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JEE SDK – Loathe It or Ignore It, You Can’t Like It

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JEE SDK – Loathe It or Ignore It, You Can’t Like It

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It’s only me who think JEE 6 SDK is complete mess? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying JEE 6 is mess. It’s SDK which brings accidental complexity, the hard way. It failed my five minutes usability test, and it continues to fail still, after few months.

The problem with SDK

It’s not SDK actually; it’s just Glassfish bundled with some documentation, examples and random APIs. That’s it. Here’s what You get with JEE bundle:


Ascetic, isn’t it? Expected some standard stuff like lib or, better, dist directories? Some jars or APIs? Or some form of readme, or docs? It’s SDK, the Software Development Kit, right? It should have all that usual stuff somewhere. Well, sort of. If You’re stubborn enough and lookup Glassfish directory, even though don’t expect too much.  This is “enterprise” stuff,  it can’t be just as simple as picking some jars and start working with it ;) . So where are all expected JEE APIs?  I’m not quite sure, except some mere suspicion. After quick bashing it turned out that $SDK_HOME/glassfish/modules contains most interesting bits. Most… except, believe me or not, JMS and JTA APIs. Surprised? Most probably. SDK comes without core stuff like: JMS and JTA APIs. Or again, maybe it’s just me who failed? Would love someone point out I’m wrong. I know, I know: I can find all this stuff here. But isn’t it SDK supposed to come with?

Even though $SDK_HOME/glassfish/modules contains something… it’s Glassfish runtime, and I have no confidence what all those jars actually are. Are they official APIs, or maybe OSGI bundles, or is this Glassfish specific stuff, RIs, or something else? I’m not sure, neither my google is. Anyhow I don’t think server runtime is the best place to throw APIs in. Thanks God SpringSource guys didn’t mix Spring Framework with Tomcat distribution.

How it should look like, then?

Enough ranting. How to fix it? Take some time and take a look how does competition work. Just create simple, lightweight SDK (“lightweight” is the main theme behind JEE 6 after all, isn’t it?). Just bundle APIs, documentation and samples (and keep separate Glassfish bundle, of course). That’s it. JEE is supposed to be portable and universal; not everyone is interested in full Glassfish distribution. Make it simple for beginners and give a chance the JEE SDK passes 5 minute usability test. That’s all.

Hope “Do more with less work” would work better next time… or it’s only me? Should I RTFM? Anyone care to comment?

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