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JCP Executive Committee Election Results

The race for the U.S. presidency has rightly grabbed the headlines, but the results are in for another election that should matter to Java jocks. The 2012 Fall Executive Committee (EC) Election of the Java Community Process (JCP) was completed last week. Java PaaS provider CloudBees and the U.K.-based Java user group London Java Community (LJC) beat out seven other nominees for two open elected seats on the committee. They join newly ratified seat holders Cinterion Wireless Modules, Credit Suisse, Fujitsu, and Hewlett-Packard.

The JCP is the group that certifies Java specifications, and the EC is charged with guiding "the evolution of Java."

This is the first election of members to a new EC that resulted from the merging of two committees -- one overseeing Java SE and Java EE; one overseeing Java ME -- which was finalized in September.

The JCP has been remaking itself for the past two years: In 2010, JCP chair Patrick Curran announced Java Specification Request (JSR) 348, an initiative focused on adding transparency and improving participation, agility, and governance of the JCP. A year later, Curran and company announced plans to combine ECs under JSR 355 ("JCP Executive Committee Merge").

"It seems like the right thing to do," JCP chair Patrick Curran told ADTmag in an earlier interview, "that we should have a single executive committee which will deal with all of the three platforms -- because it is one platform with three flavors."

The JCP EC now comprises 24 members, including 16 ratified members and 8 elected members, each of whom serve two-year terms. The terms are staggered so that 12 of the 24 seats are up for election/ratification every year. Oracle, as the shepherd of Java and owner of the Java trademark, is the only permanent EC member.

Ratified members are nominated by the Program Management Office (PMO) of the JCP, which currently includes the chair of the JCP, Patrick Curran, and three staff members. The nominees are approved or rejected by a majority vote. Any member of the community can run for an open seat.

About a quarter (23.7 percent) of the 1,131 eligible voters weighed in this year, according to the JCP. That's up from last year's 23 percent. The "polls" closed at midnight on Oct. 29. New members of the EC officially assume their roles on Nov. 13.

CloudBees and the LJC beat out five companies (Cisco Systems, Liferay, North Sixty-One Ltd, Software AG and ZeroTurnaround) one individual (Giuseppe Dell'Abate), and a user group (MoroccoJUG).

The responsibilities of EC members include: selection of Java Specification Requests (JSRs) for development, approval of draft specs for public review and final specs, review of TCK appeals and approval of maintenance revisions, among others.

Additional details of this year's election results are available on the JCP Program Office page here.

Posted by John K. Waters on 11/05/2012 at 10:53 AM0 comments


Zend to PHP Developers: 'Mobile First'

Today at the 6th annual ZendCon PHP developer conference, underway this week in Santa Clara, CA, Zend Technologies CEO Andi Gutmans plans to unveil his company's new "mobile first" approach to application development, along with an "end-to-end" strategy to help the PHP developer community move into mobile and the cloud.

"The thing to keep in mind," Gutmans told me in a pre-conference interview, "is that it's not mobile or cloud anymore; it's mobile and cloud. They are very much interlinked. I see mobile as the cause and cloud as the effect or enabler. And they're both crucial to the enterprise."

Gutmans said he will be urging attendees to adopt a "mobile first" strategy that addresses what his company sees as "the realities of modern enterprise app development" -- the spread of composite apps, the different requirements of mobile interface design, and the recognition that users are "an essential part of the design process."

"Today, most companies are outsourcing their client-side [mobile] development on Objective C and Java, because they don't have the internal skill set," Gutmans observed. "But as companies begin adopting a more ‘mobile first' approach, they're going to have to make that a core competency."

But the "mobile first" approach is fraught with challenges. Developers have to optimize their applications to individual device form factors and just generally create more collaborative and social experiences. And what developers need to build these kinds of apps is both a cleaner, cloud-services architecture and an agile, iterative development process.

And that's where Zend Server, the company's cloud application platform.

"There's going to be a big focus on the server side," Gutmans said, "because it's really the server-side that has all the intelligence and business logic to deliver a personalized experience to the user. And we need an agile, iterative development process. PHP is well suited to that, because it's user-centric development."

Attendees will also get an update on new and evolving integrations with Zend Server 6, Gutmans said, including Amazon Marketplace, IBM's PureSystems private cloud, Windows Azure, Google, SoftLayer, LogicWorks, and others. Zend announced a big partnership last year with RightScale, provider of an automated, web-based cloud management platform, on a jointly-developed platform-as-a-service (PaaS) architecture for PHP developers. News about an expansion of that partnership is also likely. In August, Zend partnered with VMware to integrate the vFabric Application Director with the Zend Server 6 beta. Gutmans is set to demo the results of that partnership during his keynote.

