The Big Apple: Luminis Technologies at the OSGi DevCon

Usually, I write about conferences after attending them, summing up the highlights and lessons learned. This time though, I’m writing about the OSGi DevCon in New York about a month before it is scheduled to start and I’m not even attending myself. That might sound strange as within Luminis I am definitely one of the early adopters of OSGi, but I’m happy to report that Luminis Technologies is represented very well in terms of talks and tutorials. It is a sign that as a company, we now have a very broad expertise in this area.

Sessions

Through our involvement in many different OSGi related projects, both commercial and open source, we have quite a few interesting stories to tell. One of the most interesting ones is PulseOn, an educational platform that personalizes learning and adapts itself to the learning style and preferences of individual students. Within The Netherlands, more and more schools are adopting this system and students can follow courses using their own device. Built on top of the Amdatu platform, this is a great example of an OSGi-based back-end that interfaces with a modern and modular web application built on AngularJS and Jago and Paul, the two architects of the system, are going to go into detail about the lessons they learned while building this system.

With more and more front-ends being built in Javascript, we are constantly evaluating the different mechanisms that this language and its many libraries provide to modularize such code. In our projects it is not uncommon that the front-end, code wise, is just as big as the back-end, so developing and maintaining Javascript code becomes a very important aspect. Sander will give an overview of the current “state of the art” in terms of modularizing Javascript, explaining what’s currently there and where we’re heading in the future. Food for thought, especially if you consider that a concept like modularity should eventually be a cross-language solution. One important thing the OSGi Alliance should start considering is if it wants to broaden the specification to languages like Javascript and how components in different languages could interoperate.

Bram has been working on Amdatu Remote, an implementation of the upcoming Remote Service Admin 1.1 specification. Amdatu Remote was designed to be both a light-weight and modular solution that makes it very easy to create clusters of frameworks that share a common service registry and communicate that way. We recently released a first “beta” version of Amdatu Remote and Bram will explain and demo this version in his talk. Future work will probably include adding remote services to Apache Celix as well, allowing the Java and C languages to communicate through services.

A personal favourite of mine is the talk that Xander and Sander are co-presenting: a shootout between the different dependency management solutions in OSGi. As the original author of one of the oldest solutions around, the Apache Felix Dependency Manager, I’m obviously biased, but I’m sure the overview that they will give helps people decide what solution is best for their application. In the end, all solutions are compatible, so you could even decide per bundle what the most appropriate solution would be. An interesting detail to mention is that Dependency Manager version 4 is currently being developed. In almost 10 years the codebase went through 3 major versions and version 4 was rewritten from scratch based on all the lessons that were learned during that time. A release is probably still a few months away, but one interesting feature to look out for is support for Declarative Services. Expect more about that in a future blog article!

Tutorials

Friday the 13th is a day packed with tutorials and Paul will do two sessions about developing modular cloud applications with OSGi. In a very “hands-on” style he will demonstrate how easy it can be to get started with OSGi, leveraging the Amdatu project and Bndtools plugin to quickly build a cloud based enterprise application. Paul is also the co-author of a book on the same subject and if you’re considering starting with OSGi yourself, this is a must-see session!

Of course there are a lot more interesting sessions at the OSGi DevCon, and with the event being co-located with QCon for the first time (previously, they co-located with EclipseCon) I am very curious how the event will go and I wish my colleagues good luck with their sessions!

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