Monday, October 13, 2008

EJB 3 - The complete makeover?

EJB has undergone quite a makeover!

While EJB 1/2 was considered obese and ugly , EJB 3 now claims to be the complete opposite.

I find the following observation illustrates the complete makeover:

EJB 2 was one of the main reasons for the development of the Spring Framework. Spring aimed to provide a developer-friendly alternative to EJB:
I wrote this book for architects and developers who have grown increasingly frustrated with traditional approaches to J2EE design, especially EJB. It shows what you can do right now t implement cleaner, more productive alternatives to EJB and move into the next era of web applications.
- Rod Johnson (founder of Spring), 2004,
J2EE Development without EJB

During several years Spring was THE lightweight alternative to the heavyweight EJB model.

Now with EJB 3 this seems to have changed to the exact opposite:
The Spring framework then would be "Just Another EJB Container On Steroids" (JAEC :-)) - it would make, however, the integration between EJB 3 and Spring easier, than even now. This lowers the entry barrier for EJB 3 as well: the migration to pure Spring environment, in case EJB 3 wouldn't be sufficient for functional, or non-functional requirements, should be not that hard.

EJB is now presented as a quick and easy technology, very lightweight but maybe not ready for advanced enterprise scenarios.
Spring on the other hand earns more and more critique as beeing overly complex, verbose, xml-heavy [see Bob Lee here and here, Guice Comparison, another blog ...].

One of my last projects was a simple web-application. We decided that EJB would be an overkill and went with a straight JSF-and-Hibernate-in-a-single-war-approach.
Today I think that leveraging EJB3 would have made the implementation easier and not more complex, especially when implementing stateful-conversations.

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