Java SE Ecology


I've been trying to find a good way of summarising everything that's new in Java SE 6. I know folks have been blogging like mad about it, but sometimes its can be useful to take a step back from the detail see it all at once. I'll write something that sums up why I think Java SE 6 is an important release next week.

In the meantime, I got to thinking, who is Java SE 6 for in any case ?

That's easy: its for end users who use the applications that need Java. Hmm, or is it for the developers that develop those applications for the end users ? But then, parts of it, like all the docs we provide in Java SE releases, are for the educators who help developers grow their skills in Java programming. Or other times, its for people who develop tools and frameworks that help the developers.....

Clearly, we have many masters. So then to get things straight, I drew a picture.

The longer you look at the picture, the more you will see that the blobs are just groups of people doing things to do with Java, and the lines represent a relationship between them.

You, gentle reader, might wonder where you are on the diagram, or where your blogospherical virtual self is. You're probably nestling in one or more than one of the blobs. Or you might wonder where a company like Google is on the diagram. All over ! They are certainly avid Java developers, they help produce the Java SE platform itself, for example, through the JCP. I'll bet Google employees use many Java applications themselves, so they're in that blob too... You get the idea. Repeat for your favorite company. (aside, how many companies are in all the blobs ?)

I suppose the lines with the arrows are a little curious: they're showing, in the direction of the arrow, the flow of something of value. Like for example, following the line between the Producing Java SE and the Developers: the value of many of the new things in Java SE 6 for Java developers: like Web Service APIs, JavaScript support et cetera. Or following the line between the Java developers and the people who use the applications, an example close to my home is the value in terms of time saved I get from being able to pay my bills online. All because of the Java applications running my online banking developed by a certain well-known bank.

And so on with every other line in the diagram.

Flowing up the lines, in the opposite direction of the arrows, is a litany of both praise and complaint which, if the people in the boxes upstream are half awake, they will do well to pay careful attention to, and use to maintain or increase the flow of value back downstream. Otherwise, they will find those lines shrivelling up, or rapidly connecting to some other mysterious blobs lurking beyond the edge of the page....

Isn't it interesting to see how many paths those of us involved in producing the Java SE platform have to, say, the End-Users ? Some more direct that others.

Of course, money flows mysteriously around this little ecosystem, but really to get that straight, we need a bigger picture :-)


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