Earlier this month Zend announced a partnership with Red Hat to make Zend Server available on its OpenShift PaaS platform. The company also integrated OpenShift's client APIs into its Zend Studio IDE. Red Hat is scheduled to hold a Red-Hat-on-Zend-Server hackathon during the conference.

"With Zen Server 5.6 we evolved our product into the cloud, but we realized that, if we really wanted to go all the way [into the cloud], we needed to do some re-architecting," Gutmans said. "Big pieces of it have now been re-architected and Zend Server 6 is completely saleable in the cloud to hundreds of servers. It's also very API centric -- everything is an API; the UI talks to the server through Web services, so anything you can see in the UI can be fully automated and integrated. This enables us to work with these vendors and really embed it in a way that's seamless and native, whether is Red Hat or Amazon."

"We've taken a complete application server-centric view of the world in Zen Server 6," Gutmans added. "You shouldn't care which servers or how many are running your application. It's all about the app: how do I deploy it, make sure it performs, tune it, configure it? Whether it's running on one server or a hundred, you're managing it in exactly the same way."

I asked Gutmans to pick the "killer" new feature in Zend Server 6. He went with user roles in production. "Developers can log into production environments, see what's going on, see how the application is deployed and configured, see the monitoring event, but not be able to change anything," he said. "We really believe that this is going to help bring development and operations together and help them collaborate in an increasingly agile world."

The company is also set to preview the Zend Studio 10 beta at the conference, including such new features as Zend Framework 2 integration, full PHP 5.4 support, and a bunch of productivity enhancements (improves workflows, code assist, wizards, etc.).

Attendees will also get a look at some new client-side development features in the IDE, including "some really cool" drag-and-drop capabilities for prototyping mobile apps. Gutmans also said to look for features that "basically support" the PhoneGap open source mobile development framework. Expect to see drag-and-drop creation of cloud services on the server side, drag-and-drop creation on the client side, and then seamless deployment into the cloud.

"We believe that the web is the platform," Gutmans added. "We believe that the web is the future, and we're betting on web standards. We see a lot of companies putting a lot of effort into getting HTML5 and JavaScript to the right performance on mobile devices. The reality is that, for most apps today, web support on mobile through PhoneGap and these kinds of technologies is good enough. And we're seeing companies bringing mobile development back in-house, getting their mobile teams to focus on it, and making it a first-class citizen in the enterprise."

Zend Technologies is the Cupertino, Calif.-based creator and commercial maintainer of the PHP dynamic scripting language. Zend is run by Gutmans and Zeev Suraski, who are key contributors to PHP and the creators of the core PHP scripting engine.

BTW: The hot swag item at this year's show: a fluffy green elephant, 500 of which will be part of the "Elephant Hunt Challenge." Details were not available at press time, but I was told that if I wanted one, I'd have to join the hunt.

Posted by John K. Waters on 10/23/2012 at 10:53 AM1 comments


Embarcadero HTML 5 Builder for Native/Web Development

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg caused an industry-wide stir last month when he said during a press conference that the biggest mistake his company had made so far was "betting too much on HTML 5 rather than native" in its mobile software development strategy. His comment underscored a kind of tension between web and native app development growing among developers.

"This is really about choosing the right technology at the right time for what you want to achieve on the mobile device," said Michael Swindell, SVP of marketing and product management at app development toolmaker Embarcadero Technologies. "The mobile devices themselves have limited performance runtimes for things like WebKit and JavaScript. You really have to think about that today when you're building an application. I believe that eventually HTML 5 will be perfectly appropriate for a Facebook type of app on the mobile device."

In the meantime, Embarcadero has just released a tool for developers who want to use the same code base for Web and native apps. The company's new HTML 5 Builder is a complete integrated development environment (IDE) aimed squarely at app developers used to working with Visual Studio, C++, and Delphi.

"Many if not most of the HTML 5 tools and frameworks currently on the market are lightweight products for web/graphic designers," Swindell told ADTmag. "This isn't one of those. The tool includes visual designers, components, code editors, debuggers -- all familiar tools supporting web and mobile development. And it relies on three common, standards-based web technologies: HTML 5, CSS3, and JavaScript."

HTML 5 Builder is designed to allow developers to create end-to-end Web or mobile apps using a single codebase of these standard Web technologies. The emphasis in this first release is apps targeted for multiple mobile operating systems (Web, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone), but the tool also supports server-side development based on PHP.

The apps built in HTML 5 Builder can be deployed to Web servers, in which case they are accessed and rendered through standard Web browsers; or they can be compiled and deployed to any of the app stores. And if the hardware allows it, they can be loaded directly onto a device.

HTML 5 Builder is available now as a stand-alone Web and mobile solution, or bundled with the company's new RAD Studio XE3 tool suite, also released last month. The new tool suite combines HTML 5 Builder Delphi, C++Builder, and Embarcadero Prism for developers building apps for Windows 8 (desktop, not RT) and Mac OS X Mountain Lion (and Retina display). The company plans to come out early next year with iOS support, native ARM-based compilation and Android support.

"These tools have been focused historically on the Windows developer," Swindell said. "But Mac is now a real entity in the enterprise, and just about every developer needs to think about Apple devices. In some of the organizations we work with, Macs make up 10 percent or more of the desktops. And certainly the mobile market has completely changed in the past five years."

More information about HTML 5 Builder and a trial download is available on the company's Web site.

Posted by John K. Waters on 10/10/2012 at 10:53 AM0 comments


Compuware Launches APM for Mainframes

They're not in the headlines much these days, but mainframes are still an enterprise mainstay. And yet, says Gartner analyst Jonah Kowall, managing the software that runs on big iron continues to present one of IT's trickier management challenges.

"As applications mature in order to be delivered on mobile, tablet, and new interfaces, many businesses still rely on tried and true mainframe processing for those transactions," Kowall said in a statement.

"Triage and trace of transactions across these discrete tiers is a complex problem to solve," he continued, "which is not helped by separate organizations, monitoring and other tooling ownership between these IT towers. This makes it difficult to determine the impact these transactions have on mainframe resource and application performance."

Compuware Corporation on Tuesday unveiled a new solution for that problem. The Detroit-based provider of application performance management (APM) solutions has combined its dynaTrace, PurePath and Strobe products to form Compuware APM for Mainframe, which provides deep transaction management "from the edge through the mainframe."

Compuware's dynaTrace on-premise suite of performance optimizing technologies was part of last year's acquisition of DynaTrace Software. The company's PurePath Technology provides an in-depth view of application behavior, as the company says, "from user click, across all tiers, to the database and back again." Strobe is the company's mainframe performance analysis solution.

Compuware is offering two versions of the solution: one that utilizes PurePath for z/OS, which supports mainframe CICS applications; and one that relies on PurePath for z/OS Java, which supports mainframe Java apps. Both use the PurePath technology to discover, map, and monitor all transactions automatically through distributed tier and mainframe apps with complete steps and timings.

In this release, Compuware is also touting: zero-configuration instrumentation, a feature that delivers automatic discovery, transaction mapping and "out-of-the-box dashboards for 100 percent deep visibility into mainframe transactions, with no code changes required;" one-click Hotspot analysis, which provides "faster mean-time-to-resolve (MTTR) with one-click hotspot analysis of mainframe applications," including long-running and highly distributed jobs; and one-click Strobe measurement requests, which provides reporting and analysis for profiling mainframe WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere MQ, Message Broker, Enterprise Service Bus, CICS, IMS, Batch, DB2, CTG, JMS, Web Services, and Cobol, PL/I.

APM tools monitor and manage the performance of applications, alerting IT staff in real time to availability disruptions and end user quality issues. Leading products in this category also notice trends and/or early warning signs of imminent trouble and provide automatic resolutions. Compuware is listed among the leaders in this market in Gartner's "magic quadrant." Also listed are IBM, BMC software, CA Technologies, New Relic, AppDynamics, Opnet Technologies.

In January, Compuware teamed with research and analysis firm Quocirca to survey 500 IT executives from organizations in the US, UK, Germany, and France about APM "problems and challenges facing IT executives." APM ranked as a top priority among the IT execs surveyed. Nearly 75 percent said their APM systems "should provide value across the application lifecycle in order to optimize performance of key transactions, reduce release cycle times, and improve the code being delivered to production." And 80 percent said their app monitoring systems should be more proactive to accelerate problem resolution and improve user experience.

John Van Siclen, general manager of Compuware's APM business unit, says he instigated the survey because he felt intuitively that something was changing in the APM market.

 "It felt like APM was moving from an IT tactical toolset for monitoring applications to something more strategic," Van Siclen told ADTmag in an earlier interview. "I seemed to be hearing a lot of executives talking about how they were going to manage the complexity that's exploding in the datacenter in the cloud and at the edge of the network. We wanted to see what the feeling actually was at the ‘C' level. What we found was that this is no longer tactical stuff deep in IT. APM is now seen as a system that needs to be layered in, not just in production, but also in Test and Dev."

"It's pretty clear now," he added, "that people all the way up to the C suite understand that the apps are driving their business and they need to take care of them."

Posted by John K. Waters on 10/10/2012 at 10:53 AM0 comments


JCP Ready for the Hard Stuff: Revising the JSPA

During the first Oracle-sponsored JavaOne conference in 2010, representatives from the Java Community Process (JCP), the group that certifies Java specifications, told attendees that changes were coming to the organization. That first year, JCP chair Patrick Curran said, would be about transparency, participation, agility and governance, all addressed in Java Specification Request (JSR) 348 ("Towards a new version of the Java Community Process"). A year later, Curran and company announced plans to merge the two JCP Executive Committees (ECs) -- the SE/EE EC and the ME EC -- under JSR 355 ("JCP Executive Committee Merge"). That plan was approved in September.

