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JBoss AS 5.0: Status June 28, 2008

Posted by Sacha in JBoss.

Ariane 5
Many have been wondering about the status of JBoss AS 5.0, so I thought I would give more visibility in what we are achieving.

First, a bit of history. In 2001, JBoss was the first application server to feature a complete micro-kernel architecture (based on JMX) – both for applications and for services. In the following years, we gathered a great amount of expertise in that field. In parallel, we did a lot of research in projects like JBoss AOP, JBoss Remoting, embedded EJB3 and decided we needed to be ready for the “next generation” AS architecture. This led to the start of “JBoss AS 5.0” three years ago. The idea was to move to a much more generic micro-kernel architecture that could suit multiple “personalities” (OSGi, JMX, pure POJO, etc.) and fully componentize (through APIs and SPIs) and aspectize our AS down to the bare minimum “Lego blocks”. Also, we wanted our new runtime to have full manageability features as a core aspect, not as an afterthought. The magnitude of these core changes came at the expenses of a reliable roadmap – hence the multiple delays in releasing JBoss AS 5.0. BTW, if you want to read more about the new architecture of JBoss AS, you should definitively read Dimitris Andreadis’s excellent interview at InfoQ.

So, was all of this just a fancy engineering exercise? No, not at all. This investment will have a drastic impact on the overall JBoss Enterprise Middleware offering, its longevity and its ability to adapt to market changes. If you take a 40’000 foot view of the AS market, you can essentially split it in three layers:

  1. The base runtime
  2. The core middleware services
  3. The programming model/API & language

In the case of JBoss, the runtime is the JVM. You can find many non-Java VMs regularly pop-up here and there, but none of them is close to approaching the level of engineering this ecosystem has put into the JVM. The JVM is pretty generic, can support multiple languages and has about 15 years of heavy engineering practice behind it. From mobile phones to Azul appliances, the JVM has shown great abilities. Would another VM come up with better features, fine, let’s move to it: now that the JDK has been made open source, we could adapt it to any other environment while keeping compatibility with the previous generation JVM.

As for the second layer, the middleware services, this is where JBoss excels. We have built rock solid, scalable and flexible middleware services (security, persistence, transactions, remoting, clustering, etc.) that can be re-used among our various platforms, they are our “Enterprise Lego Blocks”. JBoss AS 5.0 will make use of the last generation of all of these services: JBoss Messaging, JBoss TS (ex-Arjuna/HP TM), etc. Again, unfocusing from JBoss AS for a minute, these are Lego blocks that can be leveraged by *any* middleware environment, any platform: you can be a EE5 developer, a web developer using so-called “thin-frameworks” or integrating two legacy systems, this doesn’t change anything: you’ll always need to rely on security, transactions, remoting, clustering, etc. And you want those services to be the best ones. We have spent a enormous amount of work in the last years to build and strengthen those.

The last layer, the language/programming model/API, is what developers will interact with. Which one is best? EE5? Seam? Spring? Grails? Well, you’ll end up with as many opinions as developers. The rule usually being that the more fashionable these APIs are, the less they will last (i.e. boring == good). Consequently, this third layer needs to be the most flexible and rely as much as possible on the enterprises Lego blocks from the layer below. Languages and APIs are often a matter of taste; relying on secure, scalable, stable, manageable and clustered services is usually NOT a matter of taste. Our architecture has been designed from its foundation to accommodate huge agility in the programming model, at a low R&D marginal cost.

So, where does that put us? JBoss AS 5.0 is the first release which will give us the ability to cleanly separate those three layers. The JBoss Microcontainer abstracts us from the runtime environment and our core enterprise services have been completely componentized and aspectized so they can be fully leveraged from any higher level framework/API/language.

This new architecture means your investment in JBoss is a long term one. Our core architecture is not dependent on any fashionable spec or language du jour: personalities can be plugged in and out, à la carte, you don’t have to make a bet on which API is “the” API you need, and then be locked in one of the few AS implementations that implement such API – possibly relying on weaker core middleware services.

