Chapter 16. J2EE/EJB: A Case Study of an Industry-Standard Computing Infrastructure

with Anna Liu

Note: Anna Liu is a senior research engineer at the Software Architecture and Technologies Group, CSIRO, Sydney, Australia. She is also an adjunct senior academic at the University of Sydney.

Write Once, Run Everywhere

?Sun Microsystems's mantra for Java

Write Once, Test Everywhere

?Cynical Java programmers

This chapter presents an overview of Sun Microsystems's Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) architecture specification, as well as an important portion of that specification, Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB). J2EE provides a standard description of how distributed object-oriented programs written in Java should be designed and developed and how the various Java components can communicate and interact. EJB describes a server-side component-based programming model. Taken as a whole, J2EE also describes various enterprise-wide services, including naming, transactions, component life cycle, and persistence, and how these services should be uniformly provided and accessed. Finally, it describes how vendors need to provide infrastructure services for application builders so that, as long as conformance to the standard is achieved, the resultant application will be portable to all J2EE platforms.

J2EE/EJB is one approach to building distributed object-oriented systems. There are, of course, others. People have been building distributed object-oriented systems using the Object Management Group's (OMG) Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) during the last decade. In the CORBA model, an object request broker (ORB) allows objects to publish their interfaces and allows client programs (and perhaps other objects) to locate these remote objects anywhere on the computer network and to request services from them. Microsoft, too, has a technology, .NET, for building distributed systems. The .NET architecture has similar provisions for building distributed object systems for Windows-based platforms.

We will start the chapter by looking at the business drivers that led to the creation of an industry standard architecture for distributed systems. Then we will discuss how the J2EE/EJB architecture addresses such needs. We will look at the typical quality requirements of Web-based applications and see how the J2EE/EJB architecture fulfills them.

    Part Two: Creating an Architecture
    Part Four: Moving From One System to Many