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Enhydra: Enhydra Roadmap -- Calling for feedback


Fellow Enhydra users,
 
 It has been almost 9 months since Enhydra.org was created
and the feedback, contributions and support have been
fantastic. Thank you!
 
What is clear is that Enhydra solves real world problems,
is able to scale to millions of hits per day (recently
another high-profile, high-traffic site has been added to
the list of Enhydra success stories - announcement soon) and
has many unique features including the very popular XMLC
tool set. What is also important is that we don't rest on
our laurels and continue to make Enhydra the best Open
Source Application server for Web development. In fact
to establish Enhydra as the "Apache of Application Servers".
 
So what's next?
 
That's a question that we have been contemplating here for the
last couple of months. We have also been discussing options
with other Open Source projects and have put together an exciting
roadmap covering the next 3 months.
The purpose of this mailing is to solicit feedback and generate
a discussion around the approach. We would also like to solicit
as much help as possible - we here at Lutris have day jobs
too ;-)
 
Many of the initiatives mentioned here are well under way with
semi complete prototypes - it's just a matter of ensuring
that the quality of Enhydra does not suffer from releasing
enhancements prematurely. So here is the proposed roadmap:
 
Enhydra v2.3
============
This release will be made very soon.
 
Major features:
* A slightly restructured tree layout to make integration of
  other source bases easier.
* Improved build rules to avoid unnecessary build errors when
  not building all the features.
* Re-integration of the XMLC code with the main Enhydra code
  (Sorry again for all the confusion on the XMLC license issues).
* A much improved XMLC! It now integrates HTMLTidy, so
  ill-formed HTML is "fixed" prior to compilation. Many other
  fixes have been made.
* HTTPS support by the multiserver! Of course you need to have
  a SSL library handy, but we have tested with a couple of
  the free ones out there.
* A few much needed DODS fixes. Need I say more?
* A bug-tracking tool added to Enhydra.org.
 
Enhydra v2.4
============
In the not-to-distant future, this release will update the
servlet support of the multiserver to the very latest
Servlet 2.2 specification. While Enhydra application do not
necessarily require the servlet 2.2 features, we are committed
to open standards this will allow us to leverage other servlets
when writing web applications. We believe that the Servlet 2.2
specification is very solid and the restructure to support
it (and maintain full backward compatibility i.e. all existing
and future Enhydra application will run) is well underway.
 
The major features of this release planed to be:
* Full Servlet 2.2 implementation.
* NSAPI connection method. We added an ISAPI connection method
  with the last release, but NSAPI will allow us to have a very
  fast connection with Netscape web servers instead of using
  the rather inefficient WAI protocol.
* Better documentation. We know this has been a little poor up
  to now, but we are working to combine the submitted materials
  and publish better documentation through Enhydra.org.
* At Lutris we have been using something called "ROCKS"
  (Trivia: It's name comes from the primary tool of the sea
  otter). This is a layer on top of XMLC. It provides a
  methodology and tools for implementing a web application
  event model, easy handling of CGI parameters and a library
  of common web application tasks (e.g. error checking in
  form submissions and subsequent re-population). We are
  very excited about this technology and believe it to be one
  of the most important additions.
* JSP support? We would like feedback on this. It is fairly
  easy to add, but we really believe XMLC offers so many
  benefits. However, to support all skills and methodologies
  we are considering including it.
* Better NT support - the ability to run Enhydra as a NT
  service.
* XMLC is extended to compile generic XML. [Useful for
  implementing an XML protocol].
 
Enhydra v3.0
============
Now this is where things get really interesting. To truly be an
alternative to commercial application servers like BEA Weblogic
or IBM WebSphere, is is clear that we must be in a position to
leverage standard Java components to quickly build web applications.
To date, we at Lutris have partnered Enhydra as a server running
the presentation logic talking to an EJB server running some of the
business logic. While this works well, there are some circumstances
where it is more convenient to package this up into one easy to
manage server. We are thus actively working with other EJB projects
to provide a complete EJB v1.1 engine bundled with Enhydra. An
architecture of this initiative will be published soon, but in
a nutshell, the EJB services will optional configured through
a configuration file. This means that Enhydra can still be
configured to have a very small footprint (Embedded devices)
and support current Enhydra applications while offering
the services to support applications with business logic
written as EJBs. The EJB integration is not a pipe dream.
We demonstrated an EJB banking application running on
Enhydra at the LinuxWorld on August 10th. This application,
although a prototype architecture, also used the InstantDB
all Java database to provide persistency. [We would love
InstantDB to become Open Source, hint, hint].
 
Summary of major features:
* Full EJB v1.1 support.
* JMS implementation.
* DODS tool extended to generate EJB entity beans.
* The servlet 2.2 implementation will also be able to be
  configured as an EJB container giving the ability of
  v2.2 servlets (or Enhydra applications) to be run as EJBs.
* The Admin and Debugging application will be enhanced to
  manage the EJB services, and distributed applications.
  It will also offer a remote control interface leading
  the way to desktop management applications.
* All configuration files as XML.
 
 
 
Please excuse the length of this email. I realize that it
will probably raise more questions than it answers, but we
really would like some feedback. As a professional services
company Lutris has a good deal of insight into the problems
of building web application, and the roadmap mentioned here
is underway, we just want to make sure that we listen to
all comments and suggestions. Also, I have been deliberately
vague on actual release dates. With no outside help we will
have Enhydra v3.0 (full EJB) out in early Q1 2000, but with
just a little help... The other releases will be this year.
 
Many thanks and I look forward to your feedback...
 
Cheers,
 
 Paul Morgan (CTO Lutris Technologies, Inc.)
 
___________________Paul A Morgan ___________________
  Internet Application Architecture & Technology
Lutris Technologies, Inc.
1200 Pacific Street,          v:(831)471-9753 x207
Suite 200                   f:(831)471-9754
Santa Cruz,                 e: paul.morgan@lutris.com
California 95060            w: www.lutris.com
____________________________________________________