Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
When I first moved back from The Dark Side to the world of Java, I was astonished at the vibrant software ecosystem that had grown up around Sun's baby. When I left the Java world at the end of the 20th century, the JDK 1.2 JARs were pretty-much all I knew.
Cut to 2005 and The Apache Project has gone ballistic, churning out libraries for just-about everything and an industry-standard servlet container. There are more app servers, JDBC drivers, XML parsers and webapp frameworks than be conceived by a sane mind, and SourceForge is hosting literally thousands more useful Java projects.
Some of the projects we all take for granted in the Java world represent many thousands of development and testing hours. Truly we stand on the shoulders of giants when our own projects succeed thanks to their hard work and generosity.
Some projects more than others really make Java development a pleasure, and hence I'm calling them out for the inaugural Millhouse Group SotSoG Awards (actual prize is nothing except a warm fuzzy feeling for those involved...)
- The Spring Framework - Still the defacto IoC framework of choice, but that's really just the tip of the iceberg...
- Apache Maven - Yes, it enforces a standard project layout. And that's the way I like it.
- Eclipse IDE - A hulking great beast of an IDE. Plugins for stuff that hasn't even been thought of yet. And still totally free.
- Apache Tomcat - Still my choice, and getting better every release.
- Mockito - a lovely, fluent mocking API that itself stands on the shoulders of EasyMock!
All of these projects deserve their own blog posts, and will get them in time. But in the meantime, if you're not familiar with any of the above, Google them up and give 'em a go! Enjoy the view.