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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