JBoss set to shine with JEMS middleware stack

JBoss Inc. last month announced plans to flesh out details of its open source middleware stack consisting largely of existing software technologies, with the company intending to fill out the stack over time.

The JBoss Enterprise Middleware System, or JEMS, features the company’s JBoss application server, the Tomcat Web server, JBoss Cache, Hibernate object-relational mapping software, JBoss jBPM (Java Business Process Management), and JBoss Portal, which is currently in a developer release and not generally available as a complete product. Underlying the stack is the JBoss JBus microkernel, which is to support “remoting,” or communicating over different protocols, and aspect-oriented programming. The microkernel provides management, hosting, and communications for services. A loosely coupled architecture in the stack allows for plug-and-play capabilities, according to JBoss.

“What we’re saying is all of these and more are going to be a complete middleware stack,” said Bob Bickel, JBoss vice-president of strategy and corporate development. BEA Systems Inc. is eyeing application deployments such as financial, telecommunications, and travel systems with its middleware stack.

Improvements planned for JEMS include portal enhancements and the addition of an enterprise service bus, due by the end of next year. The ESB will be JBoss’ message-based integration platform. The general release of JBoss Portal, due in the first quarter of 2005, meanwhile, will support portlets.

“Our goal is to take (JBoss) from being just an application server company to being an entire middleware company,” Bickel said.

JBoss next summer is planning to release Version 5.0 of its application server, featuring grid enablement of the microkernel. The application server also will support aspect-oriented programming and “Plain Old Java Objects,” or POJOs, which will support aspects such as security, transactions, Web services enablement, and XML tags. POJOs present a .Net-style of programming requiring less coding, Bickel said.

JBoss offers its software under an open source format, charging no fees for the actual software but selling support and training. Bickel said. The company has commercial middleware companies such as BEA in its sights, Bickel acknowledged. 048305

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