In this interview, Debu Panda, the principal product manager for Oracle’s J2EE server talks about the various Oracle products for J2EE.
He discusses the challenges before J2EE and also shares his views on the ongoing JDO and EJB 3.0 persistence controversy.
IndicThreads>>Hi Debu. Welcome to IndicThreads. Could you introduce yourself to IndicThreads members?
Debu Panda>>I?m a Principal Product Manager in the Oracle Application Server development organization and my responsibility is to drive the development process, from functional requirement to shipping, of some core functionalities such as EJB Container and Transaction Manager. I have a Masters degree in Computer Applications and more than 13 years of experience in the IT industry. I recently joined the EJB 3.0 expert committee as a second member from Oracle.
“Oracle Application Server
is the fastest application server
on the market”
IndicThreads>>How does Oracle?s Application Server stand out from the other application servers currently in the market?
Debu Panda>>Oracle provides a comprehensive and integrated platform for building and deploying middleware applications. Unlike other application server platforms that are sold as a package of individual applications, Oracle Application Server is an integrated suite. Our platform provides a complete solution to build and deploy Service-Oriented Applications using Java. We provideOracle JDeveloperto build Service-Oriented Applications and Oracle Application Development Framework to make the development cycle faster. We provide Oracle TopLink, the best persistence framework on the market to build a persistence layer of J2EE applications and deploy your J2EE and Web services applications in our J2EE 1.4-compliant application server. We also provide the BPEL Process Manager that you can use to orchestrate Web services to create business processes and integrate legacy applications. Finally, Oracle Application Server is the fastest application server on the market, according to industry benchmarks like SPECjAppServer2002, SPECjAppServer2001, and ECPerf benchmarks.
IndicThreads>>Is the Oracle Application Server suitable for all businesses or just for large enterprises?
Debu Panda>>Oracle Application Sever is suitable for all types of businesses. We provide choices to all types of businesses and all kind of users, whether you are building a simple Web site using JSP or Servlet or a complex business application that requires integration with legacy applications. We have aJava Editionfor deployment of pure J2EE applications. It includes Oracle Containers for J2EE (OC4J), Oracle HTTP Server, Oracle TopLink, and Oracle JDeveloper. We have Oracle Application ServerStandard Edition Onetargeted at small-to-medium businesses with limited resources. You can find out more about components available in different editions athttp://www.oracle.com/appserver/appserver_family.html
“Oracle Application Server is
definitely the best application server
for Oracle Database”
IndicThreads>>What kind of integration does the application server offer for Oracle products as well as other third party products?
Debu Panda>>Oracle Application Server is definitely the best application server for Oracle Database. It provides facilities to leverage several Oracle Database features, such as Implicit Connection Cache and Fast Connection Failover. Also Oracle eBusiness Suite runs on Oracle Application Server.
There is some confusion in some sections of the Java community that you cannot use third-party databases and this is not true. We support databases like IBM DB2, Sybase, and Microsoft SQL Server with both our J2EE container and persistence framework, TopLink. We provide the DataDirect JDBC providers for exclusive use with Oracle Application Server. We also support several third-party JMS providers like Websphere MQ, Tibco, etc. Many ISVs have certified their applications with Oracle Application Server.
IndicThreads>>Could you tell us a little more about the Oracle Application Server?s caching capabilities?
Debu Panda>>We provide caching at all the levels. We haveOracle Application Server Web Cache that can cache static and dynamic pages and page fragments using JESI, reducing load on the application server instances. We provideOracle Application Server Java Object Cacheto manage cache of Java objects within a process, across processes, and on local disk, significantly improving server performance by managing local copies of objects that are expensive to retrieve or create. OurTopLinkpersistence framework uses caching of data in the middle?tier, reducing a myriad of unnecessary database calls.
“Use EJB only when
it makes sense and
do not overuse it.”
IndicThreads>>Are there any situations where you think users are better advised to stay away from the commercial application servers and EJBs and just stick with something simpler like Tomcat or Jetty?
