Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gnirps is Bliss

Four years ago, I was spending most of my day time job helping people moving away from proprietary J2EE application servers in favor of the JBoss platform. It was such a relief on many aspects: financially, as millions of Euros of per-CPU licensing were saved ; support-wise, as the typical three-level-of-escalation inane support was replaced with a geeky efficient one ; and technically, as closed-source monoliths were replaced with the elegant micro-kernel architecture of JBoss. Of course, there were glitches, like the Unfixable (universal?) Class Loader, which were compensated by great features (like the dynamic proxy client invocation stack). And better, way better than any documentation, the source code was always accessible.

Nowadays, I am spending most of my day time job finding ways to part from JBoss in favor of lighter approaches like Spring and Tomcat. And it is a relief because, despite the thin nature of its kernel, JBoss turned into the tightly-coupled bloatware J2EE seems to mandate as the ideal server platform. I find very ironic that what was hip and enjoyable four years ago, has turned into such a subject of pain and wrath today. But yes, there is no doubt that thinner, simpler and lighter is the way to go. Scarcity makes code better. Loose coupling makes platforms better.

So what is next?

Let us pretend we are in 2012. SpringSource has been bought by ${boring-company}. Like Marc Fleury, Rod Johnson came back to its true passion: music. They might even have founded a band together (name is: La Cucumber Picante). We are now moving away from Spring to Gnirps, a project that has been founded by some dissidents after ${boring-company} decided to change the cover image of the love book.

Gnirps is both a language and a framework, which runs on the JVM (there is still no better cross-platform execution environment). The language is a fusion of Nice and Einstein, with concurrent and distribution concepts borrowed from Erlang. The framework is still heavily based on Spring, which has been freed from all the J2EE compatibility layers and classes. It is now mainly focused on OSGI and SCA, and has kept only one way of doing things for which Spring used to support three or four ways back in 2008.

Aahh, finally, thanks to Gnirps, life is such a bliss.

Wait. Until the new and improved version of...


djebar said...

Do you try grails ?

IMHO, the next big thing will be:
SpringSource Application Platform

NB SpringSource recently buy Covalent main actor in Appache project support


David Dossot said...

Yes, I did try Grails but I am not much versed in the web tier side of things so I can not say I was thrilled. Except that it runs on the JVM which alleviates the doubts I get whenever I hear about a new platform.

I do not know how far the SSAP will progress in the market. For me, its main merit is that in 2008 it is okay to ship an application platform that does not feel compelled to stick to JCP-driven so-called standards.