The MicroProfile community is thriving and always on the lookout for new members to join the family. Recently Alex Lewis, showed up and contributed to the Microprofile Logging thread, which lead to him joining the next Community Hangout.
During that call, we asked Alex if he was ok with being interviewed to share his experience joining the community. Edwin Derks volunteered to pilot the very first MicroProfiler to MicroProfiler onboarding interview showing the simple, open, candid & informal philosophy that defines MicroProfilers.
This community cares about its ecosystem and will do its best to keep the hurdles of those getting involved as low as possible.
Introducing Alex Lewis
Alex has been a developer for 17 years and counting. Although having grown into more of a manager position over the years, he still gets to actual coding frequently. In his spare time, he often works on pet projects to explore new technologies and sharpen his skills, like working with Kubernetes. Especially experimenting with deploying wars and standalone jars sparked his interest in MicroProfile and was one of the decisive factors to join the MicroProfile community.
Background in Java EE
Although Alex is not a Java EE developer per se, his knowledge grew predominantly through applying this framework in personal projects. In all honesty, he admits that the early days of J2EE were sometimes a bit frustrating because of varying issues encountered with the platforms at that time. But, he says, this all changed from Java EE 6 on and his interest in working with Java EE grew. As of today, having a feature rich Java/Jakarta EE 8 and MicroProfile available, the combination of these platforms are a go-to solution for his projects.
For this reason, Alex has been circulating MicroProfile within his own company to consider as a possible replacement for Tomcat & Spring solutions, for example. Currently he is applying MicroProfile in a pet project where he is using the mp-config and mp-health specifications, with the intention of also using mp-fault-tolerance. In the near-term, mp-metrics will likely be introduced as well while adding new features to his project. In the longer term, he will be investigating mp-jwt-authentication and possibly mp-openapi. Note that this is in addition to the typical CDI, JSON-B, JAX-RS, etc. which he already uses.
This perfectly displays that MicroProfile can be used as an extension to traditional Java / Jakarta EE in order to make it fit in cloud-native environments. One of the key benefits that therefore still applies, is that application portability is increased due to working against the MicroProfile specifications. It provides some safety for the application, should a platform switch become desirable/necessary.
The application is also using a Message Queue/Bus (RabbitMQ), He’s keeping an eye on the evolution of the MicroProfile “messaging” targeted specifications, in order to determine if these also can become beneficial to him and his project.
Thoughts on MicroProfile
MicroProfile provides small and focused specifications to address common concerns for application developers. This aspect is very appealing to Alex, especially the benefit that the framework moves much more quickly than traditional Java EE. That, combined with the apparent interest from the Application Server vendors to adopt those specifications, convinced Alex that MicroProfile is providing value very quickly.
Although MicroProfile in its definition is focused on the needs of microservices, Alex could see no reason why they don’t apply to applications that may not typically fit that definition. He sees a “monolith” benefitting from MicroProfile as much as a microservice. MicroProfile doesn’t force a specific application architecture which he thinks is one of the key benefits.
In this regard, he noticed that the community appears to be highly committed and engaged. This ranges from individuals to platform vendors. According to Alex, seeing direct and frequent engagement from people representing those vendors is nice to see, whether that’s in a Google Group, on Twitter, or any other channel being used.
Getting in touch with the MicroProfile Community
Alex joined the community after having received an invitation to the bi-weekly hangout. He finds it positive to see a call like this being held. Over the years, he’s joined several discussion groups for open source projects, but did not find that to be hugely engaging. He adds that it may just be a reflection of the time investment that he was able to put into those groups. Having a live community hangout for MicroProfile available that he can sit in on feels inclusive, especially for newcomers to MicroProfile like himself.
The exact topic Alex posted about on the Google Group was regarding logging related questions and enhancements. When he was asked to speak up on this topic in the community hangout was surprising to him, to say the least! As that particular call was mainly discussing community engagement and newcomer process, this item suddenly popping up on the agenda came quite out of the blue. Especially since he happened to be a newcomer that only had participated in the Google Group very recently. Looking back on this, he did not find the process overwhelming since he is used to these kind of calls, and speaking to new people due to the nature of his job. In the end, he found the participants on the call very welcoming which made his participation that much easier and less daunting.
Alex also states that as the meeting invite came somewhat out of the blue, he did not know what to expect from the call. He had made the assumption that by the nature of the invite, he was welcome to attend but he was certainly not expecting to participate. He had expected to join a few meetings to get a feeling for how the participation worked, at some point finding the courage to chime in. That process might have been somewhat fast-tracked but it turned out well in the end, and Alex became a welcomed member of the community.
Alex mentions that his time in the community has somewhat been limited so far. He’s not been able to engage a great deal outside of the thread he started regarding logging enhancements, but this is something he intends to change. Like any open community, there is a wide mix of personalities and opinions, but there is no pressure on anyone to deliver more value than they can provide.
Having said that, until now Alex has had a positive experience in the community where everyone has been polite and constructive. He finds it also nice to see regular involvement and engagement within the community from those that have influence over the MicroProfile process, along with everyone else wanting to be involved. In that regard it doesn’t matter if that’s contributing to existing threads, starting new ones, or just venting ideas or showing prototypes to solve specific problems.
This level of engagement makes him feel like it is worthwhile to be involved. As his involvement with anything MicroProfile related is done in his spare time, he has to choose wisely so that time isn’t wasted. From his involvement so far, the experience confirms that it is worthwhile to continue to be involved, and that it’s possible for him to have an impact. Regardless of the nature of his input, or how big.
Coming back to the logging related thread that Alex posted, he plans to create a sandbox specification and take it from there to see where it ends. His intention is, of course, also to provide input on other specifications as well. He’s also thinking about setting up a blog, since that is something he’s toyed with over the years, but never really committed to. This thought is frequently on his mind recently, and MicroProfile related topics may be a good place to start. If you ask people that know him, he’s sure they’d say that he also could fill a talk for an hour or two. However, this is not something he’s challenged himself to do as of yet, but who knows…
Alex would like to shout out to all interested developers to get involved in the MicroProfile Google Group. Further, join the community hangout/call at least once, if you are able. Remember that the community hangout is a great way to put faces to names and learn about the process and upcoming releases.
He finds that he was warmly welcomed, and so will you be. If you have an idea or a suggestion for the MicroProfile community, don’t keep it to yourself. If for some reason, it doesn’t go anywhere, the experience is still worth it. Otherwise, you’ve helped make MicroProfile that bit better and provided real value that many other developers will benefit from.