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Eric Bruno

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Glassfish v3 Prelude Released

November 05, 2008

Sun Microsystems announced today the availability of Sun GlassFish Enterprise Server v3 Prelude (https://glassfish.dev.java.net/), a lightweight Web application server based on the OSGi standard. This release includes a preview of the features that will be available in the upcoming Java Platform Enterprise Edition 6 (Java EE 6).
 
It uses a modular approach for easier installation, management, and deployment of Java EE applications of all sizes. GlassFish v3 Prelude allows you to easily scale projects from small Web-tier deployments to large-scale mission critical architectures. It also includes dynamic language support for Java, Groovy on Grails and JRuby on Rails without sacrificing the performance developers seek.

Earlier this week, I spoke with Paul Hinz and John Clingan of Sun, and they gave me an overview of this new release of Glassfish, and they told my why they're so excited about it. First of all, it's fully OSGi-compliant, leading to its modularized implementation. It's the first step towards a fully-compliant Java EE 6 application server with profiles. However, since the Java EE 6 specification is not yet finalized, Sun decided they wanted to continue with Glassfish's innovation and supply this "prelude" release with a subset of features now.

A Bigger Fish

Overall, Glassfish is growing in terms of downloads, installations, user registrations, as well as requests for related white papers and Webinar attendance. In fact, here are some numbers:

-14 million downloads since May 2005, when they started tracking them. This is completed, actual downloads; not download attempts
-8 million downloads this year so far
-225,000 user registrations this year so far

With the prelude release, you'll get an early glimpse of Java EE profiles, as it includes a lightweight web-tier solution that offers an alternative to Tomcat. It also includes new rapid development features, such as the ability to save a change to your code, and simply refresh the browser to see that change. There's no need to restart Glassfish, or even recreate your session; your full session state is maintained. 

In addition, it features quicker startup times, smaller downloads, GUI-based administration, clustering support, and improvements in scripting support. For instance, Glassfish v3 Prelude now supports native Ruby application deployment, without the need to package the application as a WAR file. This is accomplished through a new microkernel design approach inside Glassfish. As a result, it makes the process more natural for Ruby developers than it was before.

Also, this new version of Glassfish includes a new version of the Metro web services stack (https://metro.dev.java.net) with support for .Net 3.5 web services integration. It also includes a new embedded API to more easily make Glasshfish part of a deployable release of your own software. And, given its new modular design, it's much more lightweight than in the past also.

Java EE 6 Updates

With the Glasshfish v3 Prelude release, you get a fully supported, modular, OSGi-compliant, application server with a preview of many of Java EE 6's features. You also get access to the latest Java EE 6 updates as they become available. With the Glassfish update center, you can easily download the latest features as they become available. For instance, currently in the update center, releases of Groovy on Grails, as well as JRuby and rails have just been made available.

The Future of Glassfish

Sun's goal is to make Glassfish part of a broader platform. They aim to make it part of the enterprise suite of software they offer today, such as Identity server, MySQL, and xVM virtualization. It's more than a reference implementation, its the foundation for Sun's enterprise software business. Download the v3 Prelude release and give it a try.

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