That's a lot to accomplish in just under three years, but during a Java Community Panel at this year's JavaOne event, Curran described (again) the issues addressed by those two JSRs as "low-hanging fruit." Now, Curran said, they're ready for the hard stuff -- namely, revising the Java Specification Participation Agreement (JSPA). JSR 358 ("A major revision of the Java Community Process"), which was announced in June, also seeks to modify the Process Document and the EC Standing Rules.

The JSPA sets forth the basic legal structure that allows companies and individuals to participate in the development and distribution of specifications, reference implementations, and technology compatibility kits (TCKs) within the JCP. The current version was created in 2002 through JSR 99. A lot changed in the decade that followed, and sponsors of JSR 358 argue that it's high time for the JCP "to revise this document to ensure that it meets our current needs."

But why does revising this document promise to be such a challenge?

"The JSPA was patched together from what we had at the very beginning," Curran explained, "and now it's this weird mishmash of old-style, Sun-centric [rules and procedures] and the modern way where everybody is collaborating. It's confusing legal spaghetti, and it needs to be revised to ensure that everyone understands the intellectual property flow, that the rights of people who contribute are protected, and that when people go out to implement they have confidence that they have the legal right to do so."

Among the issues being considered in this revision are: independent implementations, licensing and open source, transparency, compatibility policy and TCKs, the role of individual members, patent policy, intellectual property flow, and refactoring and cleanup.

This new JSR is part of what Curran called "a multi-year effort to reform and modify the governance and processes of the organization." What is striking about this ambitious enterprise is that it's being undertaken entirely through the existing procedures -- JSRs are filed to modify the group's governing documents, and the process changes the process.

Curran made no promises about when this JSR might be completed and approved. "This is a much more complex JSR that we've just started, and next year we'll probably still be talking about it," he said.

Posted by John K. Waters on 10/05/2012 at 10:53 AM0 comments


JavaOne 2012 Opening Night: Enterprise Java on Rise, Slew of New Releases, More

The annual JavaOne conference started early this year, staging its strategy, partner, and technical keynotes together on Sunday evening at the Mason Auditorium on San Francisco's Nob Hill. (The conference proper is being held at the nearby Hilton Hotel in Union Square through Thursday). The speakers offered a crowded auditorium updates and announcements on a range of Java technologies, from JavaFX to new Java ME-based offerings for embedded systems.

Hassan Risvi, SVP of Oracle's Fusion Middleware group, kicked off the show and introduced the conference theme: "Make the Future Java." He shared the annual Java Scorecard for 2012, which, among other things, indicated that adoption of the NetBeans IDE has been growing over the past three years. Risvi also underscored a new focus at this year's show on embedded Java. saying that he expects Java ME to become the lingua franca of the embedded world

Georges Saab, Oracle's vice president of development and chair of the OpenJDK, told attendees that there has been "a big uptake" of Java SE 7 in the enterprise. He added that JDK 7 had made Java available on more new platforms in the past year than in the previous 10. He also announced that Project Nashorn is being contributed to the OpenJDK. Nashorn is a JavaScript implementation designed to take advantage of InvokeDynamic for high performance with high interoperability with Java and the JVM. IBM, RedHat, and Twitter are planning to support Nashorn in OpenJDK, he said. Saab also called on the community to participate in the development of JDK 8 as "test pilots."

Dierk Konig of Canoo Engineering, a provider of Java-based business applications, (RIAs, linguistic morphology, and word analysis systems), joined Saab onstage to announce that his company is open sourcing its Dolphin remoting solution. Dolphin "bridges the world of enterprise and desktop Java," the company says on its website. The "Open-Dolphin" project is being licensed with an Apache 2 license, and hosted on GitHub.

AMD corporate fellow Phil Rogers took the stage to, among other things, announce Project Sumatra, a joint effort by his company and Oracle to build native support for Java in programs using Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) to improve performance. The project is a reaction, he said, to the evolution from multi-core CPUs to CPU+GPU combinations that use "a single piece of silicon and shared memory."

Nandini Ramani, Oracle vice president of engineering, Java client, and mobile platforms, updated attendees on JavaFX, which is now available on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It's also fully integrated into Oracle's Java SE 7 implementation, she said. Ramani also announced that Oracle is releasing a JavaFX developer preview for the Linux ARM distro, which is available for immediate download. The preview, she emphasized, is intended for use with ARM-based devices together with Oracle's Java SE port for ARM. Oracle is also offering a developer preview of JavaFX Scene Builder 1.1, also available now.

Ramani was joined onstage by a representative from the Royal Canadian Mint to demonstrate an implementation of Java Card, a Java platform for smart cards and tiny devices. She characterized Java Card as the "most widely deployed and least known" Java technology. The Canadian Mint is using Java Card as the basis for its new MintChip digital currency.

