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11/5/2007
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Spring 2.5 Designed To Speed Java Component Construction

In the past, Spring has relied heavily on XML annotations, but the new version also will invoke Java-oriented annotations.

The 2.5 release of the popular Spring Framework is due Nov. 19, and its open source project leader, Rod Johnson, says it will make building applications from components easier for Java programmers.

Spring allows programmers to set configuration parameters for an application component through the use of annotations, or simple declarative statements. Such parameters determine what services will be invoked by a Web application. In the past, Spring has relied heavily on XML annotations, but with the release of 2.5 it will invoke Java-oriented annotations, such as a declaration for a component to use the Java Message Service.

Annotations are a replacement for painful, detailed lines of Java programming that would do the same thing, Johnson said in an interview. In addition to originating the Spring Framework as a simpler way to develop with Java, he also is CEO of Interface21, the firm that sells services and support around the Spring Framework.

In version 2.5, the Spring runtime environment will be able to scan the Java classes, from which services are formed, and automatically decide which ones should be managed by Spring. The capability extends Spring's reach to recognize the components that already are compatible with a Spring-produced application.

By supporting both XML and Java-based configuration annotations, Spring is trying to live up to its organizers' stated goal of letting developers chose the configuration method they want rather than having them conform to the constraints of the tools they're using. The annotations supply a way of declaring what level of security is sought in the use of a component or restrictions on the role of the user activating the component.

The Spring 2.5 release also "has done a lot of work behind the scenes" to make Spring application components conform to the modular standards of the OSGi Alliance industry group. By following the Open Services Gateway Initiative standard, Spring-developed components become more interoperable with other components built to the OSGi standard. The OSGi Alliance includes BEA Systems, IBM, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems.

"There's good synergy between OSGi and Spring," Johnson said.

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