Monday, August 18, 2008

Apache Geronimo, Still Interesting, Still Troubling

I tried Apache Geronimo a little bit in the 1.0 era, mostly just to see what all the talk was about. It looked like it had some interesting concepts, but had a lot of rough edges, and for the most part, I get along with simple web containers like Tomcat, so I stopped playing with it.

I recently had the need to fire up an integration test with a web container and messaging queue, so I thought I'd try Apache Geronimo again, see if it was the right tool for the job. So, Wednesday morning, I took a quick peek at Cargo's integration for Geronimo, and decided it was unsuitable, then spent the remainder of the day with the Geronimo plugin. There were a few minor documentation warts, nothing serious, but enough to delay me 'til mid-morning on Thursday while I sorted it all out.

By Thursday end-of-day, I had a Maven configuration that would start up Geronimo before the integration tests and tear it down afterwards. That seemed to work fine, but deploying our applications to Geronimo didn't.

I took the first part of Friday to re-verify that Tomcat 6.X and ActiveMQ could, independently of Geronimo, deploy and functionally test our modules, and, yes, they could. The rest of Friday was spent trying to make Geronimo do the same, either geronimo-jetty6-javaee5, geronimo-tomcat6-javaee5 or a custom assembly. Every configuration we tried had some subtle inability to either deploy or startup several of our modules.

Now, I can't blame Geronimo outright -- I don't know what the problem is, there could be some issues with our WARs that don't show up in our usual deployments, or some problem with one of the many modules that Geronimo includes, but ultimately, if it takes more than a day to deploy a few WARs in an application server, I'm starting to be a little concerned.

Geronimo has some interesting ideas, but I end up feeling like it still has too many rough edges for me. Maybe I'll try again with 3.X?


Anonymous said...

Most likely a configuration issue. Post a question on forum. The developers are fair responsive.

Anonymous said...

probably a petty thing, I agree with the previous comment, the developers on the Geronimo site are responsive and should be able to help you.

Geoffrey Wiseman said...

Oh, I certainly did ask, and although the developers were generally pretty responsive to questions over the few days I tried to get Geronimo into place, this particular problem didn't get a lot of traction.

That said, more than anything, I just don't have more time to put into it. We were able to have the ActiveMQ Maven Plugin and Tomcat/Cargo do our integration testing and were able to put that together in a matter of hours, whereas the same job took three days with Geronimo and still didn't work.

Ultimately, we may consider Geronimo again in the future, but for now, it's more trouble than it's worth, particularly compared to other application server options.