Europe's ObjectWeb consortium is developing an EJB container based on the EJB 3.0 specification, giving developers another open-source option for Java application development.
EJBs, or Enterprise Java Beans, are reusable software components that include the business logic of a server application -- basically what the application does. In an application for approving credit card transactions, for example, the EJBs might incorporate functions such as "check credit level" and "approve payment."
They're useful for building applications that run across multiple servers and have to support large numbers of users. But they are also quite complex to work with, and a focus of EJB 3.0 has been simplifying their use.
ObjectWeb already has an EJB 3.0 container for its Jonas application server. The new project, called EasyBeans, will extract the EJB container from Jonas so that it can be used with Tomcat or another application server, said François Letellier, a member of ObjectWeb's executive committee.
"Many people like the features of EJB 3.0, but don't need the full stack," he said. "The other thing is, this can be plugged into other application servers."
The goal is to build a fast, lightweight EJB container, he said.
EasyBeans will be launched officially in the coming days and the first code should be ready for production use in a few months, Letellier said. It will be released under the GNU Lesser General Public License. The project's home page is http://forge.objectweb.org/projects/easybeans/.
Relatedly this week, BEA Systems said it will release the source code later this year for the EJB 3.0 portion of BEA Kodo, a persistence engine it acquired last year through its purchase of SolarMetric. It plans to rename the software Open JPA.
Open JPA is only the persistence API (application programming interface) for EJB 3.0, at the same level as Hibernate. EasyBeans will be a full EJB container, which could use Hibernate, Speedo or Open JPA for its persistence, Letellier said.