The next version of Java EE will include many improvements that are well overdue for enterprise Java. In summary, it's all about simplification. The specification calls for modularity of the application servers that implement it. In other words, no longer do you need to download, use, or deploy a bloated application server. If you only want to deploy a Java Servlet-based application, all you need is a Servlet container.
Java EE 6 will support modularity in the form of profiles; special configurations pre-built for common deployments. Examples are web-based applications, messaging applications, web-services, Spring-based applications, and full-blown EJB applications for transaction support.
Glassfish, Sun's open-source implementation of the latest Java EE specifications, already supports Java EE 6 in multiple forms. In Robert Chinnici's blog, found here, http://weblogs.java.net/blog/robc/archive/2008/02/profiles_in_the_1.html, he describes the next Glassfish as such:
GlassFish v3 is the next major release of the GlassFish Application Server and is currently under development by the GlassFish Community. GlassFish v3 has a modular, lightweight, extensible architecture. The goals are to provide the following:
- An open, modular, extensible platform
- A fast, easy, reliable application server
- An enterprise-ready application server with massive scalability and sophisticated administration
- Support for OSGi
- Support for dynamic languages such as Ruby and Groovy
- Support for Java EE 6
You can get more information on the future of Glassfish and Java EE here.
Prelude to Glassfish V3
There's the Glassfish V2 Preview release, which implements Java EE 6 in a pre-beta form. But the real interesting implementation is the V3 Prelude release, or what Sun is calling the Glassfish V3 Lite Express. This release implements all of the modularity and profile features in Java EE 6, but uses the released components from Java EE 5 to do so. The end result is a modular, efficient application server based on released components that are built and tested for production deployment. You should give it a try. Find it here: