Friday, February 26, 2010

Three weeks to OSGi DevCon

Just a reminder, it is only two weeks to OSGi DevCon! We just had OSGi DevCon London and that was a great success. The OSGi DevCon London was organized by JAX and as always it was superbly organized in an excellent hotel. I always like it when the hotel and the conference are together, it increases the chance to get to talk to people. Tuesday night I did not get to my room until 1.30 AM. These on- and offline talks are crucially important to better understand where the OSGi eco system is moving to. Obviously it is interesting to hear what the usual suspects are thinking but these conferences also allow me to hear from the trenches. Sometimes you can correct invalid understandings but often you can learn a lot of the problems people face in software. This year's OSGi DevCon in Santa Clara will be held in the Hyatt hotel, I am already looking forward to have lots of discussions with people visiting the conference.

That said, one should not underestimate the program, we've got a very nice OSGi program this year. On Monday night we'll be introducing OSGi Enterprise R4.2. Tim Diekmann, the Enterprise Expert Group co-chair, will be introducing this seminal piece of work. We'll raffle the first copy of the Enterprise release book, signed by the co-chairs, might one day be a collectors item.

On Thursday we will also have a very interesting workshop on Cloud Computing that is already heavily oversubscribed, looks like a hot topic and I am expecting a very interesting day.

As the Michelin Guide would say: "Worth the trip!" So if you're not registered yet, do it now. Note the discount for OSGi members, just use your OSGi member mailing address.

Hoping to see many of you in Santa Clara!

Peter Kriens

Monday, February 8, 2010

OSGi & Cloud Computing

The Eclipse Foundation and the OSGi Alliance are holding a Cloud workshop during the OSGi DevCon/EclipseCon developer conference in Santa Clara, Thursday March 25.

They key question we want to answer in this workshop: what role can OSGi play in the cloud? Offerings like the ones from Amazon ( are agnostic of any application model and OSGi can play in their EC2 offering like anybody else because it is based on generic x86 machines. However, a model like the Google App Engine so severely knee-capped Java that it is doubt full that OSGi can run on it. Many cloud computing providers have free plans to get you started, or at least make the cost trivial. However, the costly part is your own investment in the software you develop for the cloud. On the desktop and on the server we've had a lot of advantage of standards that abstracted us from the vendors. This portability allows us to move our code to different app servers (well mostly). Though most of the lessons we learned in the past still apply to the cloud, the current vendors of cloud computing have very specific offerings that easily create portability problems. How to access the storage? How to discover and handle multiple instances of the application in the cloud? How to handle storage? How to share domain specific services? Standardizing interfaces for these aspects of cloud computing could provide a lot of portability. And portability is not only in the interest of the clients, also vendors gain by having a much larger market.

Perusing the different offerings for cloud computing I can clearly see that the OSGi bundle model would work very well in this area. Applications can easily be managed remotely because remote management is inside OSGi's genes. This always has made OSGi easy to use in clusters and much of those benefits apply equally to cloud computing. However, the advantages of the OSGi service model seems to be even more clear. A cloud computing environment is by definition a dynamic environment. Adding instances, removing instances, and instances that fail will likely influence the other instances. This means that the application will need to handle the dynamicity of the services that these computing instances provide. There will be also be dependencies that must be managed. OSGi services shine in these areas, making it relatively simple to correctly model these dynamic dependencies.

So overall the combination of cloud computing and OSGi is clearly an interesting one. With the workshop we want to bring together cloud people and OSGi people and see where there are areas where OSGi standards could help. This first workshop is by invitation only because for this first time we want to learn; we need people with experience in the area of cloud computing and that see OSGi as a potential standards player in this area; creating a discussion between cloud experts and OSGi experts. So if you're heavily into cloud computing and you want to attend, send me or Ian Skerret from the Eclipse Foundation a mail. Amazon? Google? Microsoft? You?

Peter Kriens

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

OSGi DevCon 2010!

