Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Weblogic, Linux Containers

Microservices Expo: Article

BEA Seeks "Ubiquity" Through Open Source Community, Say Its Top Execs

Major donation of WebLogic Workshop runtime announced, and Java as a whole will gain, say two top BEA executives.

  • "Beehive" Now Officially an Open Source Project: Apache Beehive
  • "BEA Today Will Open-Source the WebLogic Workshop Application Development Framework"
  • Just two full working days after its stock crashed by 23 percent - its biggest drop in more than five years - BEA came out of the corner today fighting, with the announcement (already revealed by inside sources earlier today) that it was donating - to what CTO Scott Dietzen referred to as "Open Source Land" - the first open source application framework targeted at Java-based Web applications: "Project Beehive."

    "Project Beehive," as was reported earlier today by WLDJ, a sister publication to Web Services Journal, is the name BEA is giving to its release of the runtime of the application development framework from its WebLogic Workshop tool, including the controls in Workshop.

    Announcing the release to the world today from BEA's San Jose, CA, headquarters, CTO Dietzen emphasized that this was no sudden shift in BEA strategy just to buck stock market pressures. "We had planned long-term to announce Beehive before eWorld," he said. "This is a foundational piece [of BEA's future strategy] and this is the motivation for this announcement now: so that the Java commnnity has a chance to assimilate and see how it fits into everything before our user conference next week in San Francisco."

    "It fills a gap," Dietzen told an invited group of journalists, including Web Services Journal News Desk. "Java apps can now run on WebLogic and non-WebLogic Java containers - both competing products and open source offerings."

    "The bottom line," he continued, "is that Beehive is designed to accelerate the proliferation of Java by simplifying development."

    BEA's aim is with Beehive, Dietzen explained, is "to marry the best of BEA's innovational strength with the strength of Java."

    "Up until now leveraging Java came with some measure of prioprietary vendor lock-in," he conceded, reminding his audience that there were 40-odd vendors before J2EE came along.

    "Getting the OS-focused Java community behind a unified framework for J2EE apps is going to help Java to compete better against .NET," Dietzen said. "Workshop brings drag-and-drop to Java just as PowerBuilder brought it to the client/server world," he observed.

    Dietzen contended that J2EE is simply "too sophisticated" now to hit what he calls "the sweet spot" - which is "making Java easier for tackling hard problems" such as Web services orchestration. Noting that WebLogic Workshop has won the most industry awards since Borland's Delphi, BEA was now making it available to the wider Java community, he added.

    That "should expand the overall set of Java apps, including that for WebLogic," he said. "The open source community is a great way to drive such ubiquity - witness the success of Struts, never ratified as a Java standard."

    So BEA is looking at open source as a way to get its offerings into more developers' hands, and as a way to "elevate J2EE beyond Web apps to SOA orchestration," as Dietzen puts it. (There is currently very little IP in either the OS or the Java community aimed at providing orchestration for SOA, he noted.)

    Dietzen emphasized that BEA was not open-sourcing any of BEA's major products like WebLogic Server, WebLogic Platform, or WebLogic Portal - the runtime of Workshop lies on top of these products.

    The move will "expose BEA to Open Source Land," he explained. Tomcat, for example, doesn't do orchestration, he said, "so Beehive allows our customers to easily migrate a Tomcat app to a WebLogic container - a seamless upgrade path if and when they want it and there is a business case for it." Indeed the first implementation "is going to be targeted at Tomcat," he announced.

    Cornelius Willis, responsible for BEA's developer evangelism and developer relations, emphasized the win-win nature of the move, bringing "Big new business opportunities for BEA as well as for developers."

    The framework will now be developed both by BEA engineeers and the wider community, Willis explained. "Any development tool can be used in conjunction with Beehive," he said, "and it can be deployed on any app server from any vendor."

    Beehive complements all development tools, he said, and BEA believes it will "dramatically increase the use of Java in the enterprise."

    By bringing Java developers into the world of orchestrated services, Willis continued, Beehive would be playing its part in what he called the "modernizing" of Java.

