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Red Hat has announced that its OpenShift developer cloud now handles Java Enterprise Edition 6, boasting that this is the first "platform-as-as-service" to do so.

An online service for building, hosting, and readily-scaling applications, OpenShift is akin to Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure, and Cloud Foundry, the new open source offering from Red Hat-arch-rival VMware. Uncloaked this past May, Red Hat's service runs atop Amazon's EC2 infrastructure cloud, and it's available in two different forms: the free OpenShift Express and the beefier OpenShift Flex, which is available as a free trial but eventually requires fees for Amazon usage.

OpenShift handles Java EE 6 by way of Red Hat's JBoss Application Server 7, which serves as the basis for the company's JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 6, due for official release next year. When OpenShift first launched, its Flex incarnation used JBoss Application Server 6, the previous version. JBoss Application Server 7 is now running on both OpenShift Express and OpenShift Flex.

"This is not only the first real enterprise PaaS, but it's the first one that is EE6 compliant!" wrties JBoss community man Mark Little. "I've been developing on it for weeks and the first thing you notice compared to some other PaaS implementations is the boot time: it's so quick that deploying on to OpenShift is almost as quick as deploying locally! (OK, network speeds notwithstanding.)"

In a video here, RedHat takes an application built with Eclipse, deploys it to a local JBoss app server, and then deploys the same WAR file to OpenShift.

With JBoss Application Server 7 and Java EE 6 in place, the service also welcomes Java Contexts and Dependency Injection (CDI, aka JSR-299), a new Java EE 6 programming model designed to make app development less restrictive. "Content and Dependency Injection...picks up where Spring started getting a little crusty," writes Red Hat "PaaS Master" Issac Roth.

"It's more then a framework, it's a rich programming model. CDI makes Java application development less restrictive and is much more extensible compared to Spring. In terms of developer productivity, it leap frogs some of the earlier frameworks and it's an open standard."

But if you prefer Spring, OpenShift can run Spring as well. It also handles Ruby, Python, Perl, and PHP, and it plays with MySQL, SQLite, MongoDB, MemBase, and Memcache. ®

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