JBI: Is it, or isn't it, right for SOA?

Java Business Integration (JBI) continues to stir passions on the right and on the left.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Java Business Integration (JBI) continues to stir passions on the right and on the left. Here is what some leading thinkers are saying about the spec:

IONA's Steve Vinoski attempts to clear the air with this very explanative article on how JBI fits into an integration strategy: JBI "avoids trying to invent things—something standards should never try to do—and instead relies on existing standards, such as WSDL and JMX, and tried-and-true distributed computing approaches for message processing to bring some order to the world of business integration... JBI supports the principles of SOA, in part, by being an SOA itself... JBI’s authors also clearly knew well enough to avoid EAI’s technical failures, and they paid close attention to lessons learned from the Java Message Service (JMS) and J2EE Connector Architecture (JCA). The end result is that JBI is solid enough to support interoperable, enterprise-capable, and practical integration solutions, which ultimately is what an SOA aims to provide. "

However, innoQ's Stefan Tilkov provides this very to-the-point observation: "I think a lot of the confusion around JBI is due to the amazingly stupid name (making it sound as if you’d use JBI to integrate business apps), the fact that quite a few people pitch it as an 'SOA implementation' (which is stupid, since there can be no such thing in a vendor’s product, and certainly not in an all-Java solution) and idiotic lines like 'This JSR extends J2EE with business integration SPIs' (from the JSR home page) that are totally misleading."

Cape Clear's Annrai O'Toole weighs in on JBI in this post: "JBI, for all its worthy contribution is not the real thing. A real SOA starts and end with the collection of standards in Web services." O'Toole  observes the fact that neither IBM nor BEA has endorsed the specification. IBM has not endorsed JBI as an integration spec because JBI is not language-neutral, as Web services standards are. BEA says the JBI specification "is an incomplete attempt to standardize the interfaces between multi-vendor infrastructure and contributes little to the usefulness of the Java platform for business application integration."

IONA's Eric Newcomer took the middle ground, observing that JBI serves a different constituency than other integration mechanisms. "JBI and EJB are technically very different and no one should be thinking of one as an alternative for the other. JBI is entirely focused on an API for integration vendors. Application developers are unlikely to ever use it. EJBs on the other hand are squarely aimed at application developers and have nothing at all to do with enabling best of breed functionality for customers of integration technology."

Another view: PolarLake's Ronan Bradley is very pro-JBI, as captured in my previous post on the subject. 


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