Ramani also talked about two new releases that mark a major move into the mobile-and-embedded systems space: Java ME Embedded 3.2, a client runtime optimized for microcontrollers, and Java Embedded Suite 7.0, collection of services for developing apps for embedded systems in a range of devices, from home gateways and routers to healthcare devices. The two releases acknowledge that "the Internet of things" is the next IT revolution, she said.

Oracle vice president of development, Cameron Purdy, took on the Java EE portion of the strategy keynote. The evolution of enterprise Java will continue to be in the direction of modularity, he said, with the next planned release of Java EE 7 targeted for Q2 2013. The earliest release of the Java EE 7 SDK is now available via the GlassFish versions, he said. Version 4 of the open source GlassFish application server includes significant HTML 5 enhancements, he added, many of which were announced at JavaOne 2011.

Purdy made the case for Java EE's continuing popularity, citing increased developer adoption numbers (more than 50 million downloads of Java EE components) and the fact that 14 Java EE 6-compliant app server implementations are currently available from other vendors.

Purdy also noted that there are currently four new Java Specification Requests (JSRs) and ten updated JSRs in the works for Java EE 7. Among the planned enhancements Purdy discussed were new features designed to ease the building of scalable HTML5 apps, including support for non-blocking (event-driven) I/O Servlet 3.1 API, JCache, JSON-P, WebSockets, JAX-RS 2.0 Client API, JPA schema generation, and a better security configuration aimed at the cloud.

Also look for updates to the 2.0 version of Java Message Service (JMS), which Purdy said will provide improved usability through annotation and CDI support and the JMS provider API for implementation portability.

Purdy was joined onstage by Nike's Nicole Otto, who showed a video promoting her company's Java EE-based FuelBand activity tracking device. The device is worn on the wrist and tracks sports activities and everyday actions, and then sync that data to a "motivational web and mobile experience."

The Java EE portion of the keynote also included a presentation by oceanography Robert Ballard, best known for his discovery of the wreckage of the Titanic. Ballard talked about using Java EE in his research technology, and made a compelling pitch to encourage young people to get into science and engineering in an "era of personality" by "selling the scientist, not the science."

The partners keynote was presented by IBM distinguished engineer and chief architect Jason McGee and IBM's Java CTO John Duimovich. McGee focused on "cloud challenges," and talked about the need to use patterns to describe cloud-based systems and "help us to deal with the diversity that has emerged in the application space." IBM's Liberty Profile, for example, is a lightweight WebSphere Application Server runtime for the cloud available on developerWorks. He emphasized the value of exploiting the evolution of hardware via "expert integrated systems of hardware and Java."

Duimovich talked about hardware during his presentation, including IBM's System z, and took up the pitch for the advantages of running Java on that system. He also took a moment to describe the relationship between Big Blue and Oracle: The two companies work together on Java, he said, "but compete head-to-head.

Mark Reinhold, the chief architect of Oracle's Java Platform group, led the technical keynote. This year's presentation was built around a single example application: a schedule builder populated with presentation and speaker data from this year's JavaOne conference. JavaFX team members Richard Bair, chief architect in Oracle's Client Java Platform group, and Jasper Potts, developer experience architect in Oracle's Client Java group, demoed the example app.

At one point, Brian Goetz, a Java language architect at Oracle, joined them onstage to explain the OpenJDK Project Lambda (JSR 335), which aims to support programming in multicore environments by adding closures (aka Lambda Expressions) and related features to the Java language. The project will help developers by giving them "better parallel libraries," he said.

During his presentation, Reinhold addressed Oracle's decision (first suggested by him in a blog post) to push Project Jigsaw back from Java 8 to Java 9, which is due in 2015. He used a "spaghetti" diagram to illustrate the complexities of implementing a standard module system for the Java SE Platform.

Oracle's Java EE technology evangelist Arun Gupta wrapped up the technical keynote, during which he introduced Project Easel, which enables NetBeans developers to create and manage client-side HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript applications. NetBeans 7.3 is expected later this week; the new version will include support for HTML5 as a new project type. He also discussed Project Avatar, development strategy that aims to help developers create hybrid applications for mobile devices with Java and HTML5. The project was unveiled at last year's JavaOne. 

JavaOne 2012 runs through Thursday.

Posted by John K. Waters on 10/01/2012 at 10:53 AM0 comments


JavaOne Preview: Even Bigger in 2012

The annual JavaOne conference gets underway next week in San Francisco with a new keynote venue, seven technical tracks comprising more than 500 sessions and speakers, and a new conference-within-the-conference focused on embedded Java. The nearly week-long event (Sept. 30 - Oct. 4) is being held (mostly) at the Hilton Hotel in Union Square.

