Monday, April 18, 2005

[itsdifferent] Celebrating Java and Opensource

There are several Java based Open Source projects which are important to all developers. We take a look at some of these…

The Open Source and Java communities are probably divided on the issue of Open Sourcing Java. However Open Source community for many years have been embracing Java and have been creating as well as extending Java projects. On one side there are 100% Open Source avatars of popular Java projects and products. On the other side Open Source hackers are extending fresh functionality to existing solutions on Java. At the same time well known Java vendors are open sourcing their existing software.
In our discussion on Java and Open Source we celebrate some of the important Open Source projects that are Java flavored. These are the projects which are evoking tremendous interest or has evoked tremendous interest among one and all in the developer and IT user community.

Eclipse (formerly IBM Eclipse)
IBM Eclipse has evoked more developer interst than any other Open Source Java projects in the recent past. From an IDE to develop Java applications to a Java development platform itself Eclipse have come a long way. IBM started the project to get developers take an interest in IBM technologies and projects. However, developers used Eclipse more as an alternative to buying any of the expensive IDEs in the market. Then IBM decided to Open Source it and win the developers on the good will factor! IBM set up Eclipse Foundation and many other industry giants joined the foundation.
Eclipse is today an open source software development project dedicated to providing a robust, full-featured, commercial-quality, industry platform for the development of highly integrated tools. 
It is composed of three projects, the Eclipse Project, the Eclipse Tools Project and the Eclipse Technology Project, each of which is overseen by a Project Management Committee (PMC) and governed by its Project Charter. Each project is composed of its own subprojects and is licensed under a GPL version.
Within the platform now there is also an SDK, which helps developers develop applications based on the Eclipse platform. 
Now number of software vendors including Borland and BEA are shipping products that use Eclipse IDE. You can find more information about Eclipse here


NetBeans is an Open Source project set up by Sun Microsystems. NetBeans is dedicated to providing software development products (NetBeans IDE, NetBeans Platform) that address the needs of developers, users and the businesses who rely on NetBeans as a basis for their products. NetBeans is also a vibrant community where people from just about any country you can think of, have the ability ask questions, give advice, make a wide variety of contributions and ultimately share in the success of our products. 
In June of 2000 NetBeans was made Open Source by Sun Microsystems who remains the project sponsor. The project consists of two parts. The NetBeans IDE and NetBeans Platform. Both products are free for commercial and noncommercial. 
The source code to both are available to anyone, to reuse as they see fit, under the terms of use. 
NetBeans is facing stiff competition from IBM's Eclipse, but with Sun investing more resources of late the project is expected to find more success. Watch out for NetBeans IDE in the coming edition of Developer IQ.

Apache Tomcat

Tomcat is the servlet container that is used in the official Reference Implementation for the Java Servlet and JavaServer Pages technologies. The Java Servlet and JavaServer Pages specifications are developed by Sun under the Java Community Process. 
Tomcat is developed in an open and participatory environment and released under the Apache Software License. 
Tomcat is intended to be a collaboration of the best-of-breed developers from around the world and has many fans across the world. 
The combination of Linux, Apache and Tomcat is driving many Java Sever Pages. 
There are some of the latest editions of Tomcat. For more details check http://
Apache Tomcat project unlike Netbeans and IBM does not have a commercial vendor as a direct sponsor. 
Apache fids sponsorships from likes of IBM and drives the project. 
Being under Apache umbrella the Jakarta project has support from the whole of Open Source community.


JBoss is one of the most popular Open Source project that is actually making some money for the company backing the project. In last few months the company received investments from Intel Capital, venture funding arm of the chip giant and has announced relationships with a host of vendors from CA to Apple. 
Like other Java Open Source projects JBoss is evolving into a platform by itself with many products and mini-projects under the umbrella.
The Jboss Application Server is perhaps the most popular Java web server in the Open Source space and perhaps is the most downloaded J2EE application web server today.
Recent SDTimes survey showed that JBoss has expanded its presence in the production market from 15% in 2002 to 25% in 2003, earning it not only the third position in the application server market but also the honor of fastest growing application server in the industry. JBoss-IDE is a project which aims to provide a world class IDE for JBoss, based on a full integration with Eclipse. We have a few downloads from the official Jboss web site in the CDs with magazine. 

