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By now you've probably heard about EJB, read articles about it, and possibly even written a few enterprise beans yourself. However, if you're like many people out there, you might not understand the big picture -- despite the fact that working with EJB is supposed to be extremely simple. Here's a list of questions many developers new to EJB struggle with:
This article addresses these and other common concerns about EJB. It includes examples of how some vendors provide EJB support. Moreover, this article addresses the following key issues:
In short, this article describes the current state of EJB and the Java middleware (tools) that support it. Rather than focus on in-depth coding examples, I devote attention to the more challenging aspects of working with EJB: the design issues and tools selection. To learn more about nitty-gritty programming with EJB, see the JavaWorld articles in the Resources section below. Furthermore, EJB programming (developing enterprise beans), in my opinion, is the easy part (as Sun intended it to be); design issues and tools selection are the more challenging aspects of working with EJB.
Note that throughout this article I use the terms Java middleware, application servers, and EJB servers somewhat interchangeably. Marketeers, authors of the EJB (or CORBA/DCOM) specification, and niche developers may see many distinctions among these terms, but for the purpose of this article they all mean the same thing.
Note also that this article is jam-packed with information on EJB. While it may seem overwhelming, don't be discouraged: EJB developers typically don't have to deal with all the issues discussed here. In fact, the EJB specifications define several roles and responsibilities that can be handled by either one person or several people, depending on the size of your project. Nevertheless, an understanding of the big picture is essential. And remember, developing enterprise beans is actually extremely simple.
Ever since the Web began to make the Internet popular and useful for almost everyone (not just the government and students), new Net technologies (Internet, intranet and extranet) have emerged from all directions and organizations. It is now close to impossible to keep up with these technologies at the speed they're being introduced.