One big change at this year's conference: the strategy, partner and technical keynotes are scheduled for Sunday evening (9/30), starting at 4 p.m. And they're being presented at the Mason Auditorium on Nob Hill. Last year they were delivered on Monday morning at the Hilton Ballroom. This is a bigger venue, an Oracle spokesperson told ADTmag, which was needed "to accommodate the ever-growing number of attendees," and the earlier presentations leave more room in the week for technical sessions.

The strategy keynote lineup includes Nandini Ramani, vice president of engineering in the Java Client and Mobile Platforms group, and Henrik Stahl, senior director of Oracle's product management group, among other "Oracle Java engineering luminaries." The partner keynote will be delivered by two IBM distinguished engineers: Jason McGee, Chief Architect for the PureApplication System, and John Duimovich, Java CTO. And Mark Reinhold, the chief architect of Oracle's Java Platform group, will be among the speakers during the technical keynote.

The Community keynote wraps up the conference on Thursday, as in years past; it's scheduled for at 9 a.m. at the Hilton. Attendees will hear from Sharat Chander, group director or Oracle's Java Technology Outreach group, Donald Smith, director of the company's Java product management group, and "several Java community luminaries."

A complete speakers list is available on the conference Web site

Another big change this year: Oracle has organized a special event focused on Java for embedded systems. Dubbed "Java Embedded @ JavaOne," it's a "business-focused program" that C-level executives can attend "while their IT/development staff can attend the technically-focused JavaOne conference." Oracle also unveiled two new embedded Java products this week -- the Java ME Embedded client runtime and the Java Embedded Suite of development services -- which the company plans to showcase at the Java Embedded event.

Java Embedded @ JavaOne runs from October 3-4 at the Nikko Hotel.

Since the first JavaOne conference was held in 1996, this highly-developer-focused trade show has become an annual must-attend event for Java coders around the world, an essential product showcase for vendors, and a touchstone for the larger Java community. This year's conference is the third organized by Oracle to run at the same time as that company's annual OpenWorld conference. The company's decision to hold the two enormously popular events simultaneously drew howls of protest back in 2010. This year: not so much. 

"I was pretty critical of JavaOne in 2010," said Ian Skerrett, director of marketing for the Eclipse Foundation. "The primary problem being the Hilton Hotel. However, last year they did a great job with the content and feel of the conference. I think they listened to the feedback and made a lot of improvements. From what I have heard...this year they are doing even more improvements, so I see JavaOne as, once again, a great developer conference."

"I would tend to agree that from a logistics perspective having JavaOne on its own is much more pleasant and productive," said IDC analyst Al Hilwa. "But given the unspoken competition for the largest vendor conference, I would not hold my breath on breaking JavaOne from [Oracle OpenWorld]. Of course there are advantages to having a larger conference in terms of reach with the Expo to a larger ecosystem and also for attendees who want to attend sessions from both events."

Although the two conferences are being held in separate venues (OpenWorld will take place at the Moscone Center a few blocks away), Oracle doesn't officially break out attendee numbers for JavaOne. Conference organizers expect more than 50,000 attendees at the two events.

Posted by John K. Waters on 09/26/2012 at 10:53 AM0 comments


Annual Dreamforce Event Draws Record Numbers

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff kicked off his company's annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco this week with eardrum-testing music, high-end customer videos, onstage executive cameos, and a keynote in "social revolution" overdrive. "Business is social!" Benioff declared from a stage set in the center of the packed Moscone auditorium. "It's the fastest growing segment of our industry, with 150 million customer conversations a day!"

"This social revolution is unlike anything we've ever experienced," Benioff said. "Every aspect of our world is changing. That is why this is the most exciting thing that is happening in our industry." He added, "The social revolution is a trust revolution, and the new social front office is where the trust revolution lives."

Amid the full-court-press sales pitch were some significant product announcements. For developers, the big news at this event is probably Force.com Canvas, a set of tools and JavaScript APIs designed to allow them to expose their apps as Canvas apps.The plan is to make it possible to integrate third-party apps in Salesforce -- any app in any language -- and allow them to run inside the Salesforce user interface with unified identity, secure access to records, and collaboration via Chatter. For.com Canvas is a pilot project; the company has said that it is planning for a winder 2013 release.

"The most exciting hardcore thing [Salesforce is] doing for developers are probably the Force.com Canvas, which provides a framework for integrating applications written in other programming language into Force.com," observed IDC analyst Al Hilwa.

One of the splashiest announcements was the official launch of Salesforce's Touch Platform. The company's new HTML5-based mobile application development framework is designed to "bring Salesforce to any mobile device, regardless of platform." The company already has mobile versions of its CRM software (Salesforce Mobile) and its social networking app (Chatter Mobile). But Touch is optimized for the market-leading tablets and phones, including Amazon's Kindle, Apple's iPhone and iPad, and a range of Android devices

Benioff brought Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts back to the Dreamforce stage (she appeared last year) to talk about the impact of mobile on her company. Pointing to her smartphone, she said, "These things truly are changing the world." She also talked about working closely with Salesforce to build the new Burberry World Live website. The project will "test the boundaries" of the customer experience, she said.

