oriented Architecture since by definition they are loosely coupled, implementation agnostic and facilitate reusability. In the same time the concern of this person are justified since some important pieces of infrastructure are yet available in vendors solutions. Or if they exist they are proprietary and won't allow interoperability of the service with other stack... Losing interoperability is a big deal when you talk about Web Services since most of the time, if the designers want to use Web Services it is to be able to reuse it in various applications, independently of the platform where this application is running.

Why I have answered Yes?

Why I am so positive when I answered this person? Just simply because Web Services are today mature enough. But like any development of applications/systems the development should start with a clear definition of the requirements. When the development team will start to write down the requirement it will be clear of not what are the important pieces in term of services. Beside the business requirements, lots of requirements are technical/IT related such as security, performance, manageability, reliability, and transaction management, performance... So when you design your system do not forgot to clarify what are the different infrastructure services you need....

It is then easy to match your infrastructure requirement list to the different quality of services supported by the platform you will implementing on, and as important, the platform(s) you will have to integrate with.  For example today it is possible to easily create SOA/Web Services application that are secured because WS-Security is a standard supported by most of the vendors. At the opposite it may be very challenging to create SOA/WS based application that involve a very complex transaction model with various applications and system since no standard have been implemented in a real interoperable manner. But no worry the WS brains are here and work on it, take some time to read more about WS-Transactions and other related standardization effort.

Based on the previous example with security and transaction, it is also important to keep in mind that the Web Services is a mature technology but it is still evolving -based on real life requirements-. So in the same time your application/system will evolve -it is one of your goal when you do SOA, it is to build a more agile system that can react to business, or technological changes quicker-, do not forget that your vendor are continuously working to not only define the standard but also implement them in their product. So you may put as a requirement from the beginning a specific infrastructure services that are not available in today's product but the important question to ask you before dropping SOA/Web Service is when I really need this feature? When this feature will be available in my platform?

This is why also it is important to understand the strategy of your vendor in term of flexibility and adaptability of their solution to the different standards, and how it can help you to take care of legacy services that need to integrate with your new applications. One nice example is the usage of Oracle Web Services Manager. Even if WS-Security is one of the first standard around "Enterprise Web Services" it has not been in the different stack for long so lot of existing WS do not support WS-Sec. Oracle Web Services Manager allow you using agents and/or gateway to add security in a standard way to existing services, and enrich you SOA with a better quality of services.  So do not say no to SOA/SOA because a standard does not exist or exist but not implemented, it will come -take a look to all the WS-* effort-, and this standards will be able to extend the system that you are building as you need.... SOA is all about agility, to be sure that it will be agile enough to provide you more services as you go!