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Reflection on JavaOne 2005

  • July 21, 2005
  • By Dick Wall
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A couple of months ago, Gamelan was kind enough to ask me to do a report on JavaOne 2005 for them, but as I followed the conference immediately with a 10-day vacation, followed by the inevitable work crunch that follows such a break, and because so many other reporters and bloggers have already covered the 2005 JavaOne, I asked to change the focus of the article slightly to not simply re-hash what you have probably already read. The result is a brief summary of the keynotes and show, followed by several points of particular interest to me covered in more depth.

Keynotes

Of course, I do feel I need to mention some of the main points from the keynotes, in no particular order. These are the points that caught my attention. More complete keynote breakdowns can be found at the following sites:

Jonathon Schwartz

It's always interesting to hear what Jonathon Schwartz is thinking. It is safe to say that I find it fascinating to see what fascinates him... His keynote had a concentration on social aspects and implications of computing, and he mentioned blogs and wikis and the impact they are having. This is particularly interesting because I hear a similar theme coming from another interest in my life—the blogging and podcasting community—and I think that Sun and Java may be well served to get more involved with that community. Certainly, Sun has some interesting products for any community that is interesting in serving large amounts of data, including but not limited to Java. Massive storage, smart indexing of metadata, Web-enabled software for creating and consuming audio and video files, as well as text all sound like areas where Sun and Java could get involved and even lead.

Blu-Ray

It was announced that the Blu-Ray platform (one of the two new "standards" for high definition DVD) would include Java as part of the standard. This allows many things not currently possible with DVDs (for example, menu selection while playing a movie rather than in a special section). This announcement piqued my interest and I will return to it later in the article.

Glassfish

Sun is open-sourcing their J2EE application server using the java.net Web site under the project name Glassfish. This is a bold and welcome move, probably at least partially prompted by the Apache geronimo project. When asked about harmony (the Apache open-source JVM), Schwartz was unphased, and said he welcomed any and all open source competitive projects.

Phones vs. PCs

Another interesting announcement was that the estimated number of mobile devices with Java embedded in them now outnumbered PCs with Java installed, implying that, for the first time, phones and other mobile devices are potentially a larger market than desktop software. This explained some of the focus in this and other keynotes that concentrated on the development of Java Mobile Edition software. Sun's netbeans 4.1 mobility pack and several plugins for eclipse are positioned to allow apps to be built easily in Java Mobile Edition.

IBM

IBM "re-upped" their java licensing for 11 (rather than 10) years (spinal tap jokes were, of course, employed). This was after an admission that the relationship between the two companies had been chilling for a while, and looked like an attempt by both parties to mend some bridges.

New Ultra-20 Workstation

A new inexpensive opteron workstation was also announced. Selling for either $895 outright, or alternatively free if you signed up for three years of a Sun Services subscription (with a broad selection of Sun development tools including the studio and creator tools included). This reminded me of a mobile phone plan—free hardware with service purchase—another interesting trend. The Ultra-20s are again visited later in this article.

Distractions

It would not be a JavaOne keynote without a little fun—the t-shirt hurling machines (now a tradition) were variably successful but always imaginitive (a reminder that not all seemingly brilliant ideas work out). Also, Duke got a cake and ticker-tape celebration for his (or rather JavaOne's) 10th birthday.

Java renamed

After many years of Java 2, it was announced that the 2 would be dropped. J2EE, J2SE, and J2ME are gone, replaced by Java Platform Enterprise Edition, Java Platform Standard Edition, and Java Platform Micro Edition. With .NET 2.0 coming up soon, it is not a surprising move because the Java 2 might cause some confusion over which is more mature or has been around longer. It is hard to believe that Java 2 has been with us for the last five years despite such huge milestones as hotspot, many new language features, J2EE 1.4, EJB 2.0/2.1, and all the other progress made—many of which should have been cause of a major version increment in my opinion.

As an addendum, the major Java version is bumped to 5 (Java SE 5), and the upcoming Enterprise Edition and Mustang Java SE will be Java EE 5 and Java SE 6 respectively.

New licenses

Sun is still skirting the Open Source JVM issues at present—I will not descend into politics other than to say that I can see that both sides have good points in this debate. The concessions Sun has made into licensing should go some way to quieting some of the paranoid fears of the rug being pulled out from under developers in the future. New licenses include the JDL (Java Distribution License) for commercial use of Java, JRL (Java Research License) which, as I understand, gives enthusiasts more scope to inspect and alter the JVM code. The JIUL is a last resort kind of license for internal use only—if something has to be changed in the JVM it can be, but can't be re-distributed (presumably it could be with Sun's blessing). It is intended for situations where something has to be changed for a mission-critical internal app.

Java Studio Creator, NetBeans, EJB 3.0

As you may know, Java Studio Creator is a product of particular interest to me. Along with NetBeans and EJB 3.0 these are products and standards of particularly high interest that I will re-visit in detail below, and also an indication of a new era of Sun development tools.

SeeBeyond

Scott McNeally announced in Day Two's keynote that Sun had acquired SeeBeyond—a big mover in the Enterprise Application Integration (read SOA) world. Not being terribly interested or talented in the business analysis arena, I will politely leave it to readers to figure out the significance of this.

Brazil Healthcare

In one of the more impressive demonstrations of Java in a large-scale deployment, Brazil now offers free healthcare to all citizens, and the system works through unique ID cards (Java Cards) with the entire backbone written in J2EE (now to be known as Java Platform Enterprise Edition). The system is also open source, allowing other countries to easily adopt it if they want.





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