GlassFish 3 vs. JBoss 6 - Is the Web Profile ready for the Enterprise?

Markus Eisele
Wow. We still are in the holiday season and the emotions rise with the announcement of the latest JBoss AS 6 release. My valued friend Arun Gupta did a post about "Which Java EE 6 App Server ? - JBoss 6.0 or GlassFish 3.x" a few days ago an today Anil responded with JBoss AS6 vs Glassfish 3.x. It's obvious that even both names GlassFish and JBoss are mentioned in the topics and the discussion seems to be about having clustering support or a well documented users guide, I believe, that all this is basically about the value of the Java EE 6 Web Profile for Enterprise Applications.

What's the Web Profile?
If you refer to my post from last year, its thought of as a minimal specification, so a vendor is free to add additional services in their concrete implementation. A more complete comparison about what's contained in it could be found on
Some of the most basic parts of Java EE are missing in it. Some very important parts are:
- JAX-WS 2.2
- JMS 1.1
- JavaMail 1.4
- Full EJB 3.1 API
Even if @AdamBien states, that "webprofile + JAX-RS + JMS -> should be sufficient for 90% of all projects." I personally believe, that there is more missing. One very simple example are the TimerBeans, that simply are not contained in the EJB 3.1 lite version. Same is true for JavaMail. Tell me about any application not sending some kind of mail to it's users.

What does Enterprise Software development mean?
Beside the technical parts, there obviously is more to enterprise grade software development. Essential parts are:
Having ...
- a stable Vendor
- a strong history and many references
- a suitable documentation for the products
- the option to buy any kind of support with according SLAs
- the option to integrate the products into the existing environments.
And many others. I know about comparison sheets containing more than 500 points for one individual enterprise.....

So, now: What's the right decision: JBoss or GlassFish?
Having all this in mind and trying to compare both distributions, it simply is clear, that the JBoss AS 6 release is a Web Profile only version. GlassFish 3.x is a Java EE 6 full stack implementation. Beside this there are obvious differences in the other parts, I consider important for enterprise grade usage. Everybody is free to make it's own comparison on the relevant parts for both servers. Without being able to make this too detailed for public reference I can state, that for now and the actual available releases of both servers GlassFish is the leader in terms of being suitable for an enterprise grade production environment relying on Java EE 6. And this is explicitly not a comment on technical quality or even the vendor. It's simply my own opinion about Web Profile vs. Full Stack and their use within the enterprise.

For me, this would be a great point to focus again. JBoss guys on quickly developing and delivering their full stack version and Oracle to proof that they are willing to stabilize the Java EE and GlassFish community and push their product forward.

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  1. Markus, JBoss AS6 is certified for web profile. But we do have the full feature set but did not bother to get them certified. Most of the features have been baked over years by the JBoss AS community. We did not invent a brand new JBoss AS6 just for the web profile. Please make that clarification.

  2. Anil, thanks for your comment! You are obviously right. And I try explizitly not to talk about technical capabilities too much here. Everything is about enterprise needs. And having a Java EE 6 certificated and supported platform makes a hugh difference for companies in general. This is the point where it is completely valid to ask if it makes sense to have a) a Web Profile and b) a Web Profile only certified server. Everything with a straight focus on enterprise needs.
    If I should make a recommendation. Provide a comparisson matrix, which shows which partts are are theere and explain why its still not completely ccertified...

  3. >> it simply is clear, that the JBoss AS 6 release is a Web Profile only version.

    Markus, you are wrong. Go a look at AS 6 and tell us what us missing from the "Full Stack".

    - Rich Sharples

  4. Rich, thanks for your comment. This is not about the number of spec impls contained but about the level of certification. Its not a full Java EE 6 certified version. That's all. This post tries to question the need for both. web profile and seperate certification. I guess, I did a bad job, pointing this out corectely. Sorry,

  5. To Rich & Anil: JBoss was wasting its time BOTHERING to get the JBoss AS certified for web profile. JBoss should use that time to move Seam/CDI-related projects out of alpha/beta phases. JBoss can save some more time by abandoning the CDI TCK. Nothing needs to be certified nowsaday.

  6. Thanks for the post Markus. I completely agree with you. A uncertified Java EE server is good for playing but not for enterprise.

    Also I agree with your views on web profile.

  7. Toi, thanks for your comment. I strongly believe, that certification is key to enterprise needs. And this does not only include the Java EE server certification but also every single TCK in Java EE. Certification is the only guarantee on having a rich ecosystem of independent but similar working implementations. If your comment refers to the quality of one or the other TCK, I might be with you. There are some, that could be improved.

  8. I would like a comparison between jboss AS7 and glassfish. From what I know of AS7, it is clearly more than a web profile.

  9. Smithy,

    I would love to do a couple of comparissons in the future. Stay curious and thanks for visiting!


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