Behind the Curtain
One area that hasn’t been discussed very much on this blog is the core technology behind our products. Our massive commitment to open source has also had profound technological implications for Orange Leap. As a member of the development team behind the products, I want to use this blog to share with the community some of the choices we’ve made and why.
One of the first questions we get asked by our technically-inclined community members is about our core technology platform. For Orange Leap and The Guru, we made a pretty dramatic break from our past platform. Our MPX product was built on the Microsoft .NET framework. For the new products, the choice was made to change to Java.
Why Java? There were several reasons for it. First of all, Java runs on about every platform under the sun. This mattered a lot to us. At Orange Leap, we’re a pretty big Mac shop. I’m one of the only “savages” on the dev team running a Windows Vista notebook. All the other Java developers use 17″ Macbook Pros, including Leo, our CTO. Even Randy has converted to Mac. Our deployment environment is Redhat Linux. All these operating systems, Windows, Mac and Linux, have excellent Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) available.
The open source Java ecosystem is also much more diverse than any of the other technology possibilities. With server-side Java, there is not one best way to do things, there are a dozen ways. And each of the supporting frameworks is undergoing constant improvement to keep up with the competition.
Finally, Java is a stable, secure, mature platform highly suited to team software development of complex systems. It has proven itself in thousands of enterprise applications. The inside joke is that Java is the new Cobol. It might not have the glamour of some of the shiny new frameworks, but it is a reliable known quantity — and it is still a lot of fun to code with.
Next time, I’ll discuss the next layer up our stack: Tomcat and the Spring Framework.