Red Hat: Let OpenShift cloud compile your Java apps

Compile code from a crap laptop at the beach bar

Red Hat doesn't just want to run your apps on its OpenShift cloud. It wants you to code, compile, tweak, and repeat the process on its cloud until you get the applications just right and get rid of that workstation or heavy laptop you lug around.

OpenShift is the platform-as-a-service cloud that Red Hat announced back in May to compete against Microsoft's Azure and Google's App Engine. OpenShift Express, which is the base version of the platform cloud, supports Ruby, PHP, and Python applications and runs on Amazon's EC2 compute cloud. OpenShift Flex adds MySQL and MongoDB data stores as well as JBoss and Tomcat middleware, Memcached for Web caching, and other features. OpenShift Power edition which includes an image configuration system that knows how to deploy to EC2 (which is based on a modified Xen hypervisor) and, soon, IBM's SmartCloud infrastructure cloud. OpenShift Express is free and does not have a service level agreement, while the other two will not be free but will have a service level agreement when they go into production. The main point about a platform cloud is that it automatically scales resources as required by workloads.

Isaac Roth is PaaS master at Red Hat, and he tells El Reg that OpenShift will come out of development preview in mid-2012.

The tweaks to OpenShift that Red Hat is announcing today extend the platform cloud to become a build-as-a-service, or BaaS cloud. (Like we need another ugly abbreviation in the world.) To that end, Red Hat is embedding the Jenkins open source build service into the OpenShift cloud. (Jenkins is a fork of the open source project controlled by Oracle called Hudson, which has been a source of controversy this year.) OpenShift is also getting support for Maven, which does application dependency checking as well as handling reporting and documentation for apps. And finally, OpenShift is being integrated with the JBoss Tools integrated development environment from Red Hat.

When you add it all up, explains Roth, now all of the things that you do locally when you create and compile an application – loading libraries from a repository, dependency resolution for those libraries, compilation of the code, assembly of the application, and deploying WAR files to working servers – is all done by OpenShift automagically in the platform cloud. And because you are compiling and building in the cloud itself, there are no WAR files to move every time you make a code change.

"Programmers can now use a lighter, simpler workstation and can work in more remote locations," says Roth. Moreover, compilations are very likely going to be faster, and rather than having to reload whole stacks of finished code out to a cloud, now you simply log into the JBoss Tools, tweak the code, and only the changed code is transmitted up to the OpenShift cloud, which then quickly goes through the build process again. "Now you can code at the beach or the bar," says Roth with a laugh. "This is a great lifestyle change. And you can also make more changes to the code faster."

The OpenShift build service will require JBoss Application Server 7 on the cloud and JBoss Tools 3.3 M4 on the developer workstations, which is free. ®

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