Portal 6 and Application Server 6.1 disconnect

Right before Portal 6 was released, IBM released WebSphere Application Server 6.1, which runs on Java 5. In that release are many performance enhancements. If you do any wsadmin scripting, you should be familiar with JACL and Jython scripting. Well, IBM has deprecated the JACL interface in favor of Jython. With Jython being a much more robust language, and somewhat easier to code than JACL, this was a welcome choice. Now all the included server batch and shell script files reference Jython scripts. I won't get into all the enhancements, but I mention scripting for a reason.

Then, I was reading the Portal 6 InfoCenter. New to this release is the ability to do some scripting using the wsadmin interface for Portal....but only JACL NOT Jython! Also, Portal 6 will only run on WebSphere 6, not 6.1. I've tried it, and it won't install. IBM will tell you its not supported. It has been over a year since Java 5 has been released, and 3 months since Java 5 EE was made official, and IBM still does not fully support the Java 5 spec. You still cannot write Java 5 portlets for IBM's applications! Sun already has its Mustang (Java 6) in beta.

IBM is very far behind the ball on this, and they are going to have to do some serious catch up. Not once have I seen IBM beta WebSphere 6.1 or Portal 6. They could learn a lot from the open source community on this matter, where the releases are frequent, and bugs are patched quickly. At the Java One conference in San Francisco, Sun announced that they are moving to a more frequent beta release schedule and showed some statistics on how the quality of their releases have improved by involving the developer community more. It was a dramatic demonstration.

Perhaps its Portals' move to the Lotus management (although still keeping the WebSphere moniker) that encourages some of the disconnect. Or rather, maybe the App Server folks need to learn some things from the Lotus team. Domino 7 screams on performance. Sametime 7 has been rock solid for us, and we are experimenting with Sametime 7.5 as well.
IBM - Incompatible, But Marketable.

Anywhoo...that is my gripe for today.