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Choosing your Websphere style

There are several alternatives for you if you want to develop Java EE applications with IBM WebSphere Application Server. We will summarize them here along with some information that will let you to make the best decision.

  • WebSphere Application Server (WAS): this is the commercial version of the application server which can be downloaded in trail version (60 days); once you buy it, you can achieve 24×7 support from IBM. In this chapter we will show how to install the single server environment edition. If you need to use WAS in a clustered environment, turn to the Chapter 9 of this book where you will learn how to install the Network Deployment (WAS-ND) Edition.
  • WebSphere Application Server for Developers: this is a no charge distribution that contains the exact same application server code of WAS. The platform support provided by the no-charge option is limited to Linux and Windows and the add-on software found in the priced product is not included in the no-charge download version, although most of the add-on software is separately available without charge. From the commercial point of view IBM states that you are not authorized to use copies of the no-charge “WebSphere Application Server for Developers” on a production environment.


A third alternative does exist and it’s called Websphere Application Server community Edition: this is a small footprint application server based on the open source Apache Geronimo Server (, featuring an embedded Tomcat Web server. Discussing about this release is beyond the scope of this book, you can however learn more on the IBM page at:

Comparing WAS and JBoss products

From this description, some readers might suggest a similarity between WAS for developers and JBoss AS 7 (Community Version). Although some similarities do exist, there are some key differences. The following table shows the differences between the two products:

Product characteristics


WAS for dev.

No charge usage



Can be used in production environment



Same code as the commercial version



So, although the while the WAS for developers is an exact copy of the commercial counterpart, it cannot be used for production environments. It is a suggested choice for learning how to develops products on WAS. On the other hand the JBoss AS 7 can be freely used for production environment but it is not the same products as the JBoss EAP which has certified libs, additional tests/QA and might contain some configuration/features which are disabled, removed or slightly different in the Community version.