An open-source software company called ActiveGrid is challenging the established thinking among builders of large-scale business applications.
The premise of ActiveGrid, which released an early version of its server software and tools on Monday, is that application servers based on the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) specification are no longer required. Company Peter Yared was even handing out "No J2EE" pins at LinuxWorld earlier this year.
Instead, Yared proposes building applications with scripting languages, such as Python or PHP, which are easier to use than Java but typically not used for high-end applications. ActiveGrid's solution for building out large-scale systems is to network several LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, plus PHP or Python or Perl) servers together in a grid.
In an essay, Yared argued that the day of powerful applications servers that centralize many functions, like database access and caching, are passÃ©.
Instead, a distributed grid of back-end application servers will function more like a "text pump" moving text-based XML files around the network. And scripting languages, he says, are very good at handling text and easily building Web pages.
The Java versus scripting languages debate is a hot one in the world of software development. ActiveGrid is just one more company eager to push the scripting envelope.