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The Eclipse SOA Platform

· Java Zone

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The Eclipse Foundation already has several major SOA projects including the Swordfish runtime framework and the SOA Tools Platform (STP).  Recently, they announced a new SOA initiative and the creation of an SOA Industry Working Group.  The working group's goal will be to define a common SOA platform based on Eclipse's OSGi framework, Equinox.  The first release of the Eclipse SOA Platform is currently available and an updated version will be released in June 2010 along with Eclipse 3.6 (Helios).

The Swordfish runtime framework also runs on Equinox and is part of the EclipseRT project.  Using OSGi and SOA together is not a new idea.  The merging of OSGi and SOA is also done by WSO2's Carbon platform.   

This strategy works effectively for componentizing functionality in the SOA such as the ESB or the web services application server.  This allows SOA architects to gain the same benefits that the EclipseRT gives to general application development.  An OSGi-based SOA lets you pick and choose the components and features you want.  This trims the fat that's usually involved when you are forced to use the entire stack when you don't need it all. The OSGi strategy prevents the heavy-weight, centralized ESB-as-SOA platforms we've seen in the past.

The new Eclipse SOA Initiative will define an Equinox-based SOA platform that includes both tools and runtime components while projects like STP focuses on just tools and Swordfish focuses on providing a runtime platform.  Swordfish is an SOA framework with a pluggable architecture for supporting open source components like service registry, messaging systems, a processing engine, and more.  This architecture lets users build a leaner, meaner ESB with components like Apache ServiceMix and CXF.  The project also aims to deliver high-quality plugins for SOA systems.

The SOA Tools Platform is a general project for building frameworks and tools for SOA.  It leverages the Service Component Architecture (SCA) as the platform's model.  It is analogous to other Eclipse tool projects like the Web Tools Platform and the Data Tools Platform.

The SOA initiative's working group includes Engineering Group, items, Obeo, and Sopera.  Another main focus of the project is to provide enhanced interoperability between various vendors' SOA technologies.  The platform must also address future SOA customer requirements.  It will focus on the following key technology areas:

  • REST and SOAP support for OSGi remote services.
  • An extensible SOA framework based on open standards that provides enterprise-grade features such as the integration of a runtime service registry and policy-based endpoint negotiation and message processing.
  • A new extended Business Activity Monitoring (eBAM) project that will provide a platform to monitor the performance and manage analysis of external systems.
  • A new Eclipse Business Process Management (eBPM) project will provide a complete BPM solution (tools and runtime) based on Equinox and OSGi.
  • Tool support to help developers create, test and deploy JAX-WS web services easily.

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