Interview: Javier Paniza on OpenXava and Open Source

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 15, 2008

Are you familiar with OpenXava? Not everyone is, but it has big fans in the Java development community. It's a popular web application framework for developing business applications. It generates Java (JavaEE/J2EE) web applications that can be deployed on any Java Portal Server as portlet applications. OpenXava is noted for saving developers programming time by delivering business components that they can adjust, rather than making them build applications from the ground up. Javier Paniza, Creator and Lead Developer, checked in with us on where OpenXava is going and other open source goings on.

OStatic: A lot has been said about the reason people contribute to Open Source.  What are your reasons for getting involved?

Javier Paniza: I initally created this project because I was obsessed by the idea of being productive in creating business applications using Java and OOP. Java is very portable and scalable, but is not productive in development terms. That's especially true if you compare it with the traditional alternatives, such as 4GL, RPG, Visual Basic, etc. OpenXava achieves this goal: productivity with Java for creating business applications.

OStatic: What technologies does OpenXava use?

Javier Paniza: OpenXava is a model-driven framework. That is, you write your model classes, the Java classes that represent the business concepts, and OpenXava provides you a complete application, ready for production. The base source for the applications is Java POJOs annotated with Java annotations. The application you end up with is a Java Web application deployable on any Java application server. OpenXava also generates Java Portlets (JSR-168) deployabled in any Java Portal (such as Liferay, Jetspeed or WebSphere Portal). Since version 3.1 (now in beta), it supports AJAX.

OStatic: What products are your closest alternatives?  What advantages/disadvantages does OpenXava have compared to them?

Javier Paniza: With regard to NakedObjects, and RomaFramework, OpenXava uses Java POJOs with JPA (standard and very common) while these frameworks use propietary conventions. OpenXava also has better layout possibilites. OpenXava produces portal applications while these frameworks produces plain web applications. Regarding JMatter, it also uses propietary conventions. OpenXava produces web and portal applications while JMatter produces desktop applications. Trails is another alternative, but OpenXava has better layout possibilites.

OStatic: Who is your typical user?

Javier Paniza: Java developers that want to develop business applications using Java EE, looking for productivity.

Javier Paniza: Version 3.1 will suport AJAX. Version 3.2 will have a more rich UI by means of a JavaScript toolkit, maybe jQuery UI, Dojo, YUI or Scriptaculous. There are a lot of exciting possibilities for version 4.0, but the shape of the version 4 is not defined yet, it depenss on the comunity feedbackand work.

OStatic: How would you say OpenXava benefits from being open source?

Javier Paniza: The benefits have been great, and very sweet. OpenXava evolved from a project used by 5 to 10 developers and developed by only one--me--to a project with more than 20 committers and used all around the globe, with more than 70,000 downloads now.

OStatic: How have you monetized your project thus far?

Javier Paniza: OpenXava has no business model. Indeed, a true open source project cannot have a business model because an open source project is not from a company or individual, but a creation shared by a community. On the other hand, it's possible for a company to have a business model around an open source project, but this was  not the case until now for OpenXava. Currently it is used inside Gestión 400 for creating the commercial business applications that Gestión 400 sells, and in exchange Gestión 400 sponsors OpenXava as open source project. Also, recently some companies have asked us for training on OpenXava.

OStatic: Thanks, Javier.