Open-source middleware tends Petals

Project will focus on development of Java Business Integration platform for highly distributed integration environments.

Open-source middleware consortium ObjectWeb has announced the Petals project, a step forward for its year-old Enterprise Service Bus initiative.

Petals will focus on the development of a Java Business Integration (JBI) platform for highly distributed integration environments. The Petals announcement on Tuesday follows and builds on the June creation of the Celtix project, which is also under the ObjectWeb banner and is developing an open-source Java ESB.

The recently introduced JBI specification--also known as JSR 208 in the Java Community Process--defines a container in which components from multiple vendors and various technologies can interact, making it easier to develop standards-based integration systems. The Petals JBI will be built on top of Celtix.

ObjectWeb is a France-based consortium founded in 2002 that allows various specialized companies to work together on open-source middleware. Celtix is backed by Iona Technologies of Ireland, while the principal backers of Petals are EBM WebSourcing of France and Brazil's Fossil E-Commerce.

The ESB initiative is an open-source offering for ESB middleware, which is designed to enable a service-oriented architecture via an even-driven, XML-based messaging engine. Petals is aimed at supporting the JBI standard, currently neglected by many Java EE vendors with proprietary ESB offerings. Open-source projects like Petals and Celtix are expected to accelerate the commoditization of ESB, Gartner analysts have said.

Petals uses a highly distributed integration approach, running many JBI containers on different Java Virtual Machines and achieving location transparency via a Java Message Service-based transport layer. ObjectWeb plans for the platform to provide specialized business-to-business bindings. Integration with Jonas, a Java EE 1.4-compliant enterprise application server from ObjectWeb, is also on the table.

According to Francois Letellier, a member of the ObjectWeb executive committee, Petals is aiming to provide ready-to-use systems, including transformation, logging, routing features and business-to-business features.

"Petals is intended to be a distributed container, building on existing ObjectWeb components: Fractal, Dream, JORAM, XQuare, Lewys," he wrote in a blog posting earlier this month. Fractal and Dream are a component model and a component-based communication framework, both developed under ObjectWeb's aegis.

A first iteration of Petals is due by the end of this year, with a prototype available from ObjectWeb's Web site. The prototype embeds JORAM, a message-oriented middleware, for Java Message Service support. Celtix is also aiming for a release by year's end.

Matthew Broersma of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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