The MicroProfile community is thriving and always on the lookout for new members to join the family. This Open Source community cares about its members and will do its best to keep the hurdles of getting involved as low as possible.

We asked Edwin to be interviewed (git issue) to share his experience about on-boarding into MicroProfile with David Salter as the interviewer. Edwin’s interview provides a valuable input in optimizing the welcoming process and hopefully inspires you to join as a member too if you are not one already.

Introducing Edwin Derks

Edwin Derks is a Software Architect from Ordina JTech. He has a passion for gathering and sharing knowledge about anything related to the Java ecosystem and cloud-driven development in general. He is a member of the Eclipse MicroProfile and Jakarta EE community, and is often hosting meetups, writing articles, blogs and speaking at conferences.

Background in Java EE

Edwin’s professional career as a Java Developer started in 2007 after graduating. At the time, he didn’t have much experience with programming since he had switched from studying System Administration. The school was teaching Java and his internship project for graduation was Java-based, he decided to stick with Java and hone his skills. Since then, Edwin has taken off as a Java professional, growing up and evolving with the Java ecosystem – and still loving it!

Java based projects have been the trend of Edwin’s career. He has never really been “outside” the Java ecosystem, having only touched some frontend technologies (HTML, JS, CSS), Flash/Flex and PHP, but never really honed his skills there. The Java projects that he did however, were of ample diversity.

Edwin started with building Swing desktop applications in Java 1.5. These projects were fun to do, and he learned a lot about Java, OO programming and design patterns. Even today, Swing is Edwin’s guilty pleasure in Java programming, even though it is now in maintenance mode in the JDK.  He has a pet project with a Swing GUI that is updated as Java evolves. When Java 8 came out, Edwin swept through the code, replacing many action handlers with Lambdas and default methods, making the code shrink significantly, and of course, more readable.

After the Swing based projects ended, Edwin moved to Java EE based projects that ran on RedHat JBoss. There, he learnt how to build, evolve and maintain enterprise applications that made his love grow not just for Java, but also for Java EE. During that time, Edwin also started to visit conferences, where new features for Java EE 5 and later were introduced. He was lucky to have the opportunity to actually adopt these new features in the projects as they continued.

In the meantime, he completed a few Spring Framework based projects, and learnt how to deploy applications in the cloud, enabling scalability of enterprise software and automated deployments, applying microservice architectures and even serverless solutions. This allowed Edwin to see Java EE in a broader context with other frameworks and better understand how it fits into present-day software solutions.

Now Java EE is going to be superseded by Jakarta EE and will receive a fresh start to evolve further under the Eclipse Foundation’s stewardship. It’s mission is to become a solid fit for cloud-native enterprise applications. How that will turn out is to be seen, and Edwin is going to continue along with this process.

“But here’s the catch: let’s not forget that all of this has become possible due to the MicroProfile initiative that started in 2016”, Edwin states.  He feels that Jakarta EE and MicroProfile reinforce each other, acting as one entity, one family.

Hearing About MicroProfile

Edwin spoke to one of the MicroProfile community members at a Devoxx Belgium conference. He learned that there was a BOF scheduled for MicroProfile, an initiative to extend Java EE 7 with a new “profile”. The existing Web profile was perceived too limited, and the Full profile perceived too heavy/verbose and lacking specific features for building microservices. Therefore, the “micro profile” should fill the gap between the Web and Full profiles, providing the specifications to build and deploy microservices.

At that time, Edwin wasn’t involved in any open-source development whatsoever, and didn’t have any clue what would be expected of him.  He was unsure how an individual could get involved when all the big vendors were developing application servers and designing specifications.

Some time passed, and in 2017 Edwin started to speak at conferences. This allowed him to see more of the community and learn of new and hot software development concepts. In May 2018, Edwin met Emily Jiang at Devoxx UK after she had given a talk about MicroProfile. She convinced him to join the MicroProfile community and provide input wherever he could, without any obligations. This was a perfect opportunity for Edwin to finally get involved and provide input in an open-source community.

Applying MicroProfile

In his current Project, Edwin uses the Payara application server. Since Payara implements both Java EE / Jakarta EE and MicroProfile specifications, it is a nice opportunity to get hands-on with MicroProfile.  Edwin says he can “experience it’s benefits and shortcomings and take this feedback back to the community”.

Currently Edwin uses the MicroProfile specifications to enable the application servers to run in a scalable environment.  He states, “It is an ongoing process to further adopt the specifications for monitoring, tracing, authentication and inter-service communication.”

Since Edwin’s hands-on experience is growing, he has begun to notice where the framework can be improved from an end-user perspective. It is his personal goal to get acquainted enough with the internals of the framework to start defining improvements, and propose them for future versions of MicroProfile.

The MicroProfile Community

Edwin found out that there are several MicroProfile online hangouts available that provide status updates, and the opportunity to discuss each of the specifications. There are also bi-weekly community hangout that aggregate status updates and cover more general topics. Edwin found these to be the perfect opportunity to start getting up to speed with the status of MicroProfile and getting acquainted with everybody involved.

“I still reserve time to attend the bi-weekly hangouts whenever I can.” Edwin states. This is his checkup to either pick up new tasks, get informed or share thoughts. He finds it more helpful and energizing to speak to everybody involved in person.

Edwin’s impression of the MicroProfile community is that there is a group of usual suspects that are always around. Other people steadily join the community. The community echoes the evolution of MicroProfile: it evolves steadily with it’s quarterly release schedule, which is carefully being lived-up to by the community.

What he finds remarkable is the increasing amount of effort that is being put into onboarding new people in the community. It has been identified that the process and information on how to get involved could be improved. So the community started working on that with positive results. For example, the onboarding interviews that we are now creating.

Edwin describes himself as “an enthusiastic individual that wants to provide value”.  He finds the community to be very friendly, helpful and accepting – it doesn’t matter that he’s not part of a big vendor.

Contributing

Even though Edwin has a busy schedule, he makes time to join the community MicroProfile calls and participate on the mailing lists. In addition, he contributes by writing blogs, articles and giving talks. Writing code however, or coming up with his own specifications in the future are his plans.

Shoutout To New Members

Whether you’re already using MicroProfile, or are planning to, Edwin implores new community members to jump on the MicroProfile bandwagon and join the community. At least, try to attend the bi-weekly update calls so that you know exactly how the framework is evolving and how it can fit in your (future) projects. It will also provide you the possibility to direct the evolution of the framework, where both you as an individual and the whole community can benefit from. Don’t underestimate the potential value of this, since you are unlikely to get the full potential out of a framework, unless you bring in your feedback or requirements. Next to that, it can be a fun and informative exercise that can broaden your horizons and sharpen your skills as a developer.

Note from the WordPress MicroProfile Editor:

Just like MicroProfilers Edwin & David, should you feel inclined to share your commencement into this Open Source Project, this MicroProfile fun interview welcoming initiative is ready for YOU!   Amelia

 

David Salter

Author David Salter

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