    BEA was convinced that the open-sourcing of WebLogic Workshop's application development framework would expand its market reach, "creating greater market exposure for our portal products and for WebLogic Server," Willis said.

    With Beehive, he continued, "developers get access to all the award-winning technology found in BEA WebLogic Workshop, including Java annotations, Java controls, Java Web services and Java Page Flows, which drive increased interoperability and developer productivity."

    "Java developers and customers can build advanced SOA apps now," he emphasized. "It's the best, perhaps the only way, to build SOA apps now," he asserted.

    Will the componentized aspects of development using Beehive attract COBOL, Visual Basic and PowerBuilder developers to Java? Willis and Dietzen think so. Their belief is that Project Beehive will help bring such business developers "into the fold."

    "Less than 10% of developers worldwide possess the ability to code to the appropriate level for J2EE," Willis conceded. So this was a way of broadening the use and adoption of Java.

    "By open-sourcing Workshop, we're giving developers a better return on their most precious investment - their time," said Willis.

    Industry comments have already started coming in. JBoss Inc. for example, told Web Services Journal:

    "JBoss is pleased that BEA is beginning to embrace open source for parts of their development environment. We trust that they will receive the same favorable feedback from the community as JBoss does. It is clear that the Professional Open Source model is having a dramatic impact on the software industry as evidenced by BEA's announcement. Professional Open Source, in which no-cost software licenses are backed up by expert technical support services, is quickly becoming the new safe choice for enterprises. JBoss Inc. also believes our strategic advantage in the middleware marketplace is unaffected by today's BEA announcement because JBoss open source license covers the entire J2EE application server and allows end-user enterprises and ISVs to deploy the JBoss Application Server free of charge regardless of the size of the production environment."


    David Skok, of venture capitalists Matrix Partners, another active proponent of "professional open source"  and a JBoss board member, added:

    "It looks like BEA is beginning to really feel the heat from the success that JBoss is enjoying. From JBoss's standpoint this development is very positive. It allows users of Beehive to create code that can run on the JBoss App Server as well as BEA's. It however stops short of open-sourcing their app server which is the only chance BEA has of slowing JBoss's momentum. That step would eliminate hundreds of millions in revenue for them - so I doubt that it is a viable option."

    Asked by Web Services Journal News Desk for his reactions, Sun's chief technology evangelist, Simon Phipps, said of today's Beehive announcement: "Interesting move." He continued:

    "Sun has long experience of open source and tools. Having seeded the Netbeans open source community back in 2000 and shown strong commitment to the community since then. If this is a move to enfranchise their developers in a similar way it's to be welcomed, but with Netbeans and Sun Java Studio both mature and already offering the ability to deploy across a choice of application servers, they will need to do more than just hope for volunteers."

    Is BEA starting out too late, when it comes to open source and tools, compared to rivals like Sun and IBM? The key will be to see if they really generate a community the way NetBeans for example has, observes Phipps. 

    Web Services Journal News Desk will of course follow the progress of "Project Beehive" over the coming months. 

    More Stories By SOA News Desk

    SOA World Magazine News Desk trawls the world of distributed computing and SOA-related developments for the latest word on technologies, standards, products, and services and brings key information to you in a timely and convenient summary form.

    Comments (4)

    Share your thoughts on this story.

    Add your comment
    You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

    In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


    Microservices Articles
    The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but didn’t really change the basic relationship between servers and the applications running on them. In fact, that was sort of the point. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, senior cloud strategy marketing and evangelism manager at Red Hat, will discuss how today’s workloads require a new model and a new platform for development and execution. The platform must handle a wide range of rec...
    When building large, cloud-based applications that operate at a high scale, it’s important to maintain a high availability and resilience to failures. In order to do that, you must be tolerant of failures, even in light of failures in other areas of your application. “Fly two mistakes high” is an old adage in the radio control airplane hobby. It means, fly high enough so that if you make a mistake, you can continue flying with room to still make mistakes. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee A...
    In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
    Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app secu...
    Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
    Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
    Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addresse...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
    Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
    In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...