Time flies, it is more than 3 years ago that Bjorn Freeman-Benson, BJ Hargrave, and me sat down after the 2006 conference to discuss the possibilities to organize an OSGi DevCon in conjunction with EclipseCon. Today I am proud to announce the 4th OSGi DevCon in Santa Clara, March 22-25. The program is, as usual, staggering. It always impresses me how many people are willing to contribute to EclipseCon/OSGi DevCon. Overall there were more than 350 submissions and about 60 of those were for OSGi DevCon. Picking the most interesting program was even harder than previous years because there is less space; we therefore have less time for OSGi DevCon. However, the resulting program is probably of even higher quality.

First I would like to draw your attention to the fact that we will officially publish the OSGi Enterprise Specification during EclipseCon. The OSGi Alliance will host a BOF on Monday night. One of the co-chairs of the OSGi Enterprise Expert Group, Tim Diekmann, will give a presentation during this BOF of what is in this specification and why it is ground breaking.

We have three tutorials. The first tutorial is from the people that wrote the OSGi and Equinox: Creating Highly Modular Java Systems book. You will get a feel for Toast telematics! See Working with OSGi: The stuff you need to know.

The next tutorial is from Kirk Knoernschild and Neil Bartlett, both very experienced developers and excellent writers and presenters. This tutorial was actually chosen in the EclipseCon Program Commitee top 5. The subject is a very hot topic at the moment: modularity. We all learned the lessons about coupling and cohesion. However, applying those lessons in large developments is still hard. This tutorial will give you theoretical as well as practical insight in modularity and using OSGi to achieve it. See Modular Architecture from Top to Bottom.

The last tutorial is from Karl Pauls and Marcel Offermans. They are the lead developers of the Apache ACE project and have been developing with OSGi forever. Their subject is absolutely core for OSGi although not always that visible. OSGi is not a "Hello World" technology, such examples only work well when the scope is small. The scope of OSGi is, however, large scale technology. Size does matter for OSGi. A consequence of the scale is that systems have a large number of bundles. This number becomes so large that handling these bundles requires automation because it is just too much to do by hand. Karl and Marcel will teach how to manage installations that reach these problems. See Become a Certified Bundle Manager today.

The first long talk is a must for anyone using OSGi. One of the most exciting pieces of work inside the OSGi is the nested framework RFC. Nested frameworks bring back the initial philosophy of OSGi: the bundles are your application. Enterprise servers based on OSGi starting to deploy many applications inside a single framework. In such a constellation, your peer bundles and peer services might no longer be yours. Nested frameworks returns to this model, an application will be installed in a child framework, also called composite bundles. The lead developers of Eclipse Equinox as well as Apache Felix will present the proposed architecture and discuss merits, pitfalls, and problems that still need to be solved. So do not miss Composite Bundles - Isolating Applications in a Collaborative OSGi World.

OSGi is like a sharp knife. When used well, it is extremely useful, when used wrongly it hurts. Chris Aniszczyk, Jeff McAffer, Martin Lippert, and Paul Vanderlei have been working with OSGi for the better part of the noughties and therefore have lots of experiences and the bruises and cuts to prove it. Between them they cover almost any computing aspect that can be used in conjunction with OSGi. Jeff was the driver behind Eclipse's adoption of OSGi, Chris is the lead developer of PDE, Martin has worked on Aspect Oriented Programming in Eclipse including the weaving issues and is an aficionado of OSGi as well, and Paul brings the experience from the embedded world. A must for anybody that wants to adopt OSGi. See OSGi Best and Worst Practices.

OSGi is at the foundation of RCP, obviously. However, you can use RCP and not see much of OSGi. David Orme has been contracting for J.P. Morgan where they created an internal platform based on RCP. In the last few years they re-architected this platform to take more advantage of OSGi. This is a very good experience report for anybody that has to develop software to be used inside large organizations. See OneBench Reloaded - Pushing the (OSGI) Modularity Story in an Enterprise-wide Rich Client Stack.

