One of the cool things about the new job I will _officially_ be starting in November is that we are going to look to use open source tools first. The biggest choice we have to make on that front is which open source application server to use. We have the go ahead to get an environment setup and in-use for some pilot applications that are less mission-critical than most of the apps we have on our primary WebSphere servers. Now comes the time we need to decide which open source application server(s) we will use.
I’d like for us to decide on a single one, but we have no limitation on using just one. The choices we have in front of us are the usual suspects: GlassFish, Geronimo, and JBoss. I’m not deeply familiar with any of them – but I am a somewhat familiar with Geronimo. I have messed with it most, having hosted my old home website (before the blog) on it for a while and having been a tomcat user for years. I have messed with both GlassFish and JBoss too, but in a much smaller way. I’m probably leaning towards Glassfish right now. I like what I’m reading about it and it’s been pretty easy to get up and running.
There are a lot of posts and articles about this subject so I’ll have no shortage of opinions. It doesnt appear that any one of these application servers has distanced itself from the rest of the pack. They are all three strong competitors so I doubt we can go wrong no matter which one(s) we choose to use. It should be a fun process.
If the biggest choice you have to make is on appservers…. lucky you!
I said ‘one of the biggest…’
What I like about Glassfish ais that it will always be the first to provide implementations of the latest Java EE standards (like the upcoming Java EE 6). Also, the next version of Glassfish (v3) will have a micro kernel that only loads the modules required by the applications deployed in it. The base application server startup time is less than 1 second. When I ask technical questions on the Glassfish users mailing list, the developers who wrote it are often the ones who respond. They often respond within hours of posting.
For many tasks, Tomcat and Jetty are sufficient choices as well.