Sun buys ICEsoft to Become Technical Leader in Enterprise AJAX?

Besides all the rumors, that IBM will buy Sun, there are activities going on that may change the Open Source landscape in the near future. AJAX and JSF got a lot of momentum the last year, but Sun gave up Woodstock, their own implementation in this field. With JSF 2.0 AJAX becomes an important part of JEE Web frontend development. Sun has partnered with ICEsoft to deliver a smooth migration path to its customers. So, will Sun have another marriage with an Open Source vendor after buying MySQL?

Last night I found a post in the ICEfaces forum that announced that Sun is deepen the relationship to ICEsoft. For short, they are going to buy ICEsoft. This post disappeared a little later. It seems that this was a mistake by the forum administrator and the publishing occurred a little bit too early. You may think of a hasty April Fool’s joke. But, this makes no sense when you have a look at the Woodstock announcement.

The past has shown that it is not unusual to Sun to buy an Open Source vendor who can deliver key technology for their software stack or helps to compete in certain markets. ICEsoft is a brilliant candidate for a takeover. They were chosen by Sun to replace the existing Woodstock installations. So, Sun’s customer base already got into contact with the ICEfaces framework. The takeover will increase the trust in Sun’s decision to skip Woodstock in favor of ICEfaces.

ICEsoft delivers a pretty cool JSF implementation. They are fully compliant to Sun’s JSF RI 1.2 and already on the way to support JSF 2.0. Exceptional with ICEfaces is its usage of AJAX, especially the push technology. There’s no framework out there that delivers a similar programming model and such a tight integration with the common application servers.

Sun’s Glassfish is a key player in ICEsoft’s integration strategy. The same is true for IDE support with Netbeans. So, a takeover delivers a product portfolio that doesn’t need much integration effort to become useful for Sun customers pretty soon.

Such a high quality and full-blown JSF software stack, or AJAX software stack, if you like to follow the marketing bubbles, would help Sun to push JSF on Glassfish and would establish ICEsoft’s AJAX push as an industry standard. ICEfaces already has a momentum. So, finally this combination could become the technical leader in JSF and AJAX implementations.

From the Open Source perspective this marriage has a lot of advantages. Established and highly integrated Open Source technologies deliver a counter balance to patchwork and integration nightmares.

There’s only one serious competitor to a Sun/ICEsoft stack: Red Hat’s JBoss with its Exadel-based IDE and the RichFaces framework. With the announcement of GWT support even Seam becomes more interesting in the AJAX field.

But, looking at all this, I’ve to admit that this post is indeed an April Fool’s joke ;-).

Filed under: Fun