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WebObjects to be Open Sourced; Apple to focus on WO Runtime

by Floyd Marinescu on Aug 28, 2006 |
Apple has announced it's new strategy for Web Objects on the webobjects-dev list last week, saying that the company will be be open sourcing the Web Objects framework and focus it's own engineering resources instead on the the Web Objects runtime environment [on the Mac]. It's areas of focus will be:
  • Improving performance, manageability, and standards compliance
  • Making WO work well with ANT and the most popular IDEs, including Xcode and Eclipse
  • Opening and making public all standards and formats that WO depends upon
ThinkSecret is also reporting the Apple will be open sourcing most of WebObjects 5.4 next year and says that the new version will include use Apache WebServer instead of it's own, implement Java NIO and JMX.

Web Objects was the worlds first object oriented appserver, released by NeXT Software in 1996 (for building rich client apps on the NeXT OS), and acquired by Apple and ported to Java as a web application server in mid 2001with the capability to deploy Web Objects apps as .WAR files to any appserver and support for Servlets, JSP, and EJB in 2002.   WebObjects went free for development and deployment as of version 5.3 with other platforms no longer supported.

WebObjects was known for being years ahead of it's time with it's Enterprise Object Framework - a mature o/r mapping solution as well as it's web application and control framework (WOF) which was supposedly the inspiration behind Tapestry - the first popular component-oriented Java web framework.  Both the EOF and WOF came with WYSIWYG builder tools which were also among the first in the industry. WebObjects supports RAD development as Swing or HTML apps.  Apple uses WebObjects behind Apple Store, .Mac online services and the iTunes Music Store.  An Eclipse plugin for WO development called WO Lips has also been in development independently for some time.

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I hate it by Maurice Zeijen

We use it at work and I hate it most of the time ;). But that it goes open source is a very good thing. Then finally I will be rid of the annoying 'request limit reached' development mode thingy. But with a bit of luck we will be ported to another framework by then.

I love it by Boris Kraft

Its about time. I wonder if the release of Sope has triggered this?

WO is a brilliant piece of software. Steep learning curve, but its the only software I have ever worked with that was capable of still amazing me with its outstanding conceptional thouroughness after several years of usage. I wish the project all the luck.

betterfasterbigger

Great product by Peter Fournier

I have used WebObjects since 1998 on Windows and even today I would say it is head and shoulders above existing J2EE solutions. The EOF DB Modeling is very easy to work with and makes DB access simple and easy to use as Objects. The page building is great and you can graphically bind directly from your DB objects to objects on pages. It is a great environment. You really can put serious applications together quickly with real logic, not just a Hello World, you can quickly build real applications hitting DBs doing useful things.

My only real complaint about WO is that Apple decided to pull it back and only support development and deployment on their platform. IMO this was a tragic mistake that has seriously reduced the potential user base for the product. Hopefully when opened up it will become fully available in dev and prod on other platforms again.

My company has a very large WO production environment that handles millions of hits per day, approx. 250 million unique user sessions per day, and is very stable. We do not run Macs, are not going to run Macs and are currently in an initiative coverting from WO to J2EE I am sad to say.

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