ONJava: 2005 Year in Review
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No Snoozing for Hibernate
Hibernate remains one of the most popular tools in the enterprise developer's repertoire, and it will be interesting to see if the much-simplified EJB 3.0 can do anything to dislodge this now-entrenched persistence framework. For those late to the party, James Elliott explained What is Hibernate. For the more daring, Dai Yifan showed the power of Hibernate 3 Formulas, while Jason Lee made the case for casting off the application container in Hibernate for Java SE.
Spring-ing to the Defense
No article published this year has generated more talkback comments than Michael Juntao Yuan's POJO Application Frameworks: Spring vs. EJB 3.0, in which he compared the two frameworks in terms of how they allow you assemble services together. The article came down somewhat in favor of EJB 3.0, largely due to its use of formal JCP standards, which brought an outcry from Spring fans. The Spring community is large and vocal, and Spring may well be the de facto standard for enterprise application development in 2006; it topped the list of topic requests in our reader survey results and was pegged as the second most-likely-to-succeed technology for the next 12 months.
Several of our most popular articles in 2005 were on Spring. Bruce Tate offered up Five Things I Love About Spring, the fifth of which is the vibrant developer community. "The Spring community makes using the framework much easier," he writes, adding, "I can't find a community for any other lightweight container that comes close." We also published Wire Hibernate Transactions in Spring, in which Binildas Christudas showed how to bring the popular persistence framework to Spring.
In Eclipse's Shadow
Our survey showed that a whopping 76 percent of you are using the Eclipse IDE, making it one of the most important tools in the Java realm. We responded with a significant commitment to Eclipse coverage, including Emmanuel Proulx's three-part series (parts 1, 2, and 3) on Eclipse plugin development. Deepak Vorha checked in with two articles on Eclipse configuration, Configuring Database Access in Eclipse 3.0 with SQLExplorer and Configuring Eclipse for Remote Debugging.
James Elliott, author of Hibernate: A Developer's Notebook, introduced the options for Working with Hibernate in Eclipse, including Hibernate Synchronizer and other plugins. Looking to the future, Lawrence Mandel and Jeffrey Liu took a look at the up-and-coming Eclipse Web Tools project.
We knew that Ant was still popular: the survey showed 90 percent of our readers using it. Still, we were surprised to find that there's still more to the Ant story, that there's more you can do with it than just crank out your builds. Les A. Hazlewood's An Ant Modular Build Environment for Enterprise Applications was a remarkably popular article that showed how to exploit the
<ant> task to break your build into manageable, interrelated pieces. Steve Holzner's book excerpt "Developing for the Web with Ant" (parts 1 and 2), showed off Ant's abilities for building and deploying applications to Java app servers.
2006 promises to be a year of major developments in Java, with the expected release of both Java EE 5 and Java SE 6. The rest of the Java world continues to grow, as seen by the recent milestone that Java projects have displaced C++ as the most popular development language on SourceForge. Open source Java development also abounds on sites like java.net and within the Apache Software Foundation, which recently hosted the ApacheCon 2005 conference, at which it offered an update on the development status of Harmony, which aims to be a compatible, Apache-licensed Java SE implementation.
ONJava will continue to track the developments of greatest interest to enterprise Java developers, and each week we'll try to bring you new and novel material to help you succeed in your development, interesting ideas that you can work with, and hopefully a few surprises to keep you on your toes. Thanks for your readership and support in 2005, and best wishes for 2006.
Chris Adamson is an author, editor, and developer specializing in iPhone and Mac.
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