Happy Birthday, Java!

On Java’s 10th birthday, sums up the impact Java has had on the technology industry: “4 million Java developers. 1.75 billion devices run Java. Java is everywhere.”

This may be no exaggeration. According to the Financial Express, Java drives an estimated 100 billion dollars annually. That amount is expected to increase as Java expands its scope into mobile devices. Seven out of 10 wireless applications under construction will use the Java technology runtime environment. Additionally, 86 percent of users recognize the Java brand, according to a recent Sun survey.

Graham Porter, a Sun Microsystems marketing manager, adds, “Last year, Sun even received a royalty fee from one of the world’s largest IT corporations, to use Java technology for the next 10 years, demonstrating how Java really does set the standards for the rest of the industry.”

“It’s been a rocket ride that nobody expected would ever get near this far,” said Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s president and COO at a low-key birthday party for Java in Santa Clara, Calif., earlier this month.

James Gosling, “The Father of Java,” agrees. In an interview with Business Week, he claims: “I’m surprised because it felt at first like an exercise in science fiction, so none of us would have guessed at the scale of things. I would have been overwhelmingly happy if one university professor decided to teach this stuff in class. Now, Java is taught in almost every computer science program.”

Though, looking back, there were a few scrapes and bruises on the road to 10. Some analysts cite Java’s failure to take hold of the Java server market as a major blown opportunity. Others claim a lengthy and bitter dispute with Microsoft was a major hindrance to Java development.

But like any other 10-year-old, Java keeps on playing, and Gosling has some ideas for what may be brewing in the future. “I’d like to have more systems in my house far more open. I’d love to be able to get my car and house talking to each other, or have my telephones and other gear talking to each other, so the frigging CD player or the TV pauses when I answer a phone call.”

About the Author

Jamison Cush is assistant editor at Application Development Trends magazine.