As of today, November 6, release V3 Prelude of the Glassfish Application Server is about to be officially announced, putting an end to quite a long period of development, testing and documentation writing. To get GFv3 Prelude started in an appropriate way, Sun and Glassfish folks today are hosting a Glassfish Day consisting of a vast load of screencast presentations on numerous aspects interesting and/or relevant about this next milestone in the development of Glassfish application server.
Personally, after being using Glassfish v2 as well as Apache Tomcat as application servers or Java EE web containers for quite a while, I consider the „v3 Prelude“ release to be a rather interesting thing as it exactly seems to fill a gap existing between GFv2 and Tomcat: On one side, it’s a more „lightweight“ than GFv2, not being a full-blown Java EE application server, so, looking at the content that comes distributed with it (also to be found in the comparsion between v2 and v3), mainly of interest to all those wanting a platform to use Spring based .war applications and scripting stuff like JRuby or Groovy.
On the other side however, Glassfish v3 Prelude does compensate for one of the (in my eyes) most important drawbacks of Tomcat – the lack of a global management and administration interface. Here, GFv3 Prelude provides the same web based administration UI also to be found in GFv2, allowing for easy configuration of global resources (like JDBC connection pools, Java Mail sessions, …), starting / stopping / (un)deployment of new modules, viewing log files and so forth. Plus, under the hood there are a few interesting things making Glassfish v3 Prelude a consideration worthwhile for productive and development (experimental?) use, like the IPS based updatetool to easily install new (versions of already installed) features to the application server, or the new OSGi core system based upon Apache Felix. Adding to this, there also is a range of IDE plugins for developing applications atop GFv3 Prelude with your favorite IDE.
Overally, we have been evaluating Glassfish V3 Prelude at the very least in course of the FishCAT program and fount it to be pretty stable and mature already. Looking forward to seeing the „full-blown“ GFv3 release anytime soon…