Feb 01

While browsing the sessions of this year’s JAX conference I stumbled on the Eclipse Riena project.
The project page says:

“The Riena platform will be the foundation for building multi-tier enterprise client/server applications. As such Riena will broaden the usage of the service oriented architecture of OSGi/Equinox by providing access to local and remote services in a transparent way. Using this uniform programming model, the components of Riena and the business components of the enterprise application can be developed regardless of their target location. Components are later easily placed on client or server depending on the business requirements.”

The ideas behind Riena look very promising. If you have previously faced the task of writing a RCP client for an enterprise application, e.g. based on EJBs, then you have probably already struggled with at least some of the items on the project plan. Instead of putting all your effort into the features and usability of the application, you end up spending a considerable amount of time debugging RMI classloading issues (until you place Thread.currentThread().setContextClassLoader(this.getClass().getClassLoader() in your bundle’s start method or before any remote access in some ServiceLocator…) or configuring authentication/authorization mechanisms. Not to mention the tedious exception handling of pre-EJB3 session beans… Of course, you can solve such problems somehow on your own, but you should always ask yourself why you have to solve them and why there is no built-in framework or component that handles the intricacies for you.

I’m also very curious about the announced persistence support. I wonder if service tiers for data access will be addressed. You have to decide at some point to either provide dedicated data transfer objects or the mapped entities themselves. However, the latter brings up further questions regarding lazy loading of uninitialized fields of objects that have already been transfered to the client. But more on this possibly in another post…

Hopefully, with Riena, we can soon spend less effort on infrastructure and concentrate more on things that matter.

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