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More on Granite Data Service's with Project Founder Franck Wolff

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Earlier this year, InfoQ discussed Granite Data Services (GDS) with project founder Franck Wolff. In this post, we follow-up with Wolff to learn more about the recent 1.1 release of GDS.

Wolff started by updating InfoQ on what's new in the latest release:

GDS 1.1 was released on October, 6 with three main new features:
  1. Tide: This module is intended to be a full alternative for the Cairngorm + Flex Data Management Service stack. On the Flex side, we have found Cairngorm to be a good Flex development framework but somewhat tedious to follow (numerous files required for rather simple operations). On the Java side, Flex Data Management is only available in LiveCycle Data Services, and some features required for us aren't implemented at all or not the way we expect them: standard J2EE frameworks integration (such as JBoss/Seam, Spring or plain EJB3), client-side entity caching, collection paging, and transparent lazy loading. Tide addresses all those requirements and targets for now the JBoss/Seam framework (Spring and plain EJB3 will come soon).
  2. Granite Eclipse Builder: This new Eclipse builder plug-in automatically runs Gas3 (the GDS ActionScript3 generator) each time you have created or modified a Java bean (likely an entity bean). When configured for your Java project via its graphical wizard or options panel, it replicates on the fly your entire Java model to its ActionScript3 mirror. Generated beans implement all required logic for strong typing externalization, lazy-loading support, and Tide integration.
  3. MXML/AS3 Web Compiler: It has the same features offered by its Adobe equivalent (on-the-fly compilation of MXML files deployed in your war), but also brings the ability to compile code from any input stream (from a simple String or a database for example). This has been contributed by Sébastien Deleuze (author of the Igenko project ) and you may test it online here.

InfoQ asked about the state of the GDS documentation:

This is still a work in progress but we have added a new "Getting Started" section with detailed tutorials for people starting with GDS developments. The reference documentation still needs some improvements, but should be updated very soon.

InfoQ followed-up on the previous interview with Wolff, asking if his previous BlazeDS and GDS comparison still held true. BlazeDS was open sourced late last year by Adobe.

I had a quick look to BlazeDS code and played with it a few times... It is a great techno, but as far as I know, it still doesn't feature some important enterprise functionalities such as full EJB3/Hibernate support (lazy loading), code generation tools, and tight integration with the JBoss/Seam and Flex Data Management Service equivalent. All those features are available in GDS 1.1, and I would again say that GDS competes more with LCDS (that still doesn't have lazy loading features) rather than with BlazeDS.

Next, InfoQ asked about the long-term roadmap for GDS:

One of the most important feature in GDS roadmap is to offer a full client-side Data Management system that integrates with (almost) all J2EE framework solutions. This is the very purpose of Tide and, as I said before, besides its current JBoss/Seam support, we will make it available for Spring and plain EJB3 technologies. Furthermore, we are looking carefully to the emerging Web Beans specification (see JSR-299) and, hopefully, we'll make a Tide/WebBeans integration available as soon as the first implementations are available.

Another feature we are going to provide is a way to facilitate upload and download operations in GDS. Currently, if you use the standard class with GDS, you must write a servlet to carry on upload/download operations. We are going to make this easier, at least by providing a standard dedicated servlet in GDS.

On the administration side, we are going to write a GraniteDS console that will enable runtime configuration management and services exploration (something like the AMFPhp Servcice Browser).

Other directions for the long-term are a set of Flex components for data management (such as an Entity Form that constructs a Flex form from a model metadata description, etc.) and maybe streaming.

Lastly, InfoQ asked about the GDS community:

It has been almost 1 year since the 1.0 release and I have seen a continuous growth of GDS forum members (from about 100 members to 300 by now). Download rate is now more than 100 a day, but it is hard to evaluate from this data the number of developers using GDS... Very good news for GDS is that we are seeing some major companies using GDS for production applications (unfortunately, I can't say their names by now).

GDS contributors (including myself) are about dozen, though most of them are very occasional (patches or small extensions). William Draï (my colleague at Adequate Systems) and I are of course the most active, but Cameron Ingram (see his blog here) and Sébastien Deleuze (GDS Web Compiler author) have contributed, on a regular basis, with original and significant features.

Learn more about GDS at:

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