New Eclipse IDE Eases Open Source SOA

Open source platforms offer flexibility and faster time to production if your team is adept at hand coding and working with command lines. LogicBlaze, sponsors of an open source SOA distribution, released an Eclipse-based development environment last week that is designed to do some of the heavy lifting for you.

LogicBlaze was founded in 2004 by members of the Apache ActiveMQ project, which is a messaging platform that is compliant with the JMS 1.1 specification. In 2004, LogicBlaze released an open source Enterprise Service Bus called Apache ServiceMix.

The FUSE SOA platform includes what LogicBlaze says are best-of-breed Apache components: the ESB, a messaging platform, persistence database, service registry, management console and a BPEL orchestration engine. All of the technologies are from the Apache Software Foundation and available under the Apache 2.0 license. Like many commercial SOA suites, the technologies are packaged, tested, pre-validated for interoperability, and downloadable—in this case, as an open source distribution--with a single installer, and at runtime, a single point of control.

The FUSE 1.0 platform was released in March 2006. FUSE 1.2 became available in July, a key part of the update is the introduction of the FUSE IDE.

“The problem that we are solving is that the runtime environment for SOA requires a great number of components--engines for orchestration, transformation, the fundamental runtime fabric itself, registries, directories,” says Rich Petersen, vice president of marketing, LogicBlaze. “Many of these services are running out over the Internet through a Web server of some sort and, of course, on the backend there is the management, tooling and monitoring.

“We’ve actually done something very unique with service face of the ESB in that we’ve developed it based on the Java Business Integration specification,” he says. The specification is JSR 208, commonly referred to as JBI, which is used to extend J2EE and J2SE with business integration plug-ins. “JBI is a powerful new concept in SOA because it really enables a standards-based approach for the internal APIs of an integration fabric,” says Petersen.  

Earlier generation business integration solutions typically offered standards support for external connectivity but internally, “when you made a decision to go with one vendor you were relatively locked into that vendor’s component for everything,” he says.

The new FUSE Development Environment, announced last week at EclipseWorld, is based on the Eclipse Web Tools Platform. It offers an Eclipse-based graphical user interface for the FUSE platform and other toolsets to help users configure, integrate, debug, and manage SOA components using standard interfaces such as JBI. Users will be able to model and implement BPEL business process orchestration using an Apache Ode engine. That functionality is expected in the Enterprise Edition, available in October.

What differentiates this Eclipse IDE from other platforms is its tight integration with the Apache Maven project object model, asserts Rob Davies, vice president of product development at LogicBlaze. “It allows you to spec out internal orchestration flow, and automatically do code generation around definitions that you have defined inside the FUSE IDE,” he explains. “But because of the integration with Maven, you can also download any dependencies that you have. For example, you might do a component for a Java mail plug in. Using Maven, you can download all the dependencies for the Java mail plug-in automatically. It makes development extremely easy and it takes away the need for the developer to go and find all the bits and pieces for a project.”

The FUSE IDE includes Eclipse, the Eclipse Web Tools Platform, plug-ins and all necessary code for the FUSE SOA platform. A Standard Edition is available free for download. The Enterprise Edition, which will offer additional functionality, is expected this fall.

The company’s business model is based on providing services and support for its open source distributions--it does not offer commercial products. A subscription-based framework for developers, the Community-oriented Real-time Engineering Network, provides support for the LogicBlaze FUSE platform.

The company is privately funded and a lot of the operational infrastructure is provided by Simula Labs, which was founded by Winston Damarillo. Damarillo had previously led Gluecode Software, developers of the Apache Geronimo Application Server. Gluecode was acquired by IBM in 2005. LogicBlaze has a relationship with IBM, and provides the FUSE SOA platform on the WebSphere Application Server Community Edition, which is based entirely on the Geronimo code base, according to Petersen. 

About the Author

Kathleen Richards ([email protected]) is the editor of and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.