Apache James

The Java Apache Mail Enterprise Server (a.k.a. Apache James) is a 100% pure Java SMTP and POP3 Mail server and NNTP News server. We designed James to be a complete and portable enterprise mail engine solution based on currently available open protocols. 
James is also a mail application platform. The Apache group have developed a Java API to let you write Java code to process emails that they call the mailet API. A mailet can generate an automatic reply, update a database, prevent spam, build a message archive, or whatever you can imagine. 
A matcher determines whether your mailet should process an email in the server. The James project hosts the Mailet API, and James provides an implementation of this mail application platform API. James is based upon the Apache Avalon application framework. You can find more details on

Hibernate is a powerful, ultra-high performance object/relational persistence and query service for Java. Hibernate lets you develop persistent classes following common Java idiom - including association, inheritance, polymorphism, composition and the Java collections framework. The Hibernate Query Language, designed as a "minimal" object-oriented extension to SQL, provides an elegant bridge between the object and relational worlds. Hibernate is now the most popular object/relational mapping solution for Java.
All SQL database management systems are supported. Of course, Hibernate integrates elegantly (and without restrictions) with all popular J2EE application servers and web containers. Hibernate can also be used in standalone Java applications. See our complete introduction for more information.
Hibernate is Free Software. The Hibernate project is promoted by many including Jboss, who is making some extra bucks by supporting and training on Hibernate. You can find more details on


The goal of the Struts project is to provide an open source framework for building Java web applications. 
The core of the Struts framework is a flexible control layer based on standard technologies like Java Servlets, JavaBeans, ResourceBundles, and XML, as well as various Jakarta Commons packages. Struts encourages application architectures based on the Model 2 approach, a variation of the classic Model-View-Controller (MVC) design paradigm. 
Struts provide its own Controller component and integrate with other technologies to provide the Model and the View. For the Model, Struts can interact with standard data access technologies, like JDBC and EJB, as well as most any third-party packages, like Hibernate, iBATIS, or Object Relational Bridge. For the View, Struts works well with JavaServer Pages, including JSTL and JSF, as well as Velocity Templates, XSLT, and other presentation systems. 
The Struts framework provides the invisible underpinnings every professional web application needs to survive. Struts helps you create an extensible development environment for your application, based on published standards and proven design patterns. 
Struts is a project of the The Apache Software Foundation. The official Struts home page is at .


Maven is a Java project management and project comprehension tool. Maven is based on the concept of a project object model (POM) in that all the artifacts produced by Maven are a result of consulting a well defined model for your project. Builds, documentation, source metrics, and source cross-references are all controlled by your POM. 
Maven has many goals, but in a nutshell Maven aims to make the developer's life easier by providing a well defined project structure, well defined development processes to follow, and a coherent body of documentation that keeps your developers and clients apprised of what's happening with your project. 
Maven alleviates a lot of what most developers consider drudgery and lets them get on with the task at hand. 
This is essential in OSS projects where there aren't many people dedicated to the task of documenting and propagating the critical information about your project which is necessary in order to attract potential new developers and clients. For details check

Open Source Java Virtual Machines

Sun may finally Open Source Java. But already there are number of Open Source implementations that have limited success. This include Mable, Kaffe, Latte, Viva and so on. 
Almost all of them are very similar in nature, but varies in stability and performance. Kaffe is a clean room implementation of the Java virtual machine, plus the associated class libraries needed to provide a Java runtime environment. 
The Kaffe virtual machine is free software, licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. However Kaffe is truly Open Source and has not been copied from Sun's Java Virtual Machine.

The Objectweb consortium formed by European companies such as French company Bull among others focuses on middleware. 
In early 2004 they acquired a fledgeling Open Source middleware project called Enhydra. The Enhydra project delivers a servlet runner with a difference. 
While enterprise Java standards such as Servlet 2.2 and JSP 1.1 are used to support presentation logic, Enhydra claims additional functionality to build dynamic Web applications, including an XML engine (Enhydra XMLC), Database Connection Pooling, an object-to-relational mapping tool (Enhydra DODS), presentation management, session management, load-balancing / clustering (Enhydra Director), session persistence and fail-over, advanced logging (with log4j), easy administration and configuration, IDE integration (Enhydra Kelp), an MVC presentation framework (Barracuda), a relational ETL tool (Enhydra Octopus), lots of examples / demos / documentation, support for Windows and Linux system services and more.



Deven Goratela


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