SpringSource launches Java application server

SpringSource's new Java application server reflects OSGi's growing role on the server side

SpringSource, maker of the Spring Framework for Java development, will announce a new application server on Wednesday that it claims will "liberate" Java users from "antiquated legacy Java technologies."

Dubbed the SpringSource Application Platform, the server combines Spring technologies and the Apache Tomcat server with the increasingly popular OSGi (Open Services Gateway Initiative) framework for Java development.

OSGi "enables a more dynamic, less constricted Java" because it enables applications to load modules of Java classes on demand, Redmonk analyst James Governor wrote in a recent blog post : "There is no need to load the entire Java stack to run an application - just the runtime services it actually requires."

For the new release, SpringSource has developed the Dynamic Module Kernel (dm-Kernel), which makes working with OSGi simpler, according to the company.

"OSGi is very difficult to use out of the box," said SpringSource CEO Rod Johnson. Customers and systems integrators whom the company has spoken with regarding OSGi are "all enthusiastic about the benefits, but have pulled back from trying to use it."

The product is now in beta at SpringSource's Web site. The company is planning to release open-source and commercial versions in June. Pricing is still being determined, but will be "competitive" with other offerings, Johnson said.

SpringSource is releasing the new functionality -- which, besides the dm-Kernel, includes a management console and assorted other plumbing, according to Johnson -- under the GPLv3 open-source license.

With the launch, SpringSource has essentially packaged up ongoing practices in the Java community, said Michael Coté, another Redmonk analyst. "What they're doing is taking the use case of Tomcat and Spring and some other JEE goodies and putting it into a 'product,'" he said.

The effort should not be taken lightly, Coté suggested: "The Spring Framework has revolutionized the use of Java for sure, and I wouldn't dismiss SpringSource's efforts to put that further."

Efforts like SpringSource's reflect OSGi's growing role on the server side. Consultant and developer Daniel Rubio visited this trend in a recent essay .

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