|[ Team LiB ]|
When I joined the WebLogic founders in 1996, it was a small company with some excellent JDBC drivers and a rudimentary Java server with events, servlets, rowsets, and remoting. This book describes the culmination of the original vision: to create a distributed systems development platform in Java that would replace the existing enterprise infrastructure. Even one of our first advertising slogans now appears prophetic: "Elevating Java to the Enterprise."
Although WebLogic was acquired in 1998 by BEA Systems, the WebLogic Server engineers share a special bond with one another and with their product. This explains the extremely small attrition in the engineering organization and why the product has such continuity from release to release. With the release of WebLogic 8.1, nearly everything that can be built-in to the server is there. The focus for BEA is now on the products and platform that are built on top of this stable, scalable, and well-performing infrastructure. This book describes this infrastructure in great detail and is an excellent guide to the problems and solutions for large-scale distributed systems development using WebLogic Server.
WebLogic Server's development was most often directed by the engineers and the choices they made were often answers to the question, "How would I want it to work?" Everything from being able to download the server directly from the Web site to being able to install it and run it without a lot of tedious setup was a result of this question. Most critically, the engineers did not want to learn proprietary APIs nor maintain those APIs if it could be helped. Carefully implementing each API from Sun and combining them into a single package helped create the Java Application Server and, soon after that, the J2EE standard. Our focus at the 1998 JavaOne conference was a checklist of standard APIs that your Java server should have. This list soon became a standard unto itself along with all its advantages from a developer perspective. Whereas CORBA created a vast library of APIs, few people had built them all and integrated them into a single platform, let alone made them interoperable at the binary level. The grand vision of Java had not been implemented on the client, but on the server instead.
The real revelation that we had while working at WebLogic is that our value would come to the table in a very concrete, verifiable way. We would build our server to exacting specifications and at the same time make applications written to the other side of those standards more scalable and better performing than when they are run on another server. We would not achieve vendor lock-in through tricks and proprietary APIs, but we would instead just be better than the competition. That's a hard road to follow, but it's a very fulfilling one. Giving people the opportunity to "learn once, write everywhere" is just another way of looking at the fundamental tenet of Java.
One thing that I noticed while reviewing this book is that the authors have a deep understanding of the software development process and all the details that are sometimes overlooked. All aspects of enterprise software development are treated and then framed within WebLogic Server so that you know not only what to do, but why you're doing it. Sitting down with this book you should come away not only an expert on WebLogic software, but also a more effective enterprise software engineer.
|[ Team LiB ]|