Revisiting RMI

by William Grosso

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I gave a three hour overview of RMI programming the other day. I was very surprised: surprised to be asked, surprised by how many people came, and surprised by how many people stayed until the end. The big lesson: quality technology, even if it isn't getting buzz, can survive and thrive.

Surprised to be asked?. Well, yeah. I understand that, if you want to do an RMI bootcamp in the Silicon Valley area, I'm pretty much the man to ask. But there hasn't been a lot of demand for RMI expertise in the past couple of years and I just didn't think there was going to be a lot of interest in a 3 hour overview.

Suprised by how many people came?. That'd be about 60 people, on a Tuesday evening. When I polled, 10 had "serious experience" with RMI and another 15 had some knowledge. More than half had no experience with RMI (or only had the nodding acquaintance with it provided by EJB programming).

Surprised by how many people stayed? Well, I got through about 2/3 of the slides I brought, and we digressed all over the place (a little bit of transactional logic here, a little bit of general oo principles there). It was fairly high-intensity geeking and I expected that a significant percentage of people would slip out at the break (if you're one of the people who doesn't know RMI, maybe 1.5 hours is enough?).

All in all, it was interesting. EJB was the big hype-machine for a long time. And for the past couple of years, web-services have been the darlings of the distributed infrastructure press. But RMI has survived, and is actually getting some use and interest. That's pretty cool (at least to me).

What other bits and pieces of the java platform have thrived without getting much attention?