Enterprise Java

WildFly 8.0.0.Alpha1 release and a bit of history

It’s been around 2 weeks now since we released WildFly 8.0.0.Alpha1 version. The download is available on the WildFly downloads page. I’m sure many of you might be wondering what WildFly is and some of you who are aware of what it is, might not be aware that there has been a release. I’ll try and answer some of these questions and also add some details about what this release contains.

So what’s WildFly?

WildFly is the new name for the community project which was previously known as JBoss

Application Server. Late in 2012, we decided that we had to rename the community project, JBoss Application Server, to something else. As part of that (long drawn out) process, community members were asked to suggest new names and a few selected names were voted to select the new name. Ultimately, WildFly turned out to be the winner.

Why did we change the name?

JBoss Application Server (both the name and the project) has been a very popular project over the years. Initially when it started off, it was known simply as JBoss. Anytime anyone referred to the name JBoss, people knew that they were talking about the JBoss Application Server community edition. Over the years though, the reference started to get hazy. The community edition JBoss Application Server also has a paid and fully supported version known as JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (JBoss EAP). Notice the “JBoss” name in there? So there’s JBoss Application Server community edition and then there’s JBoss EAP paid version. It did not stop there! Over the years, various community projects hosted at jboss.org started naming their projects with the name “JBoss” in it. So there was “JBoss ESB”, “JBoss Transactions”, “JBoss Messaging” and many such projects with the name “JBoss” in it. It’s certainly no fault of those projects that they used “JBoss” as part of the name. It did make sense to use that name, since those projects were developed by JBoss community members. By the way, did you just notice the name “JBoss” even means a reference to the JBoss community as a whole?

So I guess at this point you might have realized where I’m headed with all this historical evidence. Clearly, the name “JBoss” had started to mean much more than just the JBoss Application Server community project. Although it was good thing from a brand point of view, it clearly wasn’t too good from various other aspects. We had started seeing too much confusion about what each project/product stood for not just from a name point of view but also a release roadmap point of view. Take for example JBoss Application Server and JBoss EAP – users, typically those who are more busy with their application (rightly so) than trying to understand what each variant of project/product with the name “JBoss” in it meant, were just not sure which one to pick and which release of those had what features in it. Of course, it would take some explanation to help them understand this, but doing this on a regular basis was a clear sign that this isn’t the right way forward.

So slowly during the past few years, there has been a conscious decision not to name new projects with “JBoss” in its name and also to rename some of the existing projects wherever possible. So for example, when “JBoss Messaging” project decided to release a completely new and better version, the project decided to name it “HornetQ”. Similarly, JBoss Transactions is now known as Narayana. There are various examples of such renames and new names. Obviously, doing the same for JBoss Application Server would need some time and extra efforts since it was a really huge change for various reasons. But it had to be done ultimately and that’s why it’s now WildFly.

So what happens to the “JBoss” name in JBoss EAP?

The rename is only for the JBoss Application Server community edition. The paid version is still named JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (JBoss EAP). Since one of the original intentions of the rename was to clear the confusion between JBoss Application Server community edition and similar named JBoss EAP, the name change only applies to the community edition. So ultimately, over time, when someone refers to WildFly, we clearly know they are talking about the community project and very specifically the application server project.

How does WildFly 8.0.0.Alpha1 release relate to the previous JBoss AS7 releases?

WildFly 8.0.0.Alpha1 is the continuation of the release cycle of the application server community edition, which was previously known as JBoss AS7. The last release of JBoss AS7 was 7.1.1.Final (way back in March 2012) and WildFly 8.0.0.Alpha1 is now the next release of the same project with the new name.

Is WildFly 8.0.0.Alpha1 a release of a new project?

I know I already answered a variant of this question earlier, but I wanted to include the answer to this differently worded question too since I wanted it to be very clear that WildFly is just a rename of JBoss Application Server. It is
not a new project. So WildFly 8.0.0.Alpha1 release is the continuation of the release cycle of the previously named JBoss Application Server project.

What’s new in 8.0.0.Alpha1 release?

Now that we have addressed what WildFly is and a history around the name change, let’s focus on the release itself. Some time back, Jason, the project lead of WildFly, listed down the goals of WildFly 8 release in the 2 dev mailing list threads here:

So those are the goals and the schedule for WildFly 8.

WildFly 8.0.0.Alpha1 is the first milestone towards that. The release contains some of the new Java EE7 features, a new web server implementation named Undertow (as a replacement to JBossWeb web server) and some other new features. Of course, it also contains numerous bug fixes and since the previous release was more than a year back, the number of bug fixes are huge. Jason has summarized the WildFly 8.0.0.Alpha1 release in the dev mailing thread here http://lists.jboss.org/pipermail/wildfly-dev/2013-May/000139.html.

Please download this new version and give it a try. Like always, any feedback, questions or asking for help is always welcome in our WildFly user forums.

What’s next for WildFly?

Like Jason noted in the WildFly 8 release schedule thread, we plan to push out a release almost every other month with the goal of having a 8.0.0.Final version at the end of this year. So, like with all the help that the community provided during AS7 releases:

please continue to do the same for WildFly releases.

In the coming weeks/months, we plan to blog more about the WildFly releases and the technologies that the WildFly runtime supports. In fact, Jason has asked in this dev mailing list thread http://lists.jboss.org/pipermail/wildfly-dev/2013-May/000144.html whether the community members will be willing to blog too. That’s another way of contributing too. So if you have any blogs that you have written or plan to write on WildFly, do let us know about it in that thread.

Those of you who want to try out the nightly builds of WildFly, can get it from our continuous integration job mentioned here https://community.jboss.org/thread/224262.

By the way, what’s that image at the beginning of this article?

Thanks for noticing! That’s the logo for WildFly which the jboss.org team of artists (yeah, we do have team for that) helped us come up with. Like it?

Jaikiran Pai

Jaikiran works for Red Hat and is a developer in the JBoss application server development team. He's one of the authors of "JBoss AS Getting Started" DZone RefCard. When he's not doing anything JBoss related, you can usually find him at JavaRanch, in his role as a Sheriff(Moderator). He blogs at jaitechwriteups
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