Eclipse reels in Swordfish to offer SOA framework

With its Swordfish project, the Eclipse Foundation is developing an open source SOA framework intended for applications ranging from enterprise environments to embedded systems.

Based on technology from German logistics company Deutsche Post, Swordfish features an SOA runtime platform that leverages three popular projects: Service Component Architecture (SCA), Java Business Integration (JBI), and Open Services Gateway initiative (OSGi). SCA provides a common programming model and assembly description format while JBI serves as a common messaging model. OSGi, which is the basis of the Eclipse runtime platform, provides common deployment and runtime component models in Swordfish.

The Swordfish architecture uses OSGi to implement JBI and SCA.

“[Swordfish] is a framework to bring [together] different components, which are needed for an SOA platform,” said Ricco Deutscher, CTO at Sopera, which is leading the Swordfish effort and offers an open source SOA suite based on the project. “[Enterprise IT directors] should be very excited because this is up and running [for] more than six years in the largest logistics company in the world, and it is a very proven, mature technology,” said Deutscher.

According to the Eclipse Swordfish blog, Deutsche Post developed the core SOA engine with plans calling for the code to be refactored into an OSGi-based SOA engine. The OSGi engine serves as a milestone to an SOA runtime framework. The version 1.0 production release of Swordfish is scheduled for the third quarter of this year.

Swordfish offers a way to use JBI, SCA, and OSGi for server-side applications, said analyst Michael Cote of Redmonk. It also demonstrates Eclipse’s reach to the server, he said.

“Where I see Swordfish fitting in is [it is] sort of [an] ‘enterprise’ framework for writing software and applications with OSGi,” said Cote. The Swordfish vision also appears to follow the ESB-driven (enterprise service bus) way of doing SOA, he said.

“I think the more interesting thing about Swordfish than just the SOA angle is how it’s part of Eclipse’s overall idea of doing more runtime — stuff for the server side rather than desktop stuff,” Cote said.

The Sopera open source suite features Swordfish and components for messaging, registry, security, and BPEL (Business Process Execution Language for Web Services). Sopera supports business applications, as well as legacy and SAP NetWeaver integration. It also provides a gateway to third-party ESBs.

Chris Kanaracus, U.S. correspondent with IDG News Service, an InfoWorld affiliate, contributed to this report.

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