WebSphere Blues

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Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of work for a customer involving deployment and configuration of applications on IBM WebSphere Application Server. While I really dislike being the grumpy developer I just have to say that WebSphere Application Server – at least till version 6, which is the one I’m working on – sucks beyond measure. I can hardly think of any piece of software as ill-conceived, convoluted and error-prone as this one.

Usually, Java applications live up to SUN’s Write once, run anywhere” claim but not so with IBM WebSphere. Developing software for this application server feels like:

  1. Develop a new feature for your app.
  2. Test it locally on Jetty or Tomcat.
  3. Rejoice!
  4. Deploy on a WebSphere staging environment.
  5. Realize your app’s not working properly on WebSphere.
  6. Research or contrive some weird workaround to make your app run on WebSphere.
  7. Lather, rinse, repeat …

Up till now I’ve always been able to find a solution to these issues but I’ve spent so much time on programming around WebSphere peculiarities already that I can hardly imagine how much time and money is wasted on developers having to find a way around WebSphere quirks while they could be developing useful features instead (and I can tell that I’m hardly the only one having these problems).

IBM indeed must have one of best sales departments in the world if they are able to sell this crappy piece of software for considerable amounts of money and get away with it.

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