Sunday, April 20, 2008

Open source SOA infrastructure project CXF elevated to full Apache status

After community incubation and development for nearly two years, the Apache CXF open-source SOA and middleware interoperability framework evolved last week into a full project of the Apache Software Foundation.

CXF, with some 60,000 downloads since July 2007, takes its place alongside 60 other Apache projects. The framework began its life as Celtix, which was supported by IONA Technolgies in the ObjectWeb community, and then merged with XFire from Codehaus. It was later moved to the Apache incubator process.

CXF's graduation from incubator to project status involved widespread developer collaboration, taking it through six releases. CXF is now ranked among the top 10 Java software projects, receiving support from the Mule and JBoss communities.

It also serves as the foundation for IONA' FUSE Services Framework. Dan Kulp, IONA's principal engineer has been designated as the CXF project management committee chair. [Disclosure: IONA is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Nearly a year ago, I sat down with Kulp for a podcast on Apache and CXF. Here's what he had to say:
CXF is really designed for high performance, kind of like a request-response style of interaction for one way, asynchronous messaging, and things like that. But it’s really designed for taking data in from a variety of transports and message formats, such as SOAP or just raw XML. If you bring in the Apache Yoko project, we have CORBA objects coming in off the wire. It basically processes them through the system as quickly as possible with very little memory and processing overhead. We can get it to the final destination of where that data is supposed to be, whether it’s off to another service or a user-developed code, whether it’s in JavaScript or JAX-WS/JAXB code.

That’s the goal of what the CXF runtime is -- just get that data into the form that the service needs, no matter where it came from and what format it came from in, and do that as quickly as possible.
You can listen to the podcast here and read a full transcript here. IONA recently told fellow ZDNet blogger Paula Rooney that it intends to continue to invest in and support open source activities. And IONA is increasing its role in Apache.

As we now explore the fascinating intersection of SOA and WOA -- with on-premises services and cloud-based resources (including data) supporting ecologies of extended enterprises business processes -- I expect open source projects such as CXF to play a major role.Creating federated relationships between private and public clouds and their services and resources requires more than just industry standards. It requires visibility and access, the type that comes from open source communities and open use licenses.

I expect that open source code-based services and infrastructure will be the preferred choice for building the layers of an extended enterprise service ecology that binds organizations while protecting their assets and interests -- and which allows for trust and cooperation.

In a sense, open source SOA software is ready-made for extra-cloud oriented business processes and relationships. Perhaps one of the supporters of these projects will become a cloud host for integration as a service services?