Get off my lawn.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It's good to be king

Sometimes I think I must be quite a powerful force in the universe. It seems I have some kind of general control over the direction of everything, without even trying.

For example, I have worn shorts the last 3 Fridays. On each of those days, the temperature dropped to somewhere near 40 degrees and the sun went behind clouds the second I put them on and went outside, even though the weather had been sunny and nice just before then.

I once put a set of black wheels on my car, thinking they would look cool. Within 3 days of my doing so, I noticed that about every 3rd car on the road had the same thing, even though I only know of one car maker (Porsche) who offers black wheels. Most of them are aftermarket wheels. Which means that once I made my decision, millions of other people felt compelled to go out and do the same thing. I doubt they did it to try and emulate me, but I think some voice from outer space appeared in their heads one day and said "You know, today would be a great day to put some black wheels on your car." I think the voice may have said it to me before it mentioned anything to anyone else.

The latest thing? OSGi. It's a standard that has been around in some form or another since about 1995, and no one has ever heard of it. Eclipse is an OSGi environment, and all of the plug-ins on which it's based are OSGi bundles. But they don't really refer to them as OSGi bundles, so if you'd never heard of the spec, you'd probably gloss over the passing mention OSGi gets in the Eclipse developer documentation and never notice it.

But I recently became interested in OSGi for a project. I read up on the spec, built a couple of small bundles, and got pretty interested in the whole idea of a dynamic environment with components that start, stop, install, upgrade, uninstall, etc. without ever stopping the environment. Cool.

Well, guess what? Suddenly, SpringSource has released a whole application server based on OSGi. Jetty, the open-source web server, is available as an OSGi bundl. And every 3rd developer article I read on the whole internet is about OSGi. The world has forgotten Ruby on Rails, and is apparently now in love with OSGi. Every thing is "Build an OSGi bundle this, Equinox that".

Why? Me, of course. I don't know how SpringSource was able to build a complete OSGi-based application server in the short time I've had an interest in OSGi, but somehow they've done it. Kudos to you, SpringSource.

So if you find yourself wondering who to blame (or thank) for the general direction the world seems to be taking, I'm pretty sure it's me. Sorry about that. Or, you're welcome, depending on how things are going for you.


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