Java conference abuzz with Apache Beehive

In a presentation at the recent TheServerSide Java Symposium, Cliff Schmidt discussed the Apache Beehive project and BEA's commitment to open source.

LAS VEGAS -- Enterprise developers swarmed to TheServerSide Java Symposium recently to listen to a presentation

on the Apache Beehive project.

Cliff Schmidt, BEA WebLogic Workshop's product manager for standards strategy, provided an overview of Beehive, described its progress through the Apache Incubator and explained why BEA is contributing to the open source community.

BEA is going to make open source such a key piece of its business plan. It is important to us that open source remains viable forever, and I think that is probably going to happen with or without BEA
Cliff Schmidt
WebLogic Workshop Product ManagerBEA

Apache Beehive, an ease-of-use framework for developing enterprise applications, is BEA's second contribution (after the XMLBeans project) to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), a community of open source software projects.

Beehive was announced about a year ago and, according to Schmidt, is likely to remain in incubation for another one to three months. Incubation is required of all newly accepted ASF projects and lasts until the project infrastructure, communications and decision making processes have stabilized in a manner consistent with other successful ASF projects.

Beehive's target audience includes developers who don't have the experience in application plumbing complexities and those who simply don't want to deal with them.

Beehive currently has three components, which include Web services, controls and net user interface (UI); however, it may grow to include other components, Schmidt said.

Beehive's Web Services component uses the Web Service meta data specification (Java Specification Request 181).

Schmidt described how in order to create a Web Service, developers need to first write a service implementation bean and then use annotations to generate artifacts.

Plug-ins for popular open source tools such as Eclipse and IntelliJ can help write these annotations, Schmidt said. The generated artifacts will work in any container.

He provided a simple code sample that demonstrated the use of Web service annotations:

HelloWebService.jws
@WebService(targetNamespace="http://www.openuri.org")

public class HelloWebService {

   @WebMethod
   public String sayHello(String name) {
      return "Hello, " + name;
   }
}

Enterprise resource access currently has too many application programming interfaces, such as Java Database Connectivity, Enterprise JavaBeans, Java Message Service and the Java API for XML-based remote procedure calls. According to Schmidt, Beehive's control components seek to simplify some of this resource access.

Beehive controls are essentially JavaBeans configured via properties. The package also comes with a few premade controls. JavaBean controls also benefit from artifacts generated via annotations and tool support.

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The NetUI component is a model view controller programming framework built on the open source Struts framework. Struts configuration files are automatically updated via meta data annotations. The rendering UI is integrated with JavaServer Pages 2.0 and supports Expression Language, .tag files, the JavaServer pages standard tag library and UI tag libraries.

Featuring annotations, lightweight components and the value of building on open source frameworks, Beehive is built on three years of experience with WebLogic Workshop, Schmidt said.

These will be key factors for the project as it graduates from the ASF incubation process, Schmidt said.

"I think that if we can take a technology that was limited to WebLogic customers before and now has opened up to all Java developers, we have newly added some value to the people that come to us," Schmidt said, in a recent video interview conducted by TheServerSide.com for the BEA dev2dev community.

BEA benefits by selling a WebLogic platform that integrates and leverages the Apache Beehive framework, Schmidt said.

"BEA is going to make open source such a key piece of its business plan. It is important to us that open source remains viable forever, and I think that is probably going to happen with or without BEA," Schmidt said.

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