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Survival of the Fittest Jini Services, Part II
Use Transactions to Coordinate the Reliable Interaction of Jini Services
by Frank Sommers
First Published in JavaWorld, July 2001

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Words of Caution

Let me conclude this article with two notes of caution. First, while transactions are a useful tool to make a computation reliable, there is no magic to their effectiveness. Each service must ensure that it abides by its part of the guarantees the transaction is supposed to provide. How a service might do that is the subject of my next installment in this series.

Second, distributed transactions are expensive in terms of their computational resources. They involve a manager and many messages to facilitate the two-phase commit protocol. In addition, implementing a transaction participant that conforms to the default semantics is a significant undertaking, as you will see next month. However, when you do need guaranteed reliability for a distributed computation, there is no alternative to transactions.

About the Author

Frank Sommers is founder and CEO of Autospaces, a company focused on bringing Jini technology to the automotive software market. He also serves as VP of technology at Los Angeles-based Nowcom Corp., an outsourcing firm. He has been programming in Java since 1995, after attending the first public demonstration of the language on the Sun Microsystems campus in November of that year. His interests include parallel and distributed computing, the discovery and representation of knowledge in databases, and the philosophical foundations of computing. When not thinking about computers, he composes and plays piano, studies the symphonies of Gustav Mahler, or explores the writings of Aristotle and Ayn Rand. Frank would like to thank Bob Scheifler, a Sun Microsystems distinguished engineer and member of Sun's Jini team, for his comments and clarifications on Jini transactions.


"Survival of the Fittest Jini Services, Part II" by Frank Sommers was originally published by JavaWorld (, copyright IDG, July 2001. Reprinted with permission.

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