Sunday Sep 30, 2012

The Java Specialist: An Interview with Java Champion Heinz Kabutz

Dr. Heinz Kabutz is well known for his Java Specialists’ Newsletter, initiated in November 2000, where he displays his acute grasp of the intricacies of the Java platform for an estimated 70,000 readers; for his work as a consultant; and for his workshops and trainings at his home on the Island of Crete where he has lived since 2006 -- where he is known to curl up on the beach with his laptop to hack away, in between dips in the Mediterranean.

Kabutz was born of German parents and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, where he developed a love of programming in junior high school through his explorations on a ZX Spectrum computer. He received a B.S. from the University of Cape Town, and at 25, a Ph.D., both in computer science.

He will be leading a two-hour hands-on lab session, HOL6500 – “Finding and Solving Java Deadlocks,” at this year’s JavaOne that will explore what causes deadlocks and how to solve them.

Q: Tell us about your JavaOne plans.

A: I am arriving on Sunday evening and have just one hands-on-lab to do on Monday morning. This is the first time that a non-Oracle team is doing a HOL at JavaOne under Oracle's stewardship and we are all a bit nervous about how it will turn out. Oracle has been immensely helpful in getting us set up. I have a great team helping me: Kirk Pepperdine, Dario Laverde, Benjamin Evans and Martijn Verburg from jClarity, Nathan Reynolds from Oracle, Henri Tremblay of OCTO Technology and Jeff Genender of Savoir Technologies.

Monday will be hard work, but after that, I will hopefully get to network with fellow Java experts, attend interesting sessions and just enjoy San Francisco. Oh, and my kids have already given me a shopping list of things to get, like a GoPro Hero 2 dive housing for shooting those nice videos of Crete. (That's me at the beginning diving down.)

Q: What sessions are you attending that we should know about?

A: Sometimes the most unusual sessions are the best. I avoid the "big names". They often are spread too thin with all their sessions, which makes it difficult for them to deliver what I would consider deep content. I also avoid entertainers who might be good at presenting but who do not say that much.

In 2010, I attended a session by Vladimir Yaroslavskiy where he talked about sorting. Although he struggled to speak English, what he had to say was spectacular. There was hardly anybody in the room, having not heard of Vladimir before. To me that was the highlight of 2010. Funnily enough, he was supposed to speak with Joshua Bloch, but if you remember, Google cancelled. If Bloch has been there, the room would have been packed to capacity.

Q: Give us an update on the Java Specialists’ Newsletter.

A: The Java Specialists' Newsletter continues being read by an elite audience around the world. The apostrophe in the name is significant.  It is a newsletter for Java specialists. When I started it twelve years ago, I was trying to find non-obvious things in Java to write about. Things that would be interesting to an advanced audience.

As an April Fool's joke, I told my readers in Issue 44 that subscribing would remain free, but that they would have to pay US$5 to US$7 depending on their geographical location. I received quite a few angry emails from that one. I would have not earned that much from unsubscriptions. Most readers stay for a very long time.

After Oracle bought Sun, the Java community held its breath for about two years whilst Oracle was figuring out what to do with Java. For a while, we were quite concerned that there was not much progress shown by Oracle. My newsletter still continued, but it was quite difficult finding new things to write about. We have probably about 70,000 readers, which is quite a small number for a Java publication. However, our readers are the top in the Java industry. So I don't mind having "only" 70000 readers, as long as they are the top 0.7%.

Java concurrency is a very important topic that programmers think they should know about, but often neglect to fully understand. I continued writing about that and made some