TheServerSide first met Simon Maple when he was employed at IBM's fabled Hursley Lab in the U.K. At the time, he was demonstrating a WebSphere Liberty profile installed on a Raspberry Pi, a surprising feat, as WebSphere products tend to have a reputation for being resource hogs that disappoint in terms of performance -- even when copious amounts of hardware are provisioned.
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Since then, Maple has solidified his reputation in the industry as a respected thought leader, and he currently works as a developer advocate at ZeroTurnaround, a software development tools company based in Boston and Tartu, Estonia. TheServerSide caught up with him for a podcast interview while he was on the public relations circuit, spreading the word about the virtues of XRebel, ZeroTurnaround's lightweight Java profiler, which is soon to see a version 2.2 release.
Now that Maple is no longer in IBM's employ, the first thing we wanted to get from him was not a discussion of XRebel and its new sharing capabilities, but instead, his honest take on the role of the monolithic application server in a world where microservices and lightweight architectures are all the rage.
"A lot of people will prefer the traditional Java EE style environment, where you have one big platform," said Maple about the comfort many organizations find in having a middleware platform, such as WebSphere, as their deployment target of choice. "People will favor different flavors, whether that's microservices where you have much more lightweight, modular-style environments or one big platform."
Microservices versus monolithic middleware
It is amazing how quickly the concept of microservices and lightweight, server-side frameworks gained traction in the industry. Despite the attention these technologies garner, the continued demand for skilled workers who can use highly centralized products, such as IBM's WebSphere Portal Server, proves that monolithic middleware isn't going to disappear any time soon. "I don't think microservices [are] necessarily going to take apart the more traditional, larger Java EE environment, but it will be a contender to it," said Maple.
Along with the discussion about the role of products like WebSphere in the modern world of enterprise software development, if you listen to the accompanying podcast, you can hear Maple address the following interesting questions:
- How do you respond when you hear people saying that the enterprise service bus is dead?
- Who will be the winners and losers when container-based systems like Docker and Kubernetes take off?
- What are the interesting trends you see happening in terms of the cloud and Internet of Things?
- What are some of the most interesting things you've seen people doing with Java and Raspberry Pi?
- Besides the tools ZeroTurnaround sells, namely XRebel and JRebel, what are the most important productivity tools you believe a software developer should have available to them?
Listen to the full interview by downloading the podcast.
Which productivity tools do you think every software developer should have installed? Let us know .
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