Cote’ posted an article recently discussing the possible death of J2EE (Andy Piper, another blogger from here in Hursley, has noticed this too). It’s pretty hard to assess the likelihood of that happening, and I’m not sure I’m in a position to comment. However, it’s probably truthful to say that J2EE is a complex platform to get to grips with. In a sense, J2EE, although a standard and a platform, has always really been Java plus some other stuff (EJBs, Web Services, Servlets, JDBC, JMS, etc.) rather than a single entity. This means you really need to be able to claim an understanding of all of these to fully ‘get’ J2EE.
However, I feel this is one area where products such as WebSphere ESB can help. ESB builds on top of WebSphere Application Server, which is IBM’s primary implemention of a J2EE-based server. ESB allows mediation - i.e. modifying the content of Web Services, JMS-based messaging, and so on - without having to worry about a lot of the J2EE world. In fact, under-the-covers, ESB mediation modules are EJB applications that are Web Services clients, JMS clients, and so on (and this is easy to see if you know something about J2EE), but normally this is all handled by WebSphere Integration Developer and ESB without the need for understanding the nitty-gritty or doing any programming.
So it will be interesting to see software like ESB, which is enabling the development of SOAs without fully understanding J2EE, will affect the J2EE landscape. Perhaps it will be able to stay as-is and will become another layer that many people don’t want to concern themselves with. Time will tell.