The Touch Platform was pushed on Wednesday to the Salesforce App Exchange, Benioff said.

IDC's Hilwa agrees that the mobile news is big, but he argues that the company's overall moves to strengthen its platform are more significant.

"Having mobile access to the Salesforce application from a variety of devices is a great new development and much needed," Hilwa told ADTmag, "but the platform and social investments are even more critical to Salesforce in the long run. Salesforce rightly understands that building a strong and durable application business is inseparable from building an application and developer ecosystem."

Hilwa is referring to the company's announcements of a new a "social marketing" suite (Marketing Cloud), a social-oriented human resource management system (Work.com), a new identity management system (Salesforce Identity), and a new file sharing app (Chatterbox).

Salesforce EVP Brett Queener took the stage to introduce the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. The new product suite uses the Radian6 social monitoring tool and the Buddy Media social marketing tool to bring marketing into the social revolution, he said. The Marketing Cloud combines several capabilities, including the ability to: track what people on the social web are saying about a company, generate social media content for the company, engage and interact with customers, launch and manage social campaigns, rout relevant content to the right people in an organization, and track ROI.

Benioff brought Men's Warehouse CEO and TV pitchman George Zimmer to the stage to talk about how his company is using the Marketing Cloud to target millennials, and Commonwealth Bank CMO Andy Lark, who said that "marketing has been the most underserved by tech."

The company is billing its new Work.com as a kind of social human resources management system. It's designed to provide a "social performance management platform that revolutionizes the way companies align around social goals, motivate their people with real-time recognition and rewards, and drives performance with continuous feedback and relevant performance reviews." As Salesforce EVP John Wookey put it, "HR software is about administration, not about driving success."

Tim Campos, CIO of Facebook, took the stage at the conference to explain the service. Campos has been credited with co-developing the system. "With traditional ERP and Human Resources Management systems, you have the concepts of the cost center and the org chart," he said. "These are important ways of organizing information, but what is a lot more important in managing employees is recognizing who they work with and allowing them to provide feedback to each other."

Salesforce cofounder Parker Harris took the stage to introduce Salesforce's new Chatterbox, which has been billed as a "Dropbox for the enterprise." A direct challenge to file sharing apps like Dropbox and Box, Chatterbox is designed to allow users to manage and share files "in the context of business," Harris said. Chatterbox is scheduled for release next year.

The company also introduced Chatter Communities for Partners, a new partner portal that aims to connect companies with distributors, resellers, and suppliers "to drive sales." The new portal replaces so-called legacy partner portals, the company said.

Salesforce COO George Hu took the stage to introduce Salesforce Identity, a Facebook-like ID management system for the enterprise. The single sign-on system can be pre-integrated across applications, Hu said, so that multiple apps can be accessed without multiple user names, passwords, and logons. Hu said the new ID service "is going to become your passport to any application in your enterprise," Hu said.

Benioff declared this year's Dreamforce conference to be the tech industry's largest event. With a reported 90,000+ attendees -- nearly double last year's numbers -- he might be right.

Posted by John K. Waters on 09/20/2012 at 10:53 AM0 comments


9th VMworld Draws 20k Attendees, Crowd of Vendors

It's hard to believe they wrapped up the 9th annual VMworld conference in San Francisco last week. It seems like only yesterday I sat down with Diane Greene, VMware's co-founder, at a LinuxWorld conference to talk about a then largely misunderstood technology that she, her husband, Stanford professor Mendel Rosenblum, two graduate students (Edouard Gugnion and Scott Devine) and a friend from Berkeley (Edward Wang) had unearthed from the mainframe midden and re-imagined for x86.

This year's show drew an estimated 20,000 attendees and took up all three wings of the Moscone Center. But more remarkable to me was the number of third-party vendors working booths and making announcements at this sprawling event. Here are a few of many highlights I could have mentioned (and would have if they gave me more space in this blog). Some were big news, while some you might not have noticed, but should have:

- Cloud and virtual infrastructure control company HyTrust, for example, unveiled version 3.0 of the HyTrust Appliance -- which is a good example of VMware working with third-party vendors to move virtualization into the enterprise. HyTrust provide policy management and access control to virtual infrastructures. As the company's president and co-founder, Eric Chiu, explained it to me, the HyTrust Appliance (which is virtual) "enforces policies on the control plane of VMware-based virtual infrastructure and provides the visibility required for security and compliance."

