Oracle Releases New Java Microservices Framework

Oracle on Friday announced the first release of Project Helidon, a new collection of Java Libraries for writing microservices, and officially joined the Eclipse MicroProfile effort.

Helidon is an open source Java microservice framework designed to run on a fast Netty core. It supports MicroProfile 1.1 and provides familiar APIs, such as JAX-RS, CDI, and JSON-P/B. The company's MicroProfile implementation runs on its own Helidon Reactive WebServer.

Oracle is releasing Helidon initially to support two programming models: Helidon SE, which the company described as a "simple, functional, lightweight microframework developed in a modern reactive way;" and Helidon MP, which is the Eclipse MicroProfile implementation that provides a "development experience familiar to Java EE/Jakarta EE developers."

Dmitry Kornilov, Senior Software Development Manager at Oracle and Helidon Project lead, announced the project in a post on Medium.

"When we entered the cloud world, and microservices architecture started to become very popular for creating cloud services," he wrote, "we realized that the development experience also needed to change. It's possible to build microservices using Java EE, but it's better to have a framework designed from the ground up for building microservices. We wanted to create a lightweight set of libraries that didn't require an application server and could be used in Java SE applications. These libraries could be used separately from each other, but when used together would provide everything a developer needs to create a microservice: configuration, security, and a web server."

Although this first version of Helidon doesn't include Oracle Cloud integrations, Kornilov said they will be coming, soon. He noted that Helidon currently used by 10 internal Oracle projects. "[T]hese integrations simplify our developers' lives big time," he wrote. "We believe that will simplify your life as well if you use Oracle Cloud."

The Helidon team comprises two smaller teams, one in the U.S. and one in Prague, which is where Kornilov is based. More project details are available on GitHub.

Oracle will be on something of a publicity tour for Helidon in the coming weeks. The company is planning four Helidon-related talks for the upcoming Oracle Code One 2018, it has submitted proposals for talks for EclipseCon Europe 2018, and the company will participate in the Jakarta EE/MicroProfile Community Day at the latter event. Expect also the publication of learning materials, such as screen casts and YouTube videos, in the near future.

"We will continue working on implementing new versions of MicroProfile and intend to support relevant Jakarta EE standards in this area as they are defined," Kornilov concluded.

The Eclipse MicroProfile community is focused on creating a baseline platform definition that optimizes enterprise Java for microservices architecture. The Eclipse Foundation welcomed Oracle to that community in a blog post that first acknowledged the company's long history with enterprise Java and its relatively recent contribution of Java EE technologies to the Eclipse Foundation. The resulting top-level project, known as Eclipse Enterprise for Java (EE4J), is the umbrella under which Jakarta EE is developed and maintained.

"Eclipse MicroProfile and EE4J both promote Enterprise Java in the areas of microservices, server-side, and cloud-native applications," the post stated. "The Java EE community has focused on standards, while MicroProfile has focused on rapid collaborative innovation. Both want to facilitate user choice through multiple implementations and to be agile and more responsive to developers. There are various ways these goals can align as both open source projects move forward.

"There is a lot of synergy between Eclipse MicroProfile and EE4J and customers will continue to benefit from their respective development. Currently, Oracle and EE4J member organizations are busy setting up the EE4J Eclipse project to insure its continued success, which will, in turn, help drive the alignment of EE4J and MicroProfile. We welcome Oracle to our MicroProfile community and look forward to working with them."

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].