Though the founder of the Spring Framework has left VMware, don't look for the company to back off its commitment to the popular open source Java application development framework, even while Oracle has doubled down on the message that its enterprise edition of Java is all developers need.
Spring Framework, initially launched more than nine years ago by founder Rod Johnson, has been downloaded several million times as a mechanism intended to simplify Java development. The framework has had a key advantage in its dependency injection capability for linking of related objects. But Johnson announced his departure from VMware in July, and Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE 5) now supports dependency injection. Oracle has been on the war path encouraging developers to move to Java EE.
VMware remains undaunted. In an interview at the VMworld 2012 conference this week, VMware's Dave McJannet, director of cloud and application services, reaffirmed the company's faith in Spring: "The point that comes to mind for me is pretty consistently more than half of all the Java apps in the world are built using the Spring Framework." Spring usage is growing, he said.
While Oracle controls the Java platform and will get pulled in whatever direction makes sense for the company, Spring continues to focus on the enterprise developer, said McJannet: "We invest very heavily in Spring." Also, the company's Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service cloud environment supports Spring.
VMware, which became steward of Spring when it acquired SpringSource in 2009, is focused on tasks such as building Spring solutions for the data constructs space, with such technologies as Spring for Apache Hadoop and Spring Data for MongoDB. Innovations to Spring to meet mobile and social requirements also are a priority.
VMware sees around 1 million to 1.5 million visitors on Spring Web properties every month, McJannet said. Given that Spring is established as a popular technology for Java developers, all of Oracle's huffing and puffing about migrating to enterprise Java and dumping Spring probably will ring hollow for many developers. Spring and Java EE, which can work together anyway, will both stay around as critical Java development options.
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