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There's more to JBoss Seam than it seems

At JavaOne, Pierre Fricke, director of product management for JBoss Inc., could not talk about the pending merger with Red Hat Inc. because of the quiet period before the deal closes at the end of this month. But he could talk about the first release of JBoss Seam, the Web-application framework that supports the new Java EE5. And he could talk about Seam's possible future with Ajax and the JBoss announcement that it is joining the NetBeans community.

Can you give us an overview of Seam and what exactly is it, is it a lightweight Web development framework?
No, it's more than that. Seam is a Web application framework but it's more than that. It's the next level of simplifying EE5. In EE5, you've still got to do a lot of code to bridge the EJB3 model over to the Java Server Faces model. And you don't have a meta construct for workflow. So, you still have a lot of disparate programming models to deal with to do full applications. What our crew has done is basically brought together in a more integrated fashion EJB3 and Java Server Faces. Then they've incorporated jBPEL [Java Business Process Execution Language], which is our Java environment to go with workflow, as opposed to BPEL, which is an XML Web services environment. But what would make sense in a Java environment would be, of course, jBPEL, not BPEL. So, you can do page flow and basically you can do process type automation within this programming framework. How does Seam compare to Spring?
People talk about Spring being sort of the thing that's been hot in this area. Spring is a simplified, lightweight model and we certainly are lightweight and we can be quite simple, but they stopped at a kind of like stateless type of application. Whereas we do stateless applications, we do stateful applications, we do transactional applications and we do workflow applications. We actually build a much broader set of the mainstream type of applications and we go much further than Spring does and the architecture is much different to handle those types of scenarios. So I would say while we certainly have all the characteristics of a lightweight Web application framework and are as simple to program in as that, we take that model a lot farther. What are you doing in Seam with Ajax?
You can do a lot of interactive apps with Seam now and we've still got some work to do to figure out how much Ajax adds value to what we've already done. We haven't done that work yet. So, with Ajax it might just be a matter of being standards compliant or model compliant. But I don't think we're really ready to get into an Ajax discussion yet with Seam. It's just shipping now and it adds a lot of value for interactive applications already. And so now, you have to take a look at Ajax and see what kind of value it may add or may not add and then it's just a matter of figuring out how we go beyond that. We're certainly not going to be left out if it makes sense. But we think the Seam programming model goes a long way in what really is the intent of Web 2.0, these more robust, transactional, stateful, interactive applications. Do you have a definition you like for Web 2.0?
No. I think it's just a terminology to describe this new, more interactive world, you know, improvements to the Web environment. That's a one-liner and I'll leave it at that.

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At JavaOne, JBoss announced that you're joining the Netbeans open source community. What made you guys pick NetBeans over Eclipse?
We didn't pick Netbeans over Eclipse. We've added NetBeans to our community and our community to the NetBeans community. So, it's an additive thing, not an either/or. I want to emphasize that Eclipse is a very strategic play for us. The JBoss IDE is based on Eclipse, the rules contributions for the IDE are all Eclipse plug-ins. So, Eclipse is still very important. That being said, NetBeans is also an important community. It's got neat technology in there, particularly as it revolves around some of the Web services stuff. We're an open community and we welcome all comers and the more development tools the better. So, I believe that it's a matter of choice and the fact that we can bring the JBoss ecosystem and open it, have that available to Eclipse or NetBeans developers, that's great news. It's a win, win deal

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