I found lots of open source project founder are(were) getting ideas from NeXT, WebObjects... From web presentation layer(tapestry vs wod) to DB access layer(cayenne,hibernate vs EOF), what they are doing is try making J2EE simplicity. Is that means J2EE will come back to WebObjects?Why Apple is still sleeping?
Yes, you will find a lot of open source (and some not) project that are based on aspects of WebObjects. WebObjects (WO from now on) is an old timer, dating from the mid-90's. It was originally created by NeXT, who had some very, very good OO minds. I find most of the design very beautiful, a sentiment that the J2EE APIs seldom inspire in me.
NeXT had it right, IMHO, a long, long time ago. However, it was not originally Java technology. It was originally written in Objective-C, a dynamically typed (yeah! no casting!) language similar to smalltalk but with a C syntax background. It was also about $50K for a deployment license. Only in the last couple of years has it migrated to Java - a move made for marketing, not technical reasons. Yes, its true -- I miss Objective-C.
OK, where am I going with this? The frameworks have a legacy of excellent design and they have been around long enough to be very mature. A lot of people have recognized the quality and "rightness" of the design and you can find implementations (some nearly complete, other just of parts) in Java, Ruby, and a number of other languages. TopLink for Java is heavily inspired by EOF (part of WO). How many re-implementations of EJB has anyone seen?
It seems that in the last few years that this has started to sink in elsewhere and there is movement in the Java world away from full-on J2EE to a simpler, saner world where we can concentrate on implementing functionality not infrastructure.
Why doesn't Apple market it? Who knows? I suspect they are having way too much fun selling iPods and raking in bales of cash. They have a great product, they know that. They use it for their own systems. Why expend effort trying to sell it in a market place choked with a myriad of OpenSource options when you can sell iPods and make much more money?
Author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1590592964/ref=jranch-20" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Practical WebObjects</a>
Joined: Sep 13, 2004
And now onto the question in your subject line. While the J2EE crowd is catching onto certain aspects of WebObjects, they are not quite current with others. WebObjects is way out in front and will remain there for some years (IMHO of course). While the DB access and presentation layers are being copied with quite good success, there is something in WO that will hit mainstream Java in three or four years by my guess. If WebObjects is the best kept secret of Apple, then the rule based programming technologies in WebObjects are the best kept secret of the best kept secret.
What I am referring to are the Direct To (D2) technologies that blend a data model (MDA anyone?) and rules to produce an application on the fly. No, not code generation. A model and rule based application that can be changed on the fly. There are engines for HTML, JavaClient, and WebService generation.
You won't find them in the book, the topics are too large to be covered will in a couple of chapters. Perhaps the next book...