When we released WAS v8 two years ago, no one knew that a year later WAS v8.5 would come out sporting the lightest, smallest, and most dynamic application server the world has ever seen. This event was so surprising that when we talked to people about it the response was “no way!”, but after short, quick – and importantly live – demos, people went from disbelief to salivating over the prospect. Feature requests came in from left, right and centre. “We want Web profile! We want Web services! What about JMS?” we heard you say. Well all we can say is:
We’ve been busy beavering away to bring you more goodies to play with, and that we have. And we’ve done that without compromising those things that made the Liberty profile so awesome in the first place. We still have a small, lightweight, dynamic, lazy, modular runtime, but now we have Web profile. That’s right – you can now use EJBLite, and CDI in your applications with the Liberty profile. But wait, that’s not all! We didn’t just do Web profile – we also integrated Web services and JMS. Of course doing JMS without message-driven beans would be kind of lame, so we threw that in as well. Most people would have been happy with that, but not us, we chucked in support for MongoDB for good measure and moved on to think about what would make Liberty great in production too.
You see, having the best runtime for developers isn’t enough for us – we want to make the Liberty profile the best runtime for running applications too. We looked at what people need to make Liberty even better in production and came up with this:
- System Management
We have the new Liberty collectives features which allow you to manage a set of Liberty servers from a central point, oh and it also lets you build your topology out from nothing. Liberty profile servers from any edition can be managed from the ND collectiveController feature, so you only need one ND license to manage a whole network of Liberty profile servers.
- Security features
As if support for custom user registries, and federated LDAP registries wasn’t enough we also found time to add OAuth-2.0 support so you can integrate your applications with websites like Twitter and Facebook. Not to mention implementing password encryption and adding password hashing to the basic registry.
OK, so no one ever says this isn’t important, but we’ve made things better with a new local web cache for Servlet and JSP responses, and if you use WebSphere eXtreme Scale you can distribute the cache. We’ve done other stuff too, but trust us, it’s faster.
If you have the Network Deployment edition you can cluster Liberty profile servers together and manage them as a unit.
I should also mention the fact that we’ve opened up the SPIs we use to develop our features to anyone who wants to extend the runtime. You can integrate configuration for your features into the server.xml file and the development tools will even show your configuration just as if it were part of our runtime.
There are loads of other changes we don’t have space to cover here, but despite this being a really significant release, it is totally compatible with 8.5.0. What that means is there is no application or configuration migration from previous releases required. Our mantra has been “this is just a fixpack” even though it is a third digit update, rather than a fourth one.
Oh and one last thing, when we released the awesome, fabulous, Liberty profile last year you said “we love this, but can we have it for less” and we went away thinking “but you really wanted all this cool stuff!” In response we now have a new edition called WebSphere Application Server Liberty Core. It has everything that was in 8.5.0, plus all the Web profile goodies, and can be managed by an ND collective controller. All that and it comes at the same price as Express without the PVU restrictions (yes I’m sorry I said PVU on a WASdev blog).
We think we have done something really special in this release and we hope you are as excited about it as we are.