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Purdy on Java EE Becoming Jakarta

I've been bugging members of the enterprise Java community to get their reactions, now that it's a done deal, to the rebranding of Java EE. Under the aegis of the Eclipse Foundation, the technology formerly known as Java Enterprise Edition (and Project EE4J) is now Jakarta EE.

One of the people I reached out to was Cameron Purdy, currently the CEO and founder of xqiz.it (pronounced "exquisite"), a stealth mode startup, and a former vice president of development at Oracle. Purdy was one of the first executives to leave Oracle in 2015 amid rumors the company was thinning the ranks of its Java EE evangelists. Other Java execs followed, including Reza Rahman, a former Oracle Java EE community evangelist who became something of a driving force behind the Java EE Guardians. Rahman once told me he saw the writing on the wall at Oracle when Purdy left, and he described him in his personal blog as "a gem in the executive ranks of our industry," and one of the reasons he signed on to evangelize enterprise Java at Oracle.

Purdy believes the rebranding of Java EE is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things in Javaland.

"Oracle wanted to disinvest from an open, enterprise Java standard, and fortunately, the community wanted to carry the investment forward," he said in an email. "Oracle wanted to withhold the Java brand, and the community wanted to retain it. Oracle wanted to wash its hands of the whole matter, and the community found a creative solution that allowed Oracle to do so."

The important question for the enterprise Java community now, Purdy argued, is What comes next?

"Java is such a wonderful platform overall, but the stagnation of the enterprise standards in Java has been a major contributor to entropy in the use of Java by businesses," he said. "The natural coalescing action of standards has been absent, and instead we witness a constant cacophony of cloud frameworks, ever-changing semi-proprietary APIs, and cobbled-together container technologies spreading like the plague. Other languages and platforms have only been too glad to pick up the slack, much to the detriment of the coming generation of programmers who will have to maintain this absurd mess."

"Even worse," he added, "it is impossible to overstate the detriment to our industry of technical debt, because servicing that debt (maintaining these shoddily constructed systems and recovering from the inevitable security breaches and data losses) consumes over 95 percent of IT budgets already. Innovation gets squeezed out, and as that occurs, we are no longer able to maximize technology's innate ability to improve productivity. Our amazing economic growth over the past several decades has been largely fueled by productivity gains resulting from IT and other software technologies, and, at least in the case of IT, Java and enterprise Java standards were major contributors. Nature abhors a vacuum."

BTW: Purdy is also a Top Writer on the Quora question-and-answer site. I'm not sure he'll be answering as many questions now that he's in the midst of a startup, but he has been well worth following on that site.

Posted by John K. Waters on March 14, 2018