Thursday, December 1, 2005

The OSGi Specifications are finding their home in places that we never dreamt of when we started in 1998. We always thought we were working for small embedded devices, doing things small and embedded devices do. Surprisingly, the specifications are increasingly being used in Enterprise applications as well.

The Apache foundation has adopted the OSGi specifications in the form of Felix, formerly called Oscar. The Apache Directory project started to use Oscar some time ago and fell in love with it (This is the first Apache project I know that does not have a silly name). Felix is now an incubator and many parties are looking at how they could use OSGi in their projects. Active work is going on in convincing Apache committers that it is worth to bundleize their work.

Last week I was pointed at an Alphaworks project called WSRF plugins that provides a number of bundles to use Web Services on an OSGi Service Platform. It enables services running in an OSGi Service Platform to expose themselves as remotely accessible and manageable resources using WSRF. The purpose of the Web Services Resource Framework (WSRF) is to model and access stateful resources using Web services. Examples are: mechanisms to describe views on the state, to support management of the state, and to describe how to extend this to groups of Web services. The toolkit provides an example how to make OSGi bundles stateful resources that can be lifecyle managed using web services. I did not yet have the time to play with it, but it looks very interesting if you work with web services. The download is a bit steep, but that is caused because it includes a lot of documentation and a copy of SMF. However, BJ Hargrave assured me that it should work on other OSGi Frameworks as well. For this blog I would have loved a tiny Hello World example, the Address Book example was just a trifle too big for me. If you have downloaded this toolkit, pop me a mail with your experiences.

As last example, JOnAS is a certified J2EE server that embeds an OSGi framework for modularity and deployment reasons. I have heard that they are not the only group looking at using OSGi frameworks in J2EE servers. The deployment aspects of J2EE have been partly overlooked and OSGi seems a perfect match for the needs.

Inside the OSGi we are working on a Web Container standard (for members only). The OSGi Web Container provides support for web applications using the Servlet and JSP interfaces. The current OSGi Http Service works requires application efforts to work well with web applications. We are investigating if we can seriously simplify this.

Much, much more is happening in the Enterprise world with OSGi. IBM has clearly seen the light and are using OSGi in many different applications. If you have applications in the Enterprise world please tell me.

Last but not least, next week I will visit ApacheCon in San Diego. I always love to talk to OSGi fans, so do not hesitate to contact me.

Peter Kriens
OSGi Evangelist

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