Java EE 5, still too complex

June 12, 2006

The Java EE 5 architecture, with its use of annotations brings the Java world close to being agile. The architecture is absolutely fantastic and powerful, with superb messaging (JMS), persistence (EJB3), transactions (JTA), and integration (JCA) capabilities.

However, on the presentation side, for the web world, Java is still behind both .NET and agile frameworks like Rails or Django. JSF is cumbersome, and still too attached to the systems-programming intensive request-response Model2 that ended up in JSPs and Struts. Wicket and Tapestry are possibly the top component-based development web frameworks for Java. But they are both only used by a relatively small community, and documentation, mostly in the case of Wicket, is deficient, especially when it comes to topics such as integration with persistence frameworks.

In terms of setting a complete development environment, it is painful. Setting up Netbeans/Eclipse, JBoss/Geronimo/Glassfish, Wicket, and EJB3 to play nicely with each other is not easy, and it has lots of rough edges. It takes too long to setup an environment and start coding.

That myriad of frameworks and standards is what makes Java EE so powerful, yet so cumbersome. I was hoping annotations could have solved most of the integration complexity, but I am disappointed. So, sadly, my hopes for a "new Java" are yet once again down. Java EE still gets on your way to being productive.

I am back to Rails for the time being, at least until Java EE 5 matures.

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