Spring may be coming soon for Microsoft's Azure

The popular Java Spring Framework could hook up with the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform

Java developers fond of the popular Spring Framework might gain an interesting deployment option -- the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform -- if an alliance can emerge between Spring proponents and Microsoft.

And given Microsoft's newly stated intention to possibly align with Spring advocates, it looks like such an option could be in the works.

[ To learn about Microsoft's open source contributions this week, see "Microsoft releases code for Linux drivers" and "Microsoft makes second GPLv2 release is as many days" | An engineer has claimed that Microsoft had been in violation of GPLv2 before releasing the Linux driver code. ]

In an interview at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday afternoon, Rod Johnson, founder of the framework and CEO of  SpringSource, which oversees Spring development, was receptive to working with Microsoft and expressed particular interest in Azure.

SpringSource, in fact, already has had some discussions with Microsoft, Johnson said. "We're absolutely open to working with them," Johnson said. "Personally, I'm interested in talking with them about Azure and the Spring Java story for Azure," said Johnson. Deployment of Spring applications on Azure could be a possibility, although SpringSource has not discussed this specifically with Microsoft, he said.

"I think Spring developers should definitely be able to interoperate with Microsoft technologies, and I think there's a bunch of stuff that they're doing in Azure that may be of interest to our community," Johnson said.

Earlier in the week, Microsoft's Sam Ramji, senior director of platform strategy in the company's Server and Tools organization, said frameworks such as Spring or Hibernate could receive a Windows embrace. Ramji made the comments during an interview pertaining to Microsoft's donation of Linux driver code.

With Azure, Java developers could leverage parts of the Microsoft stack such as SQL Data Services for writing business applications that need to integrate with Microsoft resources, Johnson said. With Java on Azure, Spring developers also could better access Microsoft's SQL Server database and Microsoft Message Queing (MSMQ), said Johnson.

"Right now, there's essentially no business relationship that we have [with Microsoft]. We're talking," Johnson said. SpringSource has discussed the Apache Stonehenge project with Microsoft, which is participating in the effort.

Spring can provide a smaller-footprint application server than a traditional Java Enterprise Edition (EE) application server, Johnson said. "Some people perceive Spring as anti-Java EE. What Spring does is give people choice," Johnson said.

The framework in various iterations has been downloaded more than 6 million times in six years, said Johnson. "The main intention was to make developing enterprise Java applications simpler," he said.

Also in the Java space this week, JetBrains, makers of the IntelliJ Idea Java IDE, released Meta Programming System (MPS) 1.0, a language workbench. MPS is designed for developing new languages or language extensions, including programming languages and domain-specific languages. Users also could, for example, add constructs to Java or build a domain-specific language and embed Java code in it.

MPS leverages the concept of language-oriented programming, JetBrains said.

"MPS has come a long way since the original concept back in 2003 and is now a powerful, mature software tool that paints the future of software development," said Sergey Dmitriev, JetBrains CEO and author of the MPS concept, in a statement released by the company. JetBrains has built a Web-based issue tracker, code-named Charisma, using MPS.

MPS is free with a major part of its source code available under an Apache license.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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