JBI is not an interface for developers; rather, it’s an architecture and set of interfaces for providers of integration products to integrate with each other within a JBI container. As a result, people will be able to assemble an integration solution they need assembling all the parts they need. For example, you could (in theory) assemble an infrastructure from a BPEL engine, an EJB Container or a data transformation product and know that they will all integrate properly. It also standardizes the packaging and deployment unit for an application built on top of these products. Interestingly, JBI's spec looks a lot like a specification of an ESB, or a loosely coupled micro-kernel, effectively making a JBI container into a SOA container. Spec lead Ron Ten-Hove was recently interviewed about what JBI is and what it means for J2EE developers.
JBI could mean great things for the integration market. In a press release, Mark Bauhaus, vice president of Java, Web Services explained:
The goal of the Java Business Integration initiative is to do for the integration space what J2EE did for the field of Java application development and deployment; namely, deliver the benefits of choice, flexibility, interoperability, code reuse, reduced complexity, and lower cost.However, BEA and IBM both abstained from the public ballot, with IBM commenting that "we are not yet convinced that this specification will deliver compelling value to the marketplace."
TSS interviewed a number of players for their perspectives. Original JBI specification lead Mark Hapner and Chief Web Services Strategist at Sun said:
BEA and IBM abstained for more or less the same reasons they left the EG. They don't have any strong objections to what the EG has produced they just have their individual reasons for not being interested in it.Principal J2EE Appserver Director at Oracle Dennis MacNeil said:
It was good that JBI has passed this milestone. The spec is quickly maturing and with that the community is finally starting to get their arms around what JBI is actually delivering. It is becoming clearer that industry requires better support for composite services as the unit of deployment to ESBs. I think that JBI is in the right place at the right time to offer industry a standard for the packaging, deployment and operation of composite services. While JBI is mainly focused on the Java Platform it is useful to note that its core concept of composite services is platform independent.
The JBI specification provides a Java based integration environment based on open industry standards. This gives Java developers the ability to build services that are truly interoperable and will foster growth in the ecosystem of third party integration providers.JBoss' lead on jBPM and expert group on JSR 208 Tom Baeyens said:
The spec is very similar to JBoss' microkernel architecture, but positioned on the integration/SOA level. That is why we see potential synergies. It is still too early to see if the outcome of JBI will have an added value over the individual building blocks such as webservices, messaging and other containers.IBM and BEA would not respond for comment. What do you think? Will JBI really do for the integration market what J2EE did for the enterprise development market?