Now, while the decision to move to this next generation architecture was very strategic and will prove to be a key differentiator in the next few years, it is fair to wonder what was the impact of such a decision on the availability of an EE5-certified AS. Did we alienate many customers by being so late with an EE5-certified offering? Truth be said, not really. JBoss AS 4.2/EAP4.x already provides compatibility with the key EE5 specs (including EJB3) and this was more than enough for most of our customers, and by no means a show stopper. We do have a number of customers who are eagerly waiting for a 5.0 release and we are in close touch with them. But what is interesting is that about 80% of those customers are not waiting for an EE5-certified application server, but want to leverage specific features of our AS 5.0 architecture (mostly our JBoss Microcontainer).

Anyway, onto some more specifics now. JBoss AS5.0 RC1 just got frozen and will be released this week. This is a very important release as the release criteria were aggressive [1]. We are now working against RC2 (count 6-7 weeks – summer time) and GA should follow closely thereafter



[1]: we are now above 99.x% EE5 TCK and our AS5 testsuite has less than 1% tests failing.



1. Dimitris - June 28, 2008

I would add MicroContainer+Friends somewhere between those layers (1-2), as it provides the runtime glue for wiring up the core middleware services. Cheers.

2. Ovidiu Feodorov - June 28, 2008

What is the “delta” between the current CR and the final GA, not in term of maturity, that’ll come with testing and patching, but in term of functionality?

3. Sacha - June 29, 2008


True. Actually, the MC+Friends can be seen as an extension of layer 1 for JBoss’s runtimes. Thanks to its SPIs (and growing), it non only provides bytecode and core-API abstraction but also enterprise-services abstraction. Bottom line, if we ever wanted to have JBoss Portal running in Weblogic, we would first port JBoss Portal to the MC and then provide a set of WebLogic MC SPIs-implementations. Once these WL-specific MC SPIs are made available, any MC-based runtime could then be hosted on WL, etc.


Dimitris is best to answer. But most of the work is around polishing, reducing the testsuite errors to 0, TCK to 100%, fixing known bugs, etc. The area that needs the most attention is the new profile service and its impact on closely related services (management) as well as the open source management console. EJB3, as the king consumer of SPIs is also closely watched: its central location (in term of SPI consumption) gives it pretty much a role of global AS/EE testsuite as well.

Detailed information can be found in JIRA: http://jira.jboss.com/jira/browse/JBAS?report=com.atlassian.jira.plugin.system.project:roadmap-panel



4. Rich Sharples’ Blog » Blog Archive » JBoss AS 5.0 CR1 almost baked - June 30, 2008

[…] Sacha (JBoss’ CTO) has blogged his thoughts on AS 5 and recalls some of the history of it’s inception. Dimitris Adreadis  (the JBoss AS lead developer) was interviewed on InfoQ and talks about some of the main features and his views on the prosposed Java EE 6 profiles and OSGi. […]

5. Most Awaited JBoss 5.0 soon to come :) | Ranjan Kumar - June 30, 2008
6. Peter Bilyan - July 2, 2008

I would like to see a comparison of JBoss to Glassfish – the latter seems to be getting lots of buzz, and all my Java developers friends are talking about how much farther ahead it is than JBoss. Is there a comparison you can point to? Does Glassfish pass the TCK?

7. laststation.net » Blog Archive » Status of JBoss AS 5 - July 2, 2008

[…] I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but my gloomy prediction about next major release of JBoss Application Server might not be correct. For more information check out Sacha Labourey’s status update. […]

8. Sacha - July 2, 2008


The Glassifsh team did indeed a good job at generating buzz. However, from an product standpoint, we are clearly the best 🙂



9. Long-awaited JBoss AS 5.0 moves closer to release date | InfoWorld | News | 2008-07-02 | By Chris Kanaracus, IDG News Service - July 3, 2008

[…] AS5.0 RC1 just got frozen and will be released this week,” Labourey wrote. A second release candidate should be ready in six to seven weeks, and general availability will […]

10. JBoss plays the choice card « rand($thoughts); - July 3, 2008

[…] Geronimo, JBoss, Open Source, WebSphere | Tags: JBoss, Open Source, WebSphere |   News from Sacha (and covered by InfoWorld) that JBoss Application Server 5.0 is close to GA kicked off a debate at […]

11. JBoss AS 5.0 RC1 σε μερικες μερες! | zero.gr - July 5, 2008

[…] Red Hat δια στόματος της Sacha Labourey (υπεύθυνη του τμήματος Jboss) ανακοίνωσε την […]

12. John Clingan - July 8, 2008

Peter, GlassFish passed the Java EE 5 TCK mid-2006.