"If you think about VMware, it's a new operating system for the data center," Chiu said. "We provide security and compliance controls around VMware's vSphere, in particular around the management and administration. So you get this fine-grained authorization; any time anyone is managing the environment, technically they're going through us."

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company also has one of my favorite slogans from the show: "Virtualization Under Control."

- Zend Technologies announced a partnership with show organizer VMware that integrates the vFabric Application Director with Zend Server. By integrating Zend's PHP-based Web-app server with VMware's cloud-enabled application provisioning solution, the two companies aim to make it easier for enterprises to deploy and manage their virtualized PHP apps to public, private and hybrid clouds. The Cupertino, Calif.-based provider of is the creator and commercial maintainer of the PHP dynamic scripting language and various frameworks, solutions, and services supporting it.

The companies noted in a statement that a "key" to this integration was a set of portable deployment blueprints that Zend created by working closely with VMware. "The blueprints feature a reference implementation that codifies the best-in-class standards of Zend Server for private, public and hybrid clouds," the companies said. "By creating the blueprints, Zend and VMware have made it easier for users to create a self-service interface to provision PHP applications."

- ServiceNow, a provider of cloud-based services that automate enterprise IT operations, announced the addition of end-to-end lifecycle automation for managing VMware virtual machines (VMs). The new capabilities in its cloud-based software are designed to manage the VMs "from creation to retirement," the company said.

"Until now, VMware has provided utilities for provisioning a VM and retiring one, but everything in-between and beforehand has been missing," spokesperson Caitlin Regan for the San Diego-based company said in an e-mail.

Company founder and chief product officer Fred Luddy lead a session at the show entitle "VMs Rock. But managing them on behalf of other people … sucks."

- Seattle's ExtraHop Networks, a provider of network-based application performance monitoring (APM) technology, launched version 3.7 of its Application Delivery Assurance system at this year's show. The new version introduces features that have not been available in the ARM market before, including:

Advanced Web Payload Analysis, which makes it possible for companies to manage all mission critical APIs; Precision Syslogging, which allows orgs to log critical events and metrics that hadn't been available for analysis by log aggregation solutions; Flex Grids, which provides a way to create versatile reporting summaries of user-specified metrics across devices, device groups and apps; and Dynamic GeoMaps, which shows worldwide activity and metrics based a translation of the IP address to a geographical location.

The ExtraHop folks pointed me to a blog post on their site about Gartner's latest Magic Quadrant for APM report. Worth a look if you're following this market.

- Savvis, a provider of cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions for the enterprise, unveiled a new cloud ecosystem program, with which the company aims to "deliver greater flexibility in the cloud computing environment through collaboration/partnerships with innovative cloud technology providers."

I'd swear I heard "cloud" and "ecosystem" more often at this show than "virtualization." But the Savvis news is worth noting, if for no other reason than the lineup of participants. Among the participants in the newly launched Savvis Enterprise Cloud Ecosystem Program, the company lists BMC Software, ServiceMesh, Rackware, Compuware, DataGardens, Racemi, RiverMeadow Software and ScaleXtreme.

Under the auspices of this program these companies are making their offerings available to Savvis clients. In return, they get complimentary access to the Savvis Symphony Virtual Private Data Center (VPDC) for API integration and testing. The company describes the VPDC as an "enterprise-class virtual private data center cloud solution." Participants also get direct access to Savvis' product management and engineering teams. They even get to use Savvis' sales and marketing resources.

Savvis is owned by Monroe, La.-based telecommunications company CenturyLink. 

- If there was a buzzphrase at this year's show, it was VMware's "software-defined data center." Network solutions provider Brocade offered a variation on that theme by unveiling its ADX Series of application delivery switches, which are part of its "software-defined networking (SDN) vision, strategy and innovation roadmap." The switches are designed to deliver highly scalable VXLAN (Virtual eXtensible Local Area Network) gateway services for virtualized cloud networks developed in partnership with VMware.

- VMware announced at the show an expansion of its VMware Ready for Networking and Security Program, which the company describes on its Web site as "a partner-focused initiative to integrate third party networking and security products into the VMware vCloud suite. One partner taking advantage of that expansion is F5 Networks, a provider of application delivery networking solutions. The company announced plans to integrate its BIG-IP products using the new program. BIG-IP is a suite of app delivery services designed to work together on the same hardware platform or software virtual instance.

- MokaFive, provider of a desktop-as-a-service platform, demonstrated a new product capability at the show. Dubbed Trickleback, it's a cloud sync capability designed to leverage commercial cloud-storage providers (Amazon S3, for example) to provide customers with "secure, encrypted synchronization of data across all of their computers and mobile devices." It works with both the MokaFive Suite, which includes tools that allows users to create, run, distribute and manage VMs called "LivePCs;" and MokaFive for iOS, which provides secure access to corporate files from an iPad.

Posted by John K. Waters on 09/04/2012 at 10:53 AM0 comments