Make or break time?

Spring Framework 4.0 to embrace “emerging enterprise themes”

2012 was unquestionably a tumultuous year for Spring. With SpringSource founder Rod Johnson departing in July (later joining the Typesafe Board of Directors), some believed that Spring’s time as a disruptive enterprise Java force was over.

Fears that Spring would be left behind have been allayed slightly with the announcement that the next iteration, Spring Framework 4.0 would focus on “emerging enterprise themes in 2013 and beyond.”

In a blog post, Spring Framework co-founder Juergen Hoeller said that December’s 3.2 release was “a natural conclusion of the 3.x line” with work on Java-based configuration and REST features next tosupport for Java SE 7 and Servlet 3.0 all but complete.

Instead the attention turns towards providing “first class support for Java SE 8 based Spring applications”, incorporating the array of features targeted for September’s Java 8 release. This includes lambda expressions and the new Date and Time API amongst others. Hoeller adds that the Spring Framework team will be “tracking OpenJDK 8’s schedule closely” and hope to deliver a first milestone by April.

Groovy, the JVM language also backed by VMware, won’t be left out of the equation either, with Hoeller adding that “configuring and implementing Spring-style applications using Groovy 2.0” is on the roadmap. Spring’s intrinsic relationship with Java EE is also set to continue, promising to support key Java EE 7 technologies such as JMS 2.0 and JPA 2.1.

With Websocket-based architectures gaining ground in the enterprise world with developers, it’s a no brainer to see Spring want to follow Java EE 7’s lead, targeting “support for JSR-356 compliant runtimes and related technologies.”

Further technical details will follow in the run-up to April’s first milestone, with 4.0 set to go GA by the end of the year.

It’s make or break time for Spring. It’s an ambitious roadmap and one that quells fears over Spring’s inability to embrace the new guard. But isn’t this the minimum requirement to keep up to date with the enterprise world, and stay relevant? The team might be biting off more than they can chew to get it all ship-shape in 12 months as well. We shall see.

Chris Mayer

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