Debu Panda>>Use EJB only when it makes sense and do not overuse it. For mission-critical applications, I recommend using commercial application servers like Oracle Application Server, which provides a lot of other benefits such as caching and high availability, whether you use EJB or not. OurJ2EE container (OC4J) is available stand-alone and is free for development purposes.
“Parts of our application server
are developed and tested
in the India Development Center
IndicThreads>>The Oracle India site highlights a best application server award that an Indian magazine has conferred on it. Congrats! What?s special about the Indian market? Do you have any special offerings for India?
Debu Panda>>It is heartening to see that Oracle Application Server has been awarded PCQuest Users?Choice Award two years in a row. We have been providing constant training to our partners in India. We will be delivering free seminars (Oracle Developer Days) on Service-Oriented Architecture in New Delhi, Chennai, and Hyderabad in December 2004. I will be in New Delhi and Chennai to deliver this seminar on December 13 and December 16 of this year.
It is worth mentioning here that some parts of our application server are developed and tested in the
India Development Center in Bangalore.
“The biggest threat to J2EE
is its complexity and the perception
that it is not as productive
as Microsoft .NET”
IndicThreads>>Going forward, what do you think could be the biggest hurdle in the growth of J2EE?
Debu Panda>>The biggest threat to J2EE is its complexity and the perception that it is not as productive as Microsoft .NET. The good news is that J2EE vendors like Oracle, IBM, etc. are working diligently to improve their tools offerings and provide RAD environments to make Java developers productive.
The other problem I see is the commoditization of J2EE by open source communities. Only application servers with differentiators and complete middleware along with core J2EE and backed by large companies will be able survive in the current market. So my advice is to invest wisely when choosing your application server
IndicThreads>>Here I would like our readers to note two very useful contributions by Debu. TheUnofficial EJB 3.0 (JSR-220) FAQand his articleSimplifying EJB Development with EJB 3.0. Before IndicThreads readers check out your articles, a quick word about what?s special in EJB 3.0?
Debu Panda>>The main goal for EJB 3.0 is to simplify life for developers by taking a lot of complexities out of their way. It also aims to simplify CMP entity beans and standardize a persistence model for J2EE and J2SE similar to Oracle TopLink and Hibernate.
Here are few things done in EJB 3.0 to make this simpler than the current model:
- Removed need for building the EJB interfaces and generating the deployment descriptors and provided developers the ability to generate these by specifying annotations as in JSR 175. This will free developers from:
- Creating deployment descriptors
- Building component Interfaces
- Simplified EJBs to resemble POJOs or Java Beans.
- Eliminated requirement to have component interfaces for EJBs.
- The entity beans do not require any component interfaces.
- The session beans will use a Plain Old Java Interface
- Eliminated requirement to implement unnecessary callback methods.
To learn more about EJB 3.0, read the EJB 3.0 Draft specification. My articleSimplifying EJB Development with EJB 3.0 provides an overwiew of the few features coming in EJB 3.0.
“Oracle has the
best persistence product
in the industry”
IndicThreads>>What is your opinion on the ongoing controversies surrounding JDO and EJB 3.0 persistence? Will Oracle implement JDO specification?
Debu Panda>>You may already be aware that Sun and JCP decided to define the persistence standard for both J2EE and J2SE under JSR 220. Oracle has the best persistence product (Oracle TopLink) in the industry and we are fully behind the persistence effort done under JSR 220. Mike Keith, our primary representative to the JSR 220 /EJB 3.0, is spending most of his time in defining the persistence aspect of EJB 3.0 along with other members of the Expert Group under the leadership of Linda DeMichiel. It is good to see that major JDO vendors are supporting this decision and have joined JSR 220. In my opinion, JDO is dead as a separate specification.
“JDO is dead as a
IndicThreads>>Any new technologies that you think hold a lot of promise?
Debu Panda>>In my opinion, Web services and Service-Oriented Architecture hold a lot of promise. As I said earlier, Oracle provides a complete platform to build and deploy Service-Oriented Applications
IndicThreads>>Any final words for IndicThreads readers?
IndicThreads>> Thanks Debu. It has been a pleasure talking to you. I am sure many IndicThreads readers are looking forward to your sessions in India.
Debu Panda>>Thanks for having me.
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