Friday Aug 15, 2008

Makeovers for Java ME applications

One of my Top 10 Rich Client things from JavaOne this year was the Java ME Lightweight UI Toolkit (LWUIT). And the team just open sourced it yesterday.

If you're looking for a quick and easy way to add some fit and finish to a Java ME mobile application for use on the version of Java ME that is deployed today on billions of devices, you need to check it out.

It takes some of the familiar core ideas of Swing - some of the widgets, layouts, themes - and shrinkwraps them into something good looking, powerful, small and easy to get started with.

See it in action for yourself.

Sunday Nov 12, 2006

Java ME, SE and EE: Open Source, Open Source and, yes Open Source

We've been climbing this particular mountain for a number of years now (since I was a small child, it seems). Many have been impatient for us to reach the top for a quite some time. Our bosses passed us the flag to plant at JavaOne. We finally took the hint and did a press event as the summit came into view in August. Given that there is so little surprise left in what Sun is announcing today, it still feels momentous and more than a little delicious to get to the top and look out at the view:

Has there ever been a larger single donation of source code into open source before ?

The source for all three of our Java platform implementations: Java ME, Java SE and Java EE are going out under GPLv2. (Yes, the licence the Linux community uses.)


That's the view from the top !

In the JDK team, we're open sourcing the javac compiler and Hotspot today, on the new OpenJDK website, with the rest to follow next year. There's plenty of scaffolding holding things up for now. If you're not already busy in the JCP working on the API specifications for Java SE, come join us in as the infrastructure and governance model takes shape for our implementation for Java SE over the next few months.

PS. Yes, Java EE's implementation Glassfish was already open source, so now its doubly so :-)

Friday Aug 18, 2006

Open Source Java SE: Who gives a fig ?

Who cares ? Five days after our announcement on Monday, I felt it was time to digest the reactions around the Java world to the news.

Missed opportunity for word play

I was all geared up for a slew of press headlines marrying 'Sun' with some combination of 'rise', 'set', 'shine', 'burn', 'spot' or 'screen'. And, you know, a graphic of a sun cresting over a choppy sea full of joyous penguins or something.

But instead we've had a real treat of a large number of articles that mostly accurately represent the plan we announced on Monday. For example: CNET, Internetnews, eWeek, TecnNewsWorld, DevX, all with sober headlines.

(OK, one of them couldn't resist.)

You did ask...

Much of the complexity in Sun making this move is for us to do so in a responsible manner with regard to to the other vendors who have embraced Java technology. I imagine BEA will be pleased at this latest news given their past beseechings, and current 'blended strategy' on Open Source (chirp...). A hasty reaction from some folks from IBM appears to have been mostly made facing upwind, except for some free product feedback they got.

More helpfully, and critical to our getting this right, have been some very constructive assessments and advice from people like Geir, Dalibor and Tom who really know this stuff because they have or are working on open source implementations of Java SE already.

OK, but just don't break it for us

For me, the most interesting reactions have been those from Java developers. Perhaps in the long anticipation of this completion of opening up the development of the Java platform codebases, much of the heat and fire has been dissapated. So I have to say that the volume of debate in the fora that I have been following has not eclipsed other burning issues of the day. But the reactions appear to have been largely focussed on the mechanics of rolling out the program, rather than on its merits. Though of course there are some colorful exceptions. Debates on the central issue of the choice of licence appear as a popular discussion point, though there does not appear to be a consensus. My own suspicion as to why being that the consequences of the choice are complex to divine. Law school anyone ? There have been a couple of sinister theories that I probably won't lose any sleep about, and some misinformation about Java EE [Update: That got corrected since I posted this]. And there I was, thinking everyone knew that our implementation is already open source. But I was happy to see that one of the potential benefits that Java SE will go where no Java SE has gone before, is being discussed by others too.  Of course, what I suspect many developers feel on this topic is indifference to mild concern: that they do not care how Java is made, but just that it's there and that it works. No surprise then that there are some worries that it might not.

We do well to keep them at the front of our minds.

Monday Aug 14, 2006

Open Source: Cutting the Java SE apron strings

Like any parent watching a child leave home for college, Sun appears to have had mixed feelings about the imminent (early 2007, to be precise) departure of its Java SE JDK from its closed source home. Conceived in vitro, from baby steps in a new playground, through child prodigy, with firm friendships, and being no more trouble than some bullying at school, Sun's prodigal child is at last standing in the doorway ready to leave home. Just as the opinions of the Java Community within Sun have been mixed, so have those in the wider Java Community, although for many developers just trying to get their applications written, they don't care how Java is made so long as it works.

Of course some of the most recent steps in Java SE's ten year progress into into the Wide Open World (with an eye to its bigger sibling Java EE) have done much to soften the blow to those who would keep it home longer. Much of the anxiety about open sourcing Java SE has been expressed has been in terms of the risk of loss of compatibility. Which, for a technology with a complex network of commercial and non-commercial entities depending on it, that are able to interact as only effectively as the level of their mutual agreement of what it is, would be the worst outcome. Which argues for perfecting this Matrix of agreements. Yet keeping the screws too tight around the system could cause a slowing of innovation, and the vital ability of Java to flex and morph quickly enough in its ecosystem to remain relevant.

The film buffs amongst you doubtless know that any human/machine system needs some measure of chaos to remain viable, and that an overprotective mother can lead to a very unwelcoming motel.

Thankfully, Jonathan and Rich simplified our dilemma at JavaOne this year by announcing that yes we're doing it (at last). As one of the many people at Sun working on the various and several aspects of open sourcing Java SE, I'm telling you we're busy packing the trunk and working through our To Do list, which we're pinning to the front door for all the neighbors to see, to make sure the strapping adult we have all helped in some way to grow gets the best start possible.

For myself, I can't wait to see if completing this step of transparency of development process will produce something unexpected and delightful around or within the Java SE JDK. Just as making it easy to post video clips has created unexpected new stars in our consciousness.

If you want to watch us check off the items on our list over the next few months in the countdown to our release of a full buildable version early in 2007 of the JDK under an open source licence (nearly all, think swiss cheese), stick around here. Or better still bookmark the new Java SE Open Source site.

Oh, and can you guess which pieces we're going to open up before Christmas ? (hint: Hotspot and javac)




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