Looking at the size of this blog, I do not think I should loose more readers going through each of the 25 mins talks, even though I think they're more than worth it. I therefore list them here as bullets:

  • Apache Aries: Enterprise OSGi in Action - A report from a new open source project that will bring us lots of enterprise components for OSGi. Graham Charters from IBM will present.
  • My Unmanned System is Eclipse Powered - Next time you see an unmanned vehicle, OSGi might be behind the wheel. Talk about cool OSGi apps! Tankut Koray will show you the role OSGi plays in their architecture.
  • Next Generation OSGi Shells - Traditionally shells run inside the OSGi framework, however, this shell works as launching tool, interacting with a Paremus' Nimble to find the necessary bundles. Robert Dunne will tell you about these shells and show you how easy it is to deploy applications consisting of many bundles.
  • OSamI Tools for OSGi Application Developers - OSamI is a very large cross-european project to develop common technology for ambient intelligence, all based on OSGi. Naci Dai and Murat Yener from eteration A.S. will tell you more.
  • Managing OBR Repositories with Nexus - Maven is moving to OSGi and there is more and more collaboration. Sonatype has adopted OBR in their Nexus repository, allowing it to play with the advanced resolvers that appearing in the market. Jason van Zyl, the man behind Maven, will tell you about their strategy.
  • Using JPA in OSGi - Mike Keith and Timothy Ward are the lead authors of the OSGi JPA adaption, a part of the OSGi Enterprise Specification. See how you can simplify using persistence in OSGi bundles.
  • OSGi Enterprise for Java EE Developers - How do you go from Java EE to OSGi? Many patterns that are necessary in Java EE do not work well in a very modular environment. Timothy DeBoer will show you how to use Eclipse tools to ease the transition.
  • OSGi & Java EE in GlassFish - When Glassfish adopted OSGi a few years ago I was very excited to see how Java EE and OSGi can co-exist, each providing their strengths. Since then, the Glassfish team has more and more adopted OSGi, they even hired Richard Hall, the lead Apache Felix developer. Sahoo and Jerome Donchez are the lead architects and will report to you about the new cool features.
  • Realistic Remote Management of OSGi-based Residential Boxes - OSGi was made to be managed remotely. However, managing thousands of devices running OSGi somewhere out there remains a complex area. Dimiar Valtchev from ProSyst has a very long experience with this problem and will elucidate you on the issues and solutions.
  • Overcoming sticker shock: addressing the unexpected costs of moving to OSGi in the enterprise - Eric Johnson from TIBCO will explain you what you can expect when you move from a Java EE environment to OSGi, the rules and patterns that work are quite different. This will be an experience report but will also focus on how the community can work to ease this migration.
  • Making Dependency Injection work for you - Joep Rottinghuis and Parag Raval from eBay tell you how to use Spring DM to use Dependency Injection in bundles.
  • Logging in OSGi Enterprise Application - As a non-enterprise programmer I am always in awe when I see the avalanche of logging information coming out of enterprise programs. However, it seems important and OSGi puts some unique challenges in the way of traditional loggers because they often require global visibility and of course the OSGi Log Service. Ekkehard Gentz provides an overview and a demo of OSGi logging.
  • ScalaModules: OSGi the Easy Way with a Scala DSL - The last months I've tried to use Scala because it has features I know from my Smalltalk days and daily miss when using Java. Though any new programing language is painfull to learn (what takes you seconds in Java initially takes you minutes in Scala because you have to figure out how), Scala really looks very interesting. Roman Roelofsen and Neil Bartlett will report to you about Scala Modules, a way to bring modularity to the Scala Language.
On Valentine's day the early registration price will end and you'll have to pay the full amount. So be sure to register as soon as possible to take advantage of this discount. If you're an OSGi member, you can get an additional discount if you register here with the email address you use on the OSGi members web site.

I am looking forward to see you again in this 4th OSGi DevCon, lets hope it will be the best ever!

Peter Kriens