By gravax on Mar 18, 2008
OK... I'm going to sound like an old fart here. But well, maybe I'm starting to be.
I just realized that Java being over 13 years old, while I was there when it was born (I was actually already working at Sun - that's the 'I'm an old fart' part), many of today's developer came to the IT world after Java was born.
Just as for me, during all of my career, I've known that things like FORTRAN and COBOL had always been (and likely will always be) around... for the new army of developers writing AMP applications, AJAX, .Net, Ruby-on-Rails... Java has always been around (and likely will always be).
So maybe it's time at Sun that we start talking to these people not like if Java was the latest hip thing, but more as if Java was something that's always been there and will always be. There's really no point in telling developers that FORTRAN or COBOL is there... they know it. They also know Java is there.
We've got to make Java evolve, live on, become even better... and we have to keep the developer community interested in Java, not because of hype, but because it truly is one of the best platforms in the market. Probably the only one that offers as much portability and interoperability on the planet. But this is not new. This is not news. This is.
So how do we keep developers interested in Java, in this old news? How do we get them to write in Java, to target the Java platform? We're already doing quite a bit to address this. But we need more.
We are making sure that Java keeps up-to-date with the required set of features that the world expects of such a universal platform. Now that Java is GPL, we'll get even more contributions, and hopefully, it will get richer and richer... without getting bloated.
We need to revise how we drive our JavaOne conference. We need to target a different audience. We need to make it cooler, more hip, fancier. We need to make it more into a community event. Add unconferencing to it. We might need to hire people who are more versed into the new-world marketing / communication tools. It's not just about blogging, but goes way beyond if we want the communities to adopt Java.
We need to make the Java community a user community, even more than we need to make it a developer community. In the open source world, the users are turning into developers. The more users of Java, the more they will contribute, as developers. And we've got to be ready to include them in the development process of Java... as every good open source project does with their user-contributors.