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MicroProfile Project Adds to Java EE Pressure on Oracle

Oracle may have been neglecting Enterprise Java over the past few years, but it's sure paying attention now. The Java EE Guardians threw a spotlight on what they saw as a lack of core investments in the technology when the volunteer advocacy group went public in March, and they cranked up the intensity when they posted a petition on the change.org Web site aimed at Oracle executives. In July, Oracle seemed to be responding to the Guardians' charges in a statement about its commitment to Java EE 8, and a growing number of Oracle execs are actually talking to the press.

Now comes a new independent effort to support Enterprise Java: the MicroProfile.io project. Sponsored by Red Hat, IBM, Payara, Tomitribe and the London Java Community, the goal of the project is to create a baseline platform definition that optimizes Enterprise Java for microservices architecture.

"Enterprise Java technologies like Java EE have evolved with the industry for nearly two decades to support distributed application architectures based on RMI/IIOP, Web Services, and REST," the Web site explains. "The MicroProfile is the next step in that evolution."

Project contributor Antonio Goncalves, a Paris-based Java EE developer and architect, agrees that the MicroProfile represents another step in the evolution of Java EE, whose origins he traces to the Enterprise JavaBeans component model. "The EJB component model was a Micro component," he wrote in a blog post, "just embed the needed business code, as small as you can, package it as a unit in a single jar, link it with other components/EJBs via RMI/IIOP, and the container will look after the rest.... But since then, Java EE containers have evolved. They have been lighter, smaller, faster ... so it was time to have a MicroProfile: micro components running in a micro container."

The project is focused initially on providing a baseline for a group of specifications: JAX-RS, the Java API for RESTful Web Services, Contexts and Dependency Injection (CDI) and JSON-P (JSON "with padding"). The project's organizers are aiming to release a public version in September.

"We want to ensure, as we move forward into this new, containerized, cloud-native world, that we do it responsibly, and customers don't get left with some proprietary single vendor technology stack," said Rich Sharples, Red Hat's senior director of product management during an interview following the announcement of the project at the recent Red Hat Summit.

The project's organizers are emphasizing the need for community participation in developing the MicroProfile definition and project roadmap. "I think there's a real chance that we can bring the whole Enterprise Java community together around this," Sharples said.

Posted by John K. Waters on August 10, 2016