New open source tools for managing micro containers, breathe in some Eclipse Oxygen, and JUnit 5 Milestone 5 has been released, on this episode of Java News and Code!

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New open source tools for micro containers

Containers are quickly becoming the de facto standard for deploying scalable, high performance applications in the cloud. And Docker is leading the way. But not everybody is completely satisfied with the way Docker solves the issues involved in container-based applications.

On June 29th, Oracle announced three new open source container utilities that address what they see as deficiencies in the container approach espoused by Docker.

The tools are available in GitHub, and are called Smith, used to build the containers. Crashcart, used to debug code within the containers. And Railcar, which is the container runtime.

So what are the issues?

Oracle cloud architect Vish Abrams outlines an approach to containers called “micro containers” in this post titled “The Microcontainer Manifesto and the Right Tool for the Job”

Abrams points out in the post that the microcontainer approach is not a new container system, but rather a new way to build, debug, and run containers. From what I can tell, the biggest issues seem to be the size of the Docker images – around 1GB on average. And issues related to security.

To address these issues requires new tools to build the containers (Smith), debug the code running within the microcontainer (Crashcart), and a new Runtime (Railcar).

It’s worth pointing out that while Smith uses yum and rpm repos as inputs to its build, it can also take an existing Docker container, and turn it into a micro container.

Of course, there’s no free lunch, and there are additional hoops to jump through to make that work. Like adding time to your existing build to beat through issues like pulling in configuration and data files, and setting up a unique user-namespace to make the containers more secure. Abrams claims it takes him usually no more than an hour to package an existing application into a microcontainer.

In the end, it seems like a lot of work to me.

Eclipse Oxygen is available

On June 28th, the latest release of Eclipse, code named Oxygen, was released.

Okay, so I have good news and bad news…

The good news is Oxygen contains the hard work and efforts of contributors to 83 open source projects like

  • Eclipse BPEL Designer
  • Eclipse Mylyn
  • Eclipse Web Tools Platform Project

And many more. All of these projects are released as open source, and the Oxygen release culminates with a new release of the Eclipse IDE.

The bad news is that Eclipse Oxygen does not include Native support for Java 9. But all is not lost.

For the not-so faint-of-heart, there is a work around. It’s lengthy and has somewhat cryptic instructions, but from what I can tell from the comments, it looks like the instructions are solid.

So if you’re interested in adding native Java 9 support to Oxygen, check that out.

To download Oxygen, go to this link and click on Download.

Unit 5 Milestone 5 has been released

JUnit 5 Milestone 5 was released on July 4th.

Included in this milestone are:

Jigsaw Automatic module support

Lots of bug fixes

The usual spate of breaking changes (this is a milestone release, not a GA release, after all)

@BeforeAll and @AfterAll are no longer required to be static


In this episode’s code talkthrough, I want to walk through a couple of really cool new features available in JUnit 5:

  • Parameterized Tests
  • Dynamic Tests

The code I’ll be walking through is available in GitHub.

To follow along, you’ll need to have Eclipse, a Maven plugin for Eclipse and Git installed on your computer.

For today’s code talkthrough I’m using Eclipse Oxygen, M2E 1.8 and Git 2.11.0 for Mac.



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