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JBoss Model

 
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I'm looking for an EJB server and have been looking at JBoss. What's the deal?
The really talk up their product, and claim it does everything under the sun, much more the J2EE. Of course, they also claim 150,000 downloads a month. That seems excessive, unless there are a lot of automated mirror sites out there. Heck, there are only about 1 million Java developers total (depending on whose hype you believe). Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked....
JBoss seems to be an open source service model. They are giving away the software for free and selling training and other services. There seems to be very limited free documentation--only a Getting Started 3.0 draft. Is this part of the model, to sell documentation? That seems a little contrary to open source, since large, complex software is difficult without documentation. (Although I don't want to start that debate, here.) Is the "JBoss 3.0 Administration and Development Documentation" enough to use it? Is it long and difficult to read? Is it soging to take me two weeks to get through it?
Bottom line, if we're already familiar with other EJB servers, what do we need to do to get ready to use JBoss? Is there some magic place with lots of documentation? Since JBoss is very popular, where are people learning how to use it? Is everyone just buying the book, and figuring a $100 fee is a drop in the bucket compared to other J2EE servers?

--Mark
 
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Personally I bought two books, and we (as a company) bought a subscription to the online documentation updates. However, the updates are not all they're cracked up to be - beyond the first download (over 6 months back when the version was still 2.x) there has been no update or notification of any update. Bear in mind that with a new version (v3) you would expect accompanying new versions of documentation, especially to those who bought subscriptions. A poor show in my view.
The sale of documentation is certainly part of their business model, however frustrating that is. But I don't believe that is contrary to the open source way. After all, they have to have some sort of business model, and feed their families somehow. The JBoss forums are very good, and are currently free; chances are that if you are struggling with one or other thing they will be able to nudge you in the right direction.
Perhaps someone with more altruistic leanings will spend time documenting what they know about JBoss and release it to all for free. Does anyone know of any such altruistic fellows that may have already done that?
 
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We have bought the subscription (and have received updates even for minor versions). The book is about 700-800 pages long and is broken down by functional area (e.g. there is a section on JMX, JMS, EJB CMP, etc). I think it lends itself best as a reference book (i.e. not to be read cover to cover but rather to answer specific queries)
I think it is fairly easy to get going using JBoss, even without the purchase of the documentation. To get stuck into the detail, however, you will probably need to shell out for the documentation.
I don't think it is contrary to open source to sell the documentation. In fact, the very name open "source" indicates that it is the source code that is open not anything else.
Jesse
 
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Actually Mark there are more than a million java developers ..Sun only counts the one with certificates I think..
But anyway why JBOss..
1. Performance
2. Reliability
3. Scalability
4. Support
5. Adherence to Sun Specs full 100%
 
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Originally posted by George Brown:
However, the updates are not all they're cracked up to be - beyond the first download (over 6 months back when the version was still 2.x) there has been no update or notification of any update.


Actually the documentation was just updated this November. Check your account at Flashline. I don't know exactly what changed, I just know that it has been updated for JBoss 3.0.4.
Personally I don't think I could use JBoss effectively without the documentation. Anything beyond example applications and HelloWorld would be difficult. It would be like using WebLogic without the BEA Product Documentation. I especially couldn't imagine doing things like CMP or Clustering.
Just as an example... I was trying to recieve messages from a JMS Queue running on JBoss across a firewall and the onMessage event was never being fired. I looked in the docs and realized the ConnectionFactory I was getting created a Socket from Server to the Client in order to optimize communications. Of course, when the Server is sitting in a DMZ, that is a no-no. I made small change to get a different type of ConnectionFactory and everything worked like a charm. How long would I have wasted without the documentation? I would venture quite a while... definitely long enough for the documentation to have already paid for itself.
 
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