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Live! 360/App DevTrends: Reza Rahman Calls on Java Enterprise Community To Come Together

Reza Rahman delivered the opening keynote at App Dev Trends 2016 (part of Live 360!) Tuesday morning, giving attendees a deep, contextual history of enterprise Java and issuing something of a call to arms.

"If we are going to ensure the future of enterprise Java, we must remain alert, stay engaged, and participate in the community. You have to do these things anyway, of course, but it's more important now than ever. Java EE is a maturing technology. If we don't reenergize it now, as a community, the investment in this technology we have made over the years will go away."

Rahman emerged as a pivotal figure in the enterprise Java world earlier this year, starting with his departure from Oracle, where he had served as Java EE Evangelist, over concerns about what he perceived to be the company's neglect of enterprise Java. Shortly after resuming his consulting work for CapTech, a national IT management consulting firm, Rahman and a group of concerned Java community members launched the Java EE Guardians, and promptly published a petition aimed at Oracle executives.

Rahman's keynote, entitled "You Are the Future of Enterprise Java!" was an apt exploration of a dynamic technology evolution presented within the context of recent developments. It focused on what's inside Java EE 8 and how it got there, and explored the critical role Java EE and APIs currently play in maintaining the health of the entire Java and IT ecosystem.

But at a fundamental level, his presentation was about a community. "The process of defining the scope of Java EE 8 was the most community-opinion-driven process in the history of the platform," he told me in an earlier interview. "In fact, it was the community that helped to smooth the many bumps along the road to Java EE 8 for the entire IT industry."

To a question from a skeptical audience member about how important the Java community really is to the future of Java EE, Rahman offered a hypothetical scenario with the largely Microsoft-centric conference in mind.

"In a worst-case scenario, we -- the Java EE community -- could say, forget about Oracle and let's all just stand behind the MicroProfile project and move the technology ahead together," he said. "But imagine this happening in the Microsoft world. If Microsoft were ever to decide to divest itself from .NET -- and I'm not saying they ever would—you would have no one to respond, no one who could leverage the strength of a community to get them to change their minds.

"All of what has happened in the past year -- the founding of the Java EE Guardians and the MicroProfile, Oracle's response to our actions, etc. -- to me, is a validation that the Java ecosystem works. In fact, I'd say that this is the worst fire drill that we could have gone through, proving out what differentiates us from all the other technologies out there; that this is not an autocracy, but a dynamic system with multiple layers of control. Even with all our recent belly aching and strife, we are still fundamentally one of the strongest ecosystems around."

AppDevTrends is part of the popular Live! 360 uberconference, underway this week at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. We're running side-by-side with Visual Studio Live!, SQL Server Live!, Office/SharePoint Live!, Modern Apps Live!, and TechMentor. Videos of some of the other keynotes from the show are available here.

Be sure to say "hi" if you see me at the show, and follow the latest updates on my twitter.

Posted on December 6, 2016