By seanharris on May 10, 2008
I was at Sun World in 1995 when Java was first previewed and I have attend JavaOne for business meetings a number of times in the late 90's and early 2000's (I never know how to write this) when I was Systems Engineering Manager for Sun's OEM Software team in EMEA. I have seen the debates rage over whether Java was fit for purpose on the desktop and was Java ever going to make it into consumer and mobile devices. Indeed working for OEM software when I did my team was key in getting Java into mobile devices working with the likes of Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Sagem and Samsung as well as working closely with mobile GSM operators in Europe. So what are the conclusions has Java had it's day? Absolutely not. The eco system is stronger than ever. In each of the sectors that it is used - desktop, server, consumer devices, mobile devices, smartcards and now real time systems it is the benchmark by which other technologies and solutions measure themselves. Will Java gain world domination and wipe out all other technologies and solutions? Of course not. Apart from the fact that choice is a good thing. Diversity and choice means that there is competition, which keeps everyone on their toes. Choice results in a larger and more vibrant overall market place - a rising tide floats all boats. Finally choice services more of the long tail rather than forcing everyone to suffer the lowest common denominator. Make no mistake however Java is not on it's way out any time soon.
Now to climb down from my soap box for a while. One thing that hit me at JavaOne this year was the ratio of Apple laptops to PC laptops. It was at least 50% Apple with the Macbook Pro seeming to be the weapon of choice for the majority of developers. This helped me to feel much better about the money that I lashed out a few months ago on a Macbook Air (more about that in a later post). The next thing that hit me having been out of the mainstream of Java for a few years was the uptake of OSGi in the application server space. When I was last actively involved in this it was firmly targeted at the home automation market but it now seems to be a key requirement for application servers going forward and it's inclusion in Glassfish v3 and Spring 2.5 are just two examples of this. The other big thing was the integration of scripting with Java (both desktop and server side) and the wide variety of scripting languages and frameworks - more choice! The final big thing was open source. It is clear that open source is here to stay and will continue to get more deeply embedded and widely adopted in commercial tools and solutions. Increasingly commercial software companies are realising that hiding the source code for your application buys you nothing and opening up you code to the community buys you increased adoption, increase innovation and improved code quality. The keynote presenter from CERN made the statement also that it was tax payers money from the community that had paid for their code development so surely the community had a right to see the results! Government organisations take note. If you develop software we have a right to see it and use it free of charge because we have already paid for it (sorry I have crept back onto my soapbox.
As I mentioned before I have attended JavaOne before in a business capacity and never had the chance to attend any of the technical sessions. This time was different and it was a real pleasure to geek out for a week and see the show from a different angle. I would seriously recommend it to anyone involved in Java technology, Java development or any web based development.
For reasons that I can't explain my travel agent decided to book me into the Sheraton at Fisherman's Wharf for this conference however this did mean that for this week I had the joy of using the cable car for my commute each day. A real treat that made my kids very jealous. Remember little boys never grow up. Their toys just get bigger and more expensive.