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Dependency Injection harmonized for Java EE 6

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Earlier this year, Google Guice and SpringSource announced that they were co-operating on a standard set of annotations to be used for dependency injection which were proposed via JSR-330. These annotations didn't line up with those proposed for JSR-299, which generated controversy that has now been resolved, with JSR-299 adopting the JSR-330 annotations and both moving forward to be part of Java EE 6.

Some of the original concerns and discussion around the conflict between the proposals included:

  • Gavin King: I think it would be a huge mistake to introduce a second set of annotations which are semantically identical to those in 299 and address the exactly the same problem
  • Bob Lee: While 299 may be fine for small scale EE applications and cute examples, its global configuration and lack of explicitness makes it unsuitable for the multi-million line applications like we have at Google. We can easily support 299-style configuration on top of Guice, but we can't do everything we do with Guice using 299. We have no reason to switch. Personally, I think you've innovated far too much in 299 and don't fully understand the implications on maintainability of users' code.
  • Alex Miller: "this treads perilously close to the territory of JSR 299", "
  • Antonio Goncalves: "I hope we are not starting a new battle like the one between Java Module (JSR 277), Modularity Support (JSR 294)"
  • Rickard Öberg disagreed with the approach: instead of having something like a generic @Inject annotation, which can mean anything and therefore nothing, we have opted to use annotations which specify the scope of the target object

JSR-330 passed its JSR review ballot, but a number of the voters emphasized the need for harmony between the two specs:

  • Sun: In this respect, we request that this JSR and JSR-299 coordinate their efforts so that they can jointly deliver a single, consistent and comprehensive dependency injection standard for the SE and EE platforms. Such coordination must take place before the Public Review of this JSR.
  • Red Hat: However, we recognize that there is some community support for this proposal, and we're therefore holding back on forming a final opinion until the Expert Group produces a public draft. If some level of alignment could be reached between this JSR and JSR-299, which does define a truly portable model for dependency injection, we would be more likely to vote to approve the JSR. Red Hat hereby commit to doing our part to help achieve this outcome.
  • Ericsson: We support the effort to standardize dependency injection for Java SE but would like to stress the importance of coordination with JSR 299 to get a consistent solution for both Java SE and EE.
  • IBM: IBM agrees with the need for a specification describing Dependency Injection for SE applications. However, the proposed injection patterns are divergent from those defined or being defined in the EE platform. The SE/EE injection programming model must be aligned into a single extensible programming model that defines a core set of functionality for SE and extends that with EE functionality. Therefore, IBM will not support either JSR 299 or 330 going to final state without that alignment.
  • Oracle: While being supportive of this JSR, Oracle is seriously concerned about both the completeness of this proposal w.r.t above, as well as the significant opportunity for divergence with JSR 299 that may lead to serious fragmentation of the platforms. Therefore, we would like to see coordination between this JSR and JSR 299 before this JSR goes to Public Review. We also believe that a revision/Maintenance Release of JSR 250 would be a suitable delivery mechanism for DI-related annotations. We hope and expect that such a coordinated effort will result in consistency across the SE and the EE platforms in provide a standard dependency injection mechanism that satisfies all the needs.

The conflict between these specifications has been resolved. JSR-330, "Dependency Injection for Java" and JSR-299 "Contexts and Dependency Injection for the Java EE platform" have been harmonized, JSR-299 will adopt the JSR-330 annotations, and both will be part of Java Enterprise Edition 6. Community reaction seems to be positive thus far (Matt Corey, Jeremy Norris, Alex Miller, Oliver Gierki, Niklas Gustavsson).

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