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InfoQ Homepage News With Johnson Leaving VMware, What are the Priorities for the Spring Framework?

With Johnson Leaving VMware, What are the Priorities for the Spring Framework?

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Rod Johnson, the original creator of the Spring Framework, has announced that he will be leaving SpringSource and VMware to "pursue other interests". Since VMware's acquisition of Spring, they have lost a number of key people from the Spring team, including Peter Cooper-Ellis, Mark Brewer, and Shaun Connolly, as well as their own Karl Rumelhart, who helped broker the deal. They believe however that Spring remains in good hands. Christian Dupuis is head of R&D, and Mark Pollack, Mark Fisher and Juergen Hoeller remain in technical lead roles, as they have been for a number of years. Hoeller told InfoQ

The key priority for the Spring team remains the same: to build pragmatic open source technology for enterprise Java developers, focusing on today's architectural challenges rather than yesterday's. Currently, this includes challenges in Big Data, NoSQL, HTML5 and mobile clients, social networking, etc which we're tackling in Spring sister projects such as Spring Data, Spring Mobile and Spring Social.

In Spring Framework itself, we're investing into asynchronous processing options in the Spring programming model, and we're preparing the framework for the language features to come in Java 8 next year. And of course, cloud computing keeps playing a central role, with Spring being a perfect fit for Platform-as-a-Service arrangements such as Google App Engine, Amazon Elastic Beanstalk and Cloud Foundry.

Within our VMware umbrella, the general priorities have a strong alignment with strategic investments in cloud computing and Big Data, but haven't changed much for the Spring programming model itself.

The Spring team keeps a close relationship with the Spring community, with the prioritized features in each release being driven by user feedback and the release schedule dynamically adapting to demand. Personally, I find it great to see that our recent Spring Data initiative - providing innovative data access for JPA as well as Redis, Mongo, Neo4j, Hadoop, GemFire etc - has strong community backing as well.

Johnson originally released the Spring application framework with the publication of his book "Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development" in October 2002. In 2005 he founded the SpringSource company, serving as its CEO until it was acquired by VMware in 2009. Johnson went on to become a Senior Vice President at VMware, a position he is now relinquishing, but he does expect to continue to have some involvement with Spring. "I can't see myself ever completely disengaging from Spring," Johnson told InfoQ. "I still care about the technology and a lot of the developers are good friends, so I expect I'll have some involvement from time to time."

Johnson remains chairman at Neo Technology, the company behind Neo4J, and has been moving towards investor/board roles for the last year or so. Without revealing details, he told InfoQ that he will be taking up another two board positions, which will be announced in the next few weeks. He is also enjoying being able to spend some time coding again, and is considering spending some time learning Scala.

I've also just started writing code on a hobby project. It's not infrastructure or anything I'll publish. But it's fun spending a serious amount of time coding again! It's probably 2 years since I had a real coding binge (and that was rare in the later years of SpringSource/VMware). I'm enjoying having time to look at different things. I may end up porting the project to Scala. It's too long since I've learnt a new language.

Steven Harris, SVP of Products at Java PaaS vendor CloudBees, ran the Java server business and Java EE JCP involvement at Oracle for over 10 years. He said,

Rod's impact on Java goes far beyond the Spring framework itself. The simplifications and mindset of the framework itself gave a well-deserved kick in the ass to Java EE that has driven important platform improvements. Its success as a liberally licensed open source project has also helped feed and inspire a lot of Java community involvement and competitiveness.

We wish Rod every success in the future, and will be very interested to see what he does next. 

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