Yesterday, I discovered that there is a free Java hosting service: MyJavaServer. The service includes a Resin server with Java 6. It has a really cool way of registering by giving the registrant a (relatively simple) programming task, a smart way to ensure that people don’t just register for fun. The problem is: the service does not seem to work anymore. I was afraid so, Java hosting, in general is expensive and rightly so, because it also means more maintenance work. I remember having to rent a dedicated Linux server that I had to administrate myself just to install JBoss and Tomcat. I spent more time just making sure to keep up with the security of the system, and when I came back from a longer vacation, I found that my server had been hacked and messed up. That’s why you should be nice to your network administrator, they save you a lot of time and work to focus on the central task.
I definitely don’t insist on a service which is completely for free, but for development purposes, I’d prefer something that is cheap enough, like 5 bucks a month. That’s another reason why PHP, Python, Perl and Ruby are so popular: it is much cheaper for a private person to get an application online (besides the obvious difference in the learning curves of course). I use hosting services for demoing and testing, and I don’t make any money of it directly, so I really need a very affordable service. The only choice I have is Ruby on Rails which is not a bad alternative, but it would be great to have something in the price range of Rails or PHP based offers with a full Java EE stack.
I appreciate services like Sourceforge and RubyForge to give developers free Subversion hosting and related service, which means I can use their network administration services for free, and their service is friendly and fast enough. I can’t emphasize it enough, so to these services and their sponsors: Thanks for doing this ! By doing this, you offer developers the opportunity to experiment, learn and innovate (well, I am probably not that innovative, ha !).
Back to MyJavaServer.com: It seems this issue is already known since last year and they say it is due to Resin and Java 6 integration problems. I won’t complain, it was mainly run by one person. To offer something free, there must be some form of motivation, be it constructive feedback or funding (that’s a kind of feedback as well). Maybe (and hopefully) one day, it will be back, maybe one day, someone else will offer an affordable hosting service with a full JavaEE stack. Until then – I’ll stick to Ruby on Rails.