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InfoQ Homepage News Oracle Contributes TopLink ORM Open Source to Eclipse

Oracle Contributes TopLink ORM Open Source to Eclipse

At EclipseCon, Oracle announced it will contribute TopLink (one of the first production object persistence engines first launched in 1994), to Eclipse as an open source project. Additionally, Oracle will become an Eclipse Board Member and Strategic Developer (meaning that Oracle is committing real money and resources to develop Eclipse projects and is considered among the stewards of Eclipse).  

Oracle is proposing that TopLink become the The Eclipse Persistence Platform (tentatively named EclipseLink). Going forward, all production features of TopLink will be available in EclipseLink and Oracle's commercially supported TopLink will only contain an additional thin proprietary integration code layer necessary for some Oracle AppServer and SOA Suite features.

According to the FAQ, the Eclipse Persistence Platform will have the following features:
  • EclipseLink-ORM will support Java Persistence API (JPA) as well as having extended persistence capabilities configured through custom annotations and XML. These extended persistence features include powerful caching (including clustered support), usage of advanced database specific capabilities, and many performance tuning and management options.
  • EclipseLink-OXM will provide an extensible Object-XML Mapping (OXM) framework with support for the Java API for XML Binding (JAXB).
  • EclipseLink -SDO will provide a Service Data Object (SDO) implementation as well as the ability to represent any Java object as an SDO and leverage all of its XML binding and change tracking capabilities.
  • EclipseLink -DAS will provide an SDO Data Access Service (DAS) that brings together SDO and JPA.
  • EclipseLink -DBWS will provide a web services capability for developers to easily expose their underlying RDBMS (stored procedures, packages, tables, and ad-hoc SQL) as web services.
  • EclipseLink -XR will deliver infrastructure for situations where XML is required from a relational database. Using this approach to XML-Relational access enables greater transformation optimizations as well as the ability to leverage the Eclipse Persistence Platform’s shared caching functionality.
  • EclipseLink -EIS provides support for mapping Java POJOs onto nonrelational data stores using the Java Connector Architecture (JCA) API.
Oracle also intends to make TopLink work well within an OSGi environment. Oracle's Ralf Dossmann told InfoQ:
We will be working with the OSGi expert group to help the OSGi framework infrastructure meet the requirements of standardized persistence. This is not expected to require any formal standardization beyond the creation of a set of documented and proven patterns and design strategies that describe and recommend how such integration may occur.
Oracle does not have any plans to also port JDeveloper. According to Ralf Dossmann:
Oracle has no current plans to port JDeveloper to the Eclipse platform. JDeveloper will remain strategic for Oracle, it provides a comprehensive standards-based environment for Java EE, Spring apps and SOA development. It is available free of charge. So why Eclipse? Oracle has over 250,000 customers, many use JDeveloper and many other Oracle Fusion Middleware and database customers use Eclipse. We want to provide the best possible user (meaning developer) experience for Eclipse users when developing apps for the Oracle platform. The best way to do that is to actively engage in relevant open source projects and to contribute.
Oracle will continue to participate in the GlassFish community as the lead for the TopLink Essentials project. Ralf Dossman added that "Oracle is already leading 3 Eclipse projects (Dali JPA, JSF tooling, BPEL tooling), based on today's annoucement we are proposing a forth one. In other words, engaging in Eclipse is not new to Oracle at all, in fact Oracle has supported Eclipse from the beginning."

TopLink is the last major production persistence engine to go open source. BEA's Kodo engine is also being built off of their contribution of Kodo to the Apache OpenJPA project.  Hibernate now has two open source competitors, each with signficant install bases and years of commercial investment.  

TopLink architect  & EJB 3 co-spec lead Mike Keith, as well as Hibernate's Gavin King and OpenJPA lead Patrick Linksey (from BEA) will be speaking at QCon next week.

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