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My ramblings on Java EE, Java SE and the crazy World of technology in general.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Java EE Adoption Story from Luqman Saeed

One of the most important things to do at this stage of the life-cycle of Java EE is highlight successful adoption stories at a regular cadence. The community has been doing just that for a long time including at JavaOne. A number of these stories are curated here. Luqman Saeed recently agreed to share his Java EE adoption story. He has developed a number of production Java EE applications in his native Ghana. Luqman had a number of insightful things to say about Java EE worth paying attention to. I have highlighted specific passages that really stand out.

He had quite a bit to say on some of the most recent episodes of Java EE naysaying in certain parts of our "colorful" ecosystem.

Can you kindly introduce yourself?
My name is Luqman Saeed, I am a blogger and I run Pedantic Devs. I am the head of Finance and Administration for a plastic manufacturing company in Accra, Ghana. I learned programming as a hobby about seven years ago. I started with PHP and the Symfony framework.

Back then, just like today, I read a lot of FUD about Java, and being quite an unusual person, I decided to find out what made the language such a lucrative bashing victim. I got hooked and have been doing Java since then.

Why did you choose Java EE? What applications have you written using Java EE?
I used to write just a few simple GUI applications, mostly with Swing - and later JavaFX - for my day to day work activities. But about three and a half years ago, things got serious when I joined my current company and realized it lacked a reliable human resources and payroll program.

I decided to develop one internally. After consultations with my CEO and other top management, we had the user requirements at hand. I weighed a lot of options for Java web application development. I got a myriad of opinions, with Spring being the favorite of all reviews I kept reading.

However, Java EE 7 had been released at the same time, and a post by Adam Bien on his blog (I think it had to do with the simplest EJB component), got me curious. So I downloaded the Java EE tutorials, the specifications I was interested in and started reading.

The more I read about Java EE, the more I got blown away by the simplicity and elegance of the platform. The more I also got convinced I had discovered the holy grail of Java software development.

After about six months (including a hiatus of about two and a half months), I got my payroll system ready and deployed on GlassFish internally. Everyone was happy. I have since then developed a number of applications for some other companies, all on Java EE. All very easy to do.

I am currently working on a larger more complex version of the HRMS I developed for my employer and using the JPA, Bean Validation, EJB, WebSockets APIs from the Java EE platform as well as Apache Shiro from Stormpath, the CDI extension Apache DeltaSpike and Dynamic Reports. I used Vaadin for the UI because it has a CDI add-on that integrates perfectly with Java EE and also writing my UIs in pure Java speeds things up. As anyone who pays attention knows, Java EE is quite large, and the beauty of it is you just use only what you need!

What was your general experience with Java EE? Would you choose it again?
Like I stated above, Java EE was not only logical, it was also very straightforward to use. I just need an application server and a single Maven dependency to get things going. The powerful, type-safe dependency injection that acts as the glue of the platform is what really blows my mind.

I find it quite amazing that with a simple change of a parameter from ‘annotated’ to ‘all’, I can magically @Inject any object I create. Wow. The first time I read the CDI specification, I was like OMG this is it. Literally. It just works, to borrow the popular Ubuntu aphorism.

I have been using Java EE for a few years now and I will still choose it any day, any time. It is productive, expressive and powerful. I find myself being immediately productive. If I need to master something, I just go to the specification page, download it and spend a few nights reading it.

Some people have recently stated that they view Java EE to be "obsolete". What do you make of that?
I have recently been keenly following all the latest hype about "microservices" and the very negative campaign being led by some very interesting camps about how Java EE is obsolete, bloated and so on. Honestly I just laugh and go back to hacking on my Java EE projects.

I feel the people bashing the platform either are just marketeers or just jump on the fad of the day, really. I can run a Java EE application by simply adding all the APIs to the application and do a java -jar. But why would I want to build an application server when there is one put together by very smart and knowledgeable people?

Most of the "application server is obsolete" proponents try to make it look like using an application server is the only way to run a Java EE application. Or that the application server somehow gets in the way of implementing a microservice architecture.

With projects like WildFly Swarm, I can even do fat-jars with ease if I want to. But personally I don’t know why all the noise over microservices in the first place because to me it’s been around in one form or another since before I was born.

Java EE is a platform that is highly productive, expressive, powerful, open, easy to use, and very reliable. Java EE isn’t a "brand" per se, so the question of Java EE brand "fading" is for me a prima facie null question. If you ask me, Payara is a brand, WildFly is a brand, TomEE is a brand and WebSphere Liberty is a brand. I am just a lemme-mind-my-business happy Java EE platform user. I hardly have time to bother with the FUD.

I also occasionally have CS students from a private university come to do internship with me and I - you guessed it - teach them Java EE. Java EE may be "obsolete" in the imaginary world of some people, but there are people like me in the real world, that don’t talk much, because we are happy users of the platform.

How can people contact you if they have questions?
I am more than happy to share my Java EE journey and experience with anyone. Just contact me and I will be more than happy to speak. Once again, I will choose Java EE any day, any time. It just works :-).


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