John Clingan
GlassFish Product Line Manager

13. JBoss Newsletter | July 2008 | Kaizenlog - July 21, 2008

[…] Read my blog to gain more insight into how the JBoss Microcontainer abstracts us from the runtime environment. In the end, it’s all about focusing on customer choice. RC2 will be following very soon. Read the Q&A on Jboss AS 5.0 with project lead Dimitris Andreadis to get more information on the many new features in JBoss AS 5.0. […]

14. Pedro Solorzano - July 22, 2008

Yeah Peter, it was the Reference Implementation of the Specification. It is easy to say that from a product standpoint JBoss is clearly the best, but that statement needs some kind of proof, some kind of study behind it. There is a lot of proofs that actually GlassFish is superior to JBoss, not only for the EE5 maturity, just take a look at specj. JBoss doesn’t even show up in there. GlassFish had the commercial closed source problem when it was Sun Java System AS, but now, it is open source, free for production use and enterprise class quality as it was from the beginning. Clearly it is the best shot, and I am willing to discuss about that anywhere.

Congratulations on JBoss team for finally have a RC with EE5 TCK. If it pass.

15. Red Hat Magazine | JBoss Application Server 5 CR1 available - August 15, 2008

[…] first candidate release (CR1) for JBoss Application Server 5 has been released. There is a lot of good background from Sacha Labourey and feature details from project lead Dimitris Andreadis. Now that version 5 of the new application […]

16. JBoss AS is now EE5 certified! « Sacha’s Weblog - September 18, 2008

[…] AS is now EE5 certified! September 15, 2008 Posted by Sacha in JBoss. trackback As promised a few weeks back, we just released JBoss AS 5.0CR2. Two of our main CR2 release criteria were i) full EE5 TCK […]

17. Mark Arnold - September 19, 2008

“JBoss AS 4.2/EAP4.x already provides compatibility with the key EE5 specs (including EJB3)”

Our testing of AS 4.2 indicates that it does not support the @EBJ annotation? Isn’t that part of the EJB3 spec?

18. peter - October 16, 2008


That annotation should definitely work.

19. deepak - February 27, 2009

Sun’s GlassFish has definitely hit a homerun with it’s admin console.
I am at hard to understand why JBoss does not understand the importance of good admin console and features making admin’s life easier.

I hope JOPR would do good. I tried JON/Jopr sometime back and I was bummed by the fact that it needs a database to install JON. This is a big bummer. Does any other J2EE appserver’s admin console ( WebLogic/WebSphere/GlassFish) needs a db to run admin console ?

Sacha - February 27, 2009

Hello Deepak,

We’ll have an admin console. But quite frankly, and I am probably a bit alone in that situation, but I think this is just hog wash. I mean, people need REAL PRODUCTION tools, not a cute toy to see which JDBC driver has been installed in their AS. If you are developing an application, checking whether you have a JDBC driver is probably 1 per thousands of the real work you need to do, no? I don’t get it. As a developer, I never ever cared about that at least. While JON is really good and its feature list is impressive.

As for the need for a database, if you just want to “configure” the size of your DB pool, fine. But JON is more than that and provides a pretty impressive feature set in terms of centralized monitoring. And guess what: you need to potentially store a LOT of information coming from all nodes of your deployment(s), query that information, etc. That’s why we need a DB. Now, show me a decent monitoring solution (with the ability to query the past) which doesn’t rely on a DB 🙂



20. Most Awaited JBoss 5.0 soon to come :) « Enterprise Computing and Interoperability - March 2, 2009

[…] Most Awaited JBoss 5.0 soon to come 🙂 Posted in JBoss by interopy on June 30th, 2008 Check out the following links: JBoss AS 5.0 status: http://sacha.labourey.com/2008/06/28/jboss-as-50-status/ […]

21. Red Hat Magazine | JBoss Application Server 5 CR1 available - April 2, 2009

[…] first candidate release (CR1) for JBoss Application Server 5 has been released. There is a lot of good background from Sacha Labourey and feature details from project lead Dimitris Andreadis. Now that version 5 of the new application […]

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