Blog archive

Guardians' Charter Draft: Oracle Is 'Conspicuously Neglecting' Java EE 8

The Java EE Guardians this week unveiled a public draft of their charter, and it's worth reading for anyone interested in the future of enterprise Java. The charter makes and supports the argument that Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) continues to be essential to the long-term health of the Java ecosystem, and then it lays out compelling evidence that Oracle is "conspicuously neglecting Java EE."

A big chunk of that evidence comes from data analysis conducted independently by Josh Juneau, a Chicago-based app developer and author. (He wrote JavaServer Faces: Introduction by Example and Java EE 7 Recipes.) Earlier this year, Juneau began tracking "a decline in activity" around Java Specification Requests (JSRs) aimed at Java EE 8 for which Oracle maintains the lead.

"I had noticed activity declining late last year, but it wasn't until other members of the community pinged me in January to express serious concerns about a slowdown they were seeing that I really sat up and took a hard look," Juneau told me. "That's when I saw a clear drop in activity on these JSRs starting back in October. And then I started compiling the numbers."

Juneau chronicled his analysis in a long blog post that I highly recommend. He focused on JSR 372: JavaServer Faces 2.3; and JSR 368: Java Message Service 2.1. Juneau serves on the expert group for JSR 372 and JSR 378: Portlet 3.0 Bridge for JavaServer Faces 2.2. Many of the charts he included in that blog post to illustrate his findings appear in the Guardians' charter document.

"It seems as though Oracle may be shifting direction with their enterprise technology toward microservices and the cloud," Juneau said, "which is the way things are going nowadays. The problem with that strategy is that most of the ecosystem for the cloud, and even microservices, relies completely on Java EE technology. This really should be a concern to the Java developer community as a whole."

The Java EE Guardians, a group of volunteers committed to securing the continuing evolution of enterprise Java, formally announced their organization in March, though many of the group's members had been meeting for several months over concerns about Oracle's seeming lack of commitment to the upcoming Java EE 8 release.

Juneau has been a part of that conversation for some time, and he joined the Guardians to continue it at another level, he explained. "I guess my primary goal is to get a clear answer from Oracle about the future of Java," he said. "And if it turns out that Oracle isn't interested in helping to evolve those JSRs that are a part of Java EE 8, I'd like to explore the possibility of seeing those opened up so that the community and other organizations can take them over and move them forward, because they are so important to the entire ecosystem."

At least some of the heat that sparked the formation of the Guardians was generated when the head of Oracle's Java EE group, senior vice president Cameron Purdy, left last year amid rumors that Oracle was thinning its Java evangelist ranks. Other Java execs followed, including Reza Rahman, a former Oracle Java EE community evangelist who has been something of a driving force behind the Guardians.

I think it's worth noting that Juneau, Rahman, and all the Guardians I've spoken with to date give Oracle credit for being a good shepherd of Java over most of the past five years, and applaud the work of of the Oracle spec leads in general. (Juneau gave a shoutout in his blog post to the spec leads for JSR 372.) Their current concerns, they have said, arise from recent developments.

The Java EE Guardians maintain a public Google Group for open discussions of their concerns and activities. And they post regularly to Twitter with the handle @javaee_guardians.

Posted by John K. Waters on May 6, 2016