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A New Dawn For Java

01.28.2010
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Today marks a new dawn for the Java community - after months of speculation, Oracle have made their plans for Java clear following their Sun acquistion.  In this article, the speculation ends and I will list some of the impacts this buyout has on the Java community, as announced at yesterday's event.

The Benefits Of The Acquisition

The main point is that Oracle now have the ability to cover all layers in a technology stack, giving complete, integrated system. This now makes them even more of a superpower in the IT industry.

During the introduction, president Charles Phillips talked of how Oracle would now transform the industry by using lessons from the past. Here, he referred to IBM in 1960 being the gold standard of computing - predictable and reliable. But as technology has rapidly evolved since then, the industry became fragmented again. Now Oracle have the portfolio they need to recreate that gold standard with an open systems platform.

Oracles Committment  To Java

It's easy to forget the committment that Oracle has show to Java up to now. Charles outlined how Oracle have contributed and lead within in the JCP, including co-leading the EJB3.0 specification. On top of this Oracle have been active in the Eclipse Foundation leading both the EJB 3.0 ORM and JSF Tooling projects. 

Considering that it's no surprise that they see their ownership of Java as a big deal. So, what does all of this mean for the community? Here I'll go through the key points as I see them: 

JavaOne 

This Facebook status update, via @oracletechnet says it all: 

So we get four days of JavaOne in San Francisco this September, along with Oracle OpenWorld/Oracle Develop. I'm sure that some people won't be so impressed that it's co-located but don't forget it's a dedicated conference. And up to now, everyone was pretty sure we'd get no JavaOne. Call for papers starts on Feb 10th.

The encouraging thing is that JavaOne will be brought to a new level by going on the road to Brasil, Russia, India and China. It's great to see the JavaOne experience travel, but I'm a bit disappointed that there was no announcement for one in Europe. Maybe you could organise that for next year Oracle?

JavaSE

Oracle plan to follow through with original plans for the Java SE 7 release, including modularization. Furthermore, the JVM will see significant performance improvements with a merge or JRockit with the HotSpot VM. This will also include better multi-core support. I see this as a huge revitalisation for Java on the desktop. As outlined in the presentation, a survey showed almost 10 million Java developers making Java the most popular programming language. I really think that Oracle's investment into Java could see that trend continue, with even more developers adopting the language, over the next few years. 

JavaEE 

GlassFish the same, as the reference implementation for JavaEE, while WebLogic remains as Oracle's enterprise application server. Of course technology will be shared between them. The advances made in Java EE 6 will be continued, with modularity again being the primary goal. 

JavaME

Oracle's plan to unify JavaSE and JavaME here makes a lot of sense - mobile devices have a lot more power than the beginnings of JavaME.  More importantly, the write-once-run-anywhere promise could finally become a reality for these devices. 

JavaFX

JavaFX has yet to really capture the hearts of Java developers.  Oracle will be continuing to invest heavily into JavaFX. Oracle ADF developers will be able to mix and match JavaFX. 

IDEs

One of the big talking points during these past few months of speculation has been centered around the fate of NetBeans. After all Oracle has JDeveloper, and contribute to Eclipse with their Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse. 

Netbeans will continue as the "lightweight IDE for Java developers" and will have an increased focus on mobile development and dynamic languages. NetBeans has made some huge progress in the last 2 years under Sun's watch, and I'm sure that it will continue with Oracle funding and steering it. 

JDeveloper will remain as Oracle's development tool for Oracle Fusion, and Oracle will continue to make Eclipse contributions. 

Summary

The briefing that Oracle gave on their software strategy puts Java at the center of everything for Oracle. In fact, as an overview of what Java provides, the webcast is a great primer. There are some key things set to happen now. JavaSE 7 will see an even more performant runtime, thanks to the merge with JRockit. The intent to take JavaOne on tour around the world is a really exciting prospect.  

Overall, I'm really positive about the future of Java now - it's in good hands. This year, JavaOne will be even more eagerly aniticipated than ever, to see what kind of show Oracle put on. It might not rival Apple's hype machine, but it will be big.

If you didn't get to tune into the live webcast, it's all available to view on Oracle's site, broken down talk by talk.

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Comments

Leo de Blaauw replied on Thu, 2010/01/28 - 10:18am

Hey, Well since we have an excelent conference in Devoxx I dont personally think no javaOne in europe is a big loss really.. ;-) Greetz Leo

James Sugrue replied on Thu, 2010/01/28 - 11:41am in response to: Leo de Blaauw

Well, it's true that we do ok here in Europe with Devoxx and Jazoon. But still, there's always room for one more!

Karsten Silz replied on Thu, 2010/01/28 - 11:45am

If I read the broadcast correctly, then Netbeans will focus less on dynamic languages and more on Java.

James Sugrue replied on Thu, 2010/01/28 - 12:00pm in response to: Karsten Silz

I read on page 25 in their presentation that there would be:

- Focus on Java EE6, Java ME, and Scripting
– Increased focus on Mobile Development and Scripting with Dynamic Languages

So I think that we'll see more on the scripting/JavaFX side of things that NetBeans is doing really well with.

Karsten Silz replied on Thu, 2010/01/28 - 12:04pm in response to: James Sugrue

In the developer tools podcast Ted Farrell said that for dynamic languages they will "invest into the community" or so which I took as corporate speak for "Anybody wants to pick this up?"  But we'll see soon enough.

James Sugrue replied on Thu, 2010/01/28 - 12:17pm in response to: Karsten Silz

Ok - I must have missed that.. in that case, it'll be interesting to see what they do.

Fabrizio Giudici replied on Thu, 2010/01/28 - 1:37pm

Karsten is right, or anyway that is the most reasonable interpretation. This is not necessarily bad: some languages, such as Scala, are already a community contribution; and generally speaking, involving more the community is good. Oracle will have, anyway, to motivate the community in the right way.

Peter Karussell replied on Fri, 2010/01/29 - 6:09pm

no one mentioned that kenai will be closed ... small impact for the java community? maybe oracle wants to anticipate projects like bsaf? ;-)

James Sugrue replied on Sat, 2010/01/30 - 6:45am in response to: Peter Karussell

You're right Peter - I missed that in my rundown. After reading about it, it seems that Kenai will be used internally for Oracle projects, but it may come back to the public in the future. I hope it does because it seemed to me that it was going places.

Alex(JAlexoid) ... replied on Tue, 2010/02/02 - 7:28pm in response to: Leo de Blaauw

 Hey, Well since we have an excelent conference in Devoxx I dont personally think no javaOne in europe is a big loss really.. ;-) Greetz Leo

Last time I checked, there are no big issues of flying out to Russia from any European capitol for a few days for a conference. It's definitely less of a hassle, than going to US or UK these days.

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