Sun's JavaOne Warmup
- By John K. Waters
JavaOne 2006, the 11th annual gathering of Java jocks in the City by the Bay, is
very nearly upon us (it runs May 16-19 in San Francisco's Moscone Center). Sun
Microsystems, the show's sponsor and organizer, and Java's éminence
grise, assembled a contingent of its execs and partner reps at the Menlo
Park campus this afternoon to warm up reporters and analysts for the show.
The big news of the day: The Java Community Process (JCP) has approved the Java
Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) 5 specification. Okay, so it wasn't
exactly news. The JCP voted on and approved JSR 244 on Monday night, passing
unanimously the final spec of the platform. Still, this is a big deal, and you
gotta love the timing. Sun's new CEO, Jonathan Schwartz, is downright deft at
deflecting all those when-will-Java-be-open-sourced questions, but I'm guessing
he'll be glad to have Enterprise Java to talk about at the show.
Or will he? Will Schwartz, who led the move to open-source Solaris, be the
man, finally, to open-source Java?
Who knows? The rumor machine is screaming so loudly right now that I can't
hear myself think. But that's not news, either. I'm having a hard time
remembering a JavaOne that wasn't preceded by open-source rumors.
The for-crying-out-loud-just-open-source-Java-already contingent appears to
have glommed onto two things this year: One is Glassfish, the 1100-member
open-source community, started last year by Sun, which is developing an
open-source app server that implements Java EE 5. Glassfish is one of a variety
of community-based projects hosted on java.net. And, in Sun's words, it's part
of ''a larger effort by Sun to release major portions of its code into open
source for use and improvement by the community.''
The other is that open
letter from former Sun exec Peter Yared, now CEO of ActiveGrid, posted on
his blog, nagging Schwartz to open-source Java. My favorite passage: ''Can you
guys let go a bit and let us all share a single, open source virtual machine? It
would be good for Java, good for LAMP, and good for customers. Combining two of
the three leading development platforms would make them both more competitive
Yared makes a good, albeit whiny, point, but Schwartz doesn't look
like the kind of guy who responds well to kvetching, so I wouldn't expect the
letter to mean much. Glassfish is more significant, as are the rivulets
trickling out of Sun suggesting that there's a real internal debate over Java's
fate, and that Schwartz is listening.
Here's what I know for sure: Java EE 5 represents a much-needed, major revamp
of the enterprise Java programming model, which was actually started last year
with the introduction of Java SE 5, which introduced a number of ease-of-dev
features that Java EE is set to take advantage of. Those
improvements, Sun's Joe Keller said, will ''radically simplify'' the Java
EE programming model, especially for Web services, the Web tier, and
transactional components. He added: ''The platform continues to evolve to
support the latest technologies for building out Web apps, implementing SOAs,
and taking advantage of the new features around Web 2.0-types of technologies
that are becoming popular.''
And that's very good news.
More later on the upcoming JavaOne show.
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached