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Interface21 is expected to release the bits for the next major revision of the popular Spring Framework on Oct. 3.

London-based Interface21 will release Spring 2.0 in the wee hours of the morning U.S. time, and the company also plans to announce a new hire to bolster its U.S. operations.

Interface21 is the company behind the Java-based open-source Spring Framework, which is a lightweight framework many developers have adopted as an alternative to more heavy-weight Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) development.

Moreover, the company recently announced that the Spring Framework project recently passed 1 million downloads. And Spring 2.0 is expected to boost the number of downloads.

Rod Johnson, chief executive at Interface21, said the new release focuses on a couple of key areas: enhancing the framework’s simplicity and power.

Some of the specific changes include enhancements to the framework’s configuration; AOP (aspect-oriented programming capabilities; leveraging Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE) 5 support, asynchronous messaging, and the integration with the Java Persistence API.

The new configuration changes in Spring 2.0 aim to simplify out-of-the-box development with Spring, Johnson said.

And the enhancements to Spring’s AOP support enable the use of the AspectJ AOP technology in Spring’s runtime, he said.

The new version also features XML extension capabilities, support for managing POJOs (Plain Old Java Objects), support for the language extensions in Java SE 5 and more, Johnson said.

In addition, the Spring project team is introducing Spring Web Flow, “a powerful technology for developing Web applications,” Johnson said.

In a blog post on the new release, Johnson said, “I have not been as excited about the technology possibilities we have ahead of us since the run-up to Spring 1.0 final in late 2003.”

Meanwhile, the Spring 2.0 release also contains features that will take the Spring ecosystem to new levels, Johnson said.

One thing is that Spring 2.0 is the basis for the Pitchfork project, which will be used in the next version of BEA Systems’ WebLogic to offer Java EE 5.0 injection and interception features, as well as add Spring features such as more powerful injection and true AOP to Java EE components, Johnson said.

And the project team has done the background work for the upcoming Spring OSGi [Open Services Gateway initiative] integration, “which will strengthen Spring’s value as a basis for server infrastructure and offer benefits to users in the area of componentization, versioning and dynamic deployment,” Johnson said.

Moreover, Interface21 will also soon be announcing that the Acegi Security for Spring project will be moving into the heart of the Spring family, under the name Spring Security, Johnson said.

“Again, new features in the Spring core will benefit users,” he said.

“The 2.0 XML schema extension mechanism will dramatically simplify security configuration, making this excellent product much easier to use.”

Meanwhile, Interface21 is announcing a partnership with Oracle to integrate Oracle’s TopLink Essentials open-source Java Persistence API implementation with Spring 2.0.

In addition, Interface21 is announcing the hire of Neelan Choksi as vice president for the Americas.

Choksi will be “focused on growing our overall business in the U.S.,” Johnson said.

Choksi, formerly president of SolarMetric, was most recently senior director of products at BEA, which acquired SolarMetric in 2005.

Click here to read more about BEA’s acquisition of SolarMetric.

SolarMetric specialized in building object/relational mapping technology.

The company’s Kodo persistence solution for high-performance applications provided access to relational databases through the JDO (Java Data Objects) and Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0 persistence standards.

BEA integrated the technology into its product line and has since open-sourced Kodo.

Johnson said the hire of Choksi “will help us scale up significantly, especially in the United States, which has an enormous upside for us.”

In a note to customers, partners and others, Choksi wrote: “October 2, 2006 will be my last day at BEA Systems. I will be leaving BEA for Interface21, the company behind the popular Spring Framework open source project. I am excited about my opportunity to work at Interface21 as SVP of Americas working with a great technical team.”

Meanwhile, Interface21 on Sept. 21 announced the hire of Richard McKern as Sales Director, Americas.

McKern, like Choksi, also had stints at SolarMetric and BEA. And also like Choksi, McKern is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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