Having posted on WebSphere Service Registry and Repository yesterday, I thought it was a little unfair that, despite being out for a while now, I haven’t mentioned Version 6.1 of WebSphere Application Server. Robby Peterson has a developerWorks article providing an overview of the new features so I shan’t list them all here. I will, however, pick out a few that I think are important/interesting and then blog again on some of the new functionality brought to you by my development colleagues in Hursley.
After installing the product, the first big changes you’ll experience are in the profile creation tool. It’s great, for example, to see a simple option for creating an entire Network Deployment setup (one profile for the deployment manager and another with node agent and federated server) something that I have to do frequently.
Perhaps the biggest change though is that security for the administration console has now been separated from global security, and is enabled by default with a file based user registry. There’s now no excuse to have an insecure application server even in your development environment. Keys has an article covering all that’s new in the area of security.
Once you have a server up and running, next step is to log in to the administration console. This is now based on the Integrated Solution Console which will eventually enable you to administer other products from the same console. People will undoubtedly complain that some of the panels have been we-arranged but, on the whole, things are now much more logical. There are lots of minor improvements which make the console much more usable. For example, you can now view all resources of a particular type, no matter what scope they are at, and when you create a JDBC provider, the wizard will set all the necessary environment variables as you go.
Next, I’ll turn to the tooling. The Application Server Toolkit (AST) has taken on a new lease of life with the addition of J2EE and Web perspectives. AST can now be used, not only for deployment, but also for application development (although, not unsurprisingly, the Rational products will still offer a super-set of this functionality). The AST also has lots in it for the administrator with the ability to edit Jython scripts (complete with syntax highlighting and command completion) and also run (and debug) them against a remote application server. Oh, and bliss, you can actually see the logs of a server as it starts up!
On the performance front, you can expect big improvements from the move to a new JVM and the Web service performance continues to improve with a faster parser and enhancements to the attachments (SAAJ) and SOAP/JMS support.
Finally, for the developer there are lots of new goodies: a JSF widget library, WS-Notification, WS-Business Activity, WS-I Basic Security Profile, SIP support and not forgetting all the new features of Java 5.