JavaRelease Roundup, Jan. '10: New Year, New Gear for Java/Open Source Developers

Release Roundup, Jan. ’10: New Year, New Gear for Java/Open Source Developers content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

In a month when devices like Google’s Nexus One and Apple’s iPad grabbed the headlines and tweet buzz, Java and open source developers got a number of releases to add to their toolboxes as well—and they didn’t have wait in lines or count down the hours until their gadgets hit the shelves. They needed only point their browsers to the proper URLs to access all the goodies made available during January 2010. Let’s take a look back at the month that was in code releases.

SpringSource and Google Kick Off 2010, 1.0 Style

Even before the clock struck midnight on January 1, Google and SpringSource had delivered new tools for the new year. On New Year’s Eve, SpringSource announced general availability of Spring Roo 1.0.0, a RAD tool for enterprise Java developers built on the convention-over-configuration paradigm. One day later, Google’s extension of the Java Collections Framework, Google Collections Library 1.0, dropped. The library contains a set of new collection types and implementations for Java 5 and higher. Both Spring Roo and the Google Collections Library are open source.

SpringSource wasn’t finished there. On January 12, the company donated its OSGi-compliant dm Server to the Eclipse Foundation, where it will become the core of the Virgo project. The move, which SpringSource hopes will spur the adoption of modular OSGi programming in enterprise Java, has also raised questions about the mainstream appeal of an open source OSGi application server.

Sun’s Final Java Release Before Oracle Deal Closed

The January 14 release of Java SE 6 Update 18 (6u18) was Sun’s final build before Oracle took the reins later in the month. The 6u18 release boasts performance improvements for Java and JavaFX applications thorough the Java SE team’s optimizations to the HotSpot JVM.

January was also the month when two Sun leaders, Jonathan Schwartz and Scott McNealy bid farewell to those remaining with the company, while “Father of Java” James Gosling paid his respects to Sun with this mournful image. How Sun’s rank-and-file will fair in the months to come, only Larry knows.

Two Test Tools for Web Apps

On January 20, users of the open source Selenium web app testing system got a commercial tool designed specifically for their tests, Sauce IDE from Sauce Labs. A beefed-up, commercially-supported version of the freely available Selenium IDE, Sauce IDE provides access to the Sauce OnDemand cloud-hosted Selenium service, where you can run your recorded Selenium tests on multiple browsers and operating systems—and even view or download a videos of your tests.

For developers who need to test and get a look under the covers of WADL-based REST services, Adjoovo released a free tool on January 12 called Adjoovo Trestle. Adjoovo’s Trestle offers the REST-testing features of its Spaces metadata registry product, but with a simplified web UI. Developers can upload their WADL files and explore the resources they describe in a tree view, as well as check the operation of each resource and view the data being transmitted.

Enterprise Java: Cloud, Messaging, Persistence, and Scale

On the same day that Terracotta released version 3.2 of its clustering platform (January 12), it also announced the availability of Quartz EX, the enterprise edition of the open source Quartz Java job scheduler. With Terracotta having acquired Quartz not long before this release, the company of course offers tight Quartz integration with Terracotta.

If your Java applications use the JDO/JPA persistence APIs, the January 13 release of DataNucleus AccessPlatform 2.0.0 should have gotten your attention. AccessPlatform provides APIs that allow data persistence and retrieval to a range of datastores (RDBMS, Amazon S3, HADOOP, and Google AppEngine BigTable, just to name a few) for JDO- or JPA-based applications.

January 13 also brought the release of HornetQ 2.0.0, the latest version of the Red Hat Middleware (JBoss)-led (but not supported) open source project, which has the stated goal of building a “multi-protocol, embeddable, ultra high performance, clustered, asynchronous messaging system.” You can use HornetQ, an example of message-oriented middleware, as the messaging solution for any scale of Java (5 or later) application.

For much of 2009, not a day—much less a month—went by without some cloud-related announcement, and January 2010 continued the trend. On January 20, Java and Python developers got an easier way to tap VMware cloud services. VMware released open-source SDKs for the VMware vCloud API for both Java and Python.

The Client Side

January 19 was a big day for the Apache Pivot project. Not only did it achieve Apache Top-Level Project status, but it also released Version 1.4. Apache Pivot is a rich Internet application (RIA) platform written completely in Java, enabling developers to build Java and XML-based GUI applications that can run either as an applets on web clients or as standalone apps on desktop clients.

If you’re looking for an Ajax framework that’s a little more mature, try ZK 5.0 (released on January 25). An open-source framework, ZK uses an event-driven model to allow develoeprs to develop of RIAs using pure Java. Version 5 introduces an architecture with the ability to load client-side JavaScript packages from distributed servers.

These are just some of the notable releases to come out in January. If I omitted any that you think readers would benefit from, share them in the comments. If you’ve had a chance to try out any of the ones listed here, tell us about your experiences too.

Until next month…

Glen Kunene is a senior managing editor covering Java and open source technologies for‘s Developer Channel.

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