Foreword – OSGi in Depth


After many years in ClassPath-land, the Java industry at large is finally starting to see the need for modularity in software development and deployment. There are many reasons for this. Maybe you just want to get out of the Jar Hell, where you’re not quite sure anymore where a particular class comes from in your deployment. Other use cases for modularity center around providing isolation in a multi-tenancy context.

But there are more reasons. A modular approach makes developing software more scalable as modules tend to be highly focused with a clear demarcation of responsibility. A module’s internals are inaccessible to the outside, which means that a modular approach tends to lead to well-defined APIs that better allow for concurrent development. It enables structuring of development teams such that parallel development of modules, which together form the application, is achievable.

The OSGi specifications provide a very mature, stable, and comprehensive modularity solution. The OSGi Core specification defines the OSGi framework, addressing modularity, lifecycle, services, and security aspects. Together these enable a dynamic system where bundles, the OSGi name for modules, are often remarkably reusable, properly encapsulated, and loosely coupled. The OSGi service registry enables an elegant plug-in model where consumers don’t need to be preconfigured with any expected service provider implementation. The OSGi service model allows for services to be changed dynamically at runtime without the need to modify their consumers.

In this age of cloud computing, a system needs to be dynamically adaptable, highly manageable, and easily maintainable. OSGi technology facilitates all this alongside what is generally an extremely light infrastructure footprint. Runtime metadata and framework management is available through a standard API or via JMX, if enabled, and because bundles generally have clearly defined purposes, maintenance is easier and more localized—there’s no more big ball of mud that needs to be dealt with.

OSGi is the only standards-based solution to modularity today, and given that it has been around since the late 1990s, it’s a well-matured and very stable technology. A number of highly popular open source projects provide OSGi framework implementations today, and a number of commercial implementations are also available. OSGi is being used in contexts from embedded, residential, and mobile devices to highly scalable and performant server systems. Additionally, it is the infrastructure behind many rich client applications, of which the Eclipse IDE is probably the most well-known.

In this book, Alex Alves looks in detail at many of the OSGi Core concepts while also elaborating on a number of vital technologies from the OSGi Compendium and Enterprise specifications. As cochair of the Enterprise Expert Group, I’m particularly pleased to see a number of Enterprise OSGi technologies covered. You’ll find chapters about OSGi remote services (note a very interesting cloud computing section in this chapter), JDBC and JPA, transactions, JNDI integration, and JMX support, while the Configuration Admin and Event Admin services are also covered. Last but not least, you’ll find coverage of OSGi Blueprint, a specification inspired by the Spring Framework aimed at using and creating OSGi services in a simple and user-friendly way.

This is a book that both covers the high-level big-picture architecture topics as well as the details involved in getting things working on a practical level. It will give you a deep understanding of OSGi and will provide you with the knowledge you need to utilize OSGi to the full.