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How You Helped Shape Java EE 7...

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How You Helped Shape Java EE 7...

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I have been working with the JCP in various roles since EJB 3/Java EE 5 (much of it on my own time), eventually culminating in my decision to accept my current role at Oracle (despite it's inevitable set of unique challenges, a role I find by and large positive and fulfilling). During these years, it has always been clear to me that pretty much everyone in the JCP genuinely cares about openness, feedback and developer participation. Perhaps the most visible sign to date of this high regard for grassroots level input is a survey on Java EE 7 gathered a few months ago. The survey was designed to get open feedback on a number of critical issues central to the Java EE 7 umbrella specification including what APIs to include in the standard. When we started the survey, I don't think anyone was certain what the level of participation from developers would really be. I also think everyone was pleasantly surprised that a large number of developers (around 1100) took the time out to vote on these very important issues that could impact their own professional life. And it wasn't just a matter of the quantity of responses. I was particularly impressed with the quality of the comments made through the survey (some of which I'll try to do justice to below).

With Java EE 7 under our belt and the horizons for Java EE 8 emerging, this is a good time to thank everyone that took the survey once again for their thoughts and let you know what the impact of your voice actually was. As an aside, you may be happy to know that we are working hard behind the scenes to try to put together a similar survey to help kick off the agenda for Java EE 8 (although this is by no means certain). I'll break things down by the questions asked in the survey, the responses and the resulting change in the specification.

APIs to Add to Java EE 7 Full/Web Profile

The first question in the survey asked which of four new candidate APIs (WebSocket, JSON-P, JBatch and JCache) should be added to the Java EE 7 Full and Web profile respectively.

Developers by and large wanted all the new APIs added to the full platform. The comments expressed particularly strong support for WebSocket and JCache. Others expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of a JSON binding (as opposed to JSON processing) API.

WebSocket, JSON-P and JBatch are now part of Java EE 7. In addition, the long-awaited Java EE Concurrency Utilities API was also included in the Full Profile. Unfortunately, JCache was not finalized in time for Java EE 7 and the decision was made not to hold up the Java EE release any longer. JCache continues to move forward strongly and will very likely be included in Java EE 8 (it will be available much sooner than Java EE 8 to boot). An emergent standard for JSON-B is also a strong possibility for Java EE 8.

When it came to the Web Profile, developers were supportive of adding WebSocket and JSON-P, but not JBatch and JCache. Both WebSocket and JSON-P are now part of the Web Profile, now also including the already popular JAX-RS API.

Enabling CDI by Default

The second question asked whether CDI should be enabled in Java EE by default.

The overwhelming majority of developers supported the default enablement of CDI. In addition, developers expressed a desire for better CDI/Java EE alignment (with regards to EJB and JSF in particular). Some developers expressed legitimate concerns over the performance implications of enabling CDI globally as well as the potential conflict with other JSR 330 implementations like Spring and Guice.

CDI is enabled by default in Java EE 7. Respecting the legitimate concerns, CDI 1.1 was very careful to add additional controls around component scanning. While a lot of work was done in Java EE 6 and Java EE 7 around CDI alignment, further alignment is under serious consideration for Java EE 8.

Consistent Usage of @Inject

The third question was around using CDI/JSR 330 @Inject consistently vs. allowing JSRs to create their own injection annotations (e.g. @BatchContext).

A majority of developers wanted consistent usage of @Inject. The comments again reflected a strong desire for CDI/Java EE alignment.

A lot of emphasis in Java EE 7 was put into using @Inject consistently. For example, the JBatch specification is focused on using @Inject wherever possible. JAX-RS remains an exception with it's existing custom injection annotations. However, the JAX-RS specification leads understand the importance of eventual convergence, hopefully in Java EE 8.

Expanding the Use of @Stereotype

The fourth question was about expanding CDI @Stereotype to cover annotations across Java EE beyond just CDI.

A solid majority of developers supported the idea of making @Stereotype more universal in Java EE. The comments maintained the general theme of strong support for CDI/Java EE alignment

Unfortunately, there was not enough time and resources in Java EE 7 to implement this fairly pervasive feature. However, it remains a serious consideration for Java EE 8.

Expanding Interceptor Use

The final set of questions was about expanding interceptors further across Java EE.

Developers strongly supported the concept. Along with injection, interceptors are now supported across all Java EE 7 components including Servlets, Filters, Listeners, JAX-WS endpoints, JAX-RS resources, WebSocket endpoints and so on.

I hope you are encouraged by how your input to the survey helped shape Java EE 7 and continues to shape Java EE 8. Participating in these sorts of surveys is of course just one way of contributing to Java EE. Another great way to stay involved is the Adopt-A-JSR Program. A large number of developers are already participating through their local JUGs. You could of course become a Java EE JSR expert group member or observer. You should stay tuned to The Aquarium for the progress of Java EE 8 JSRs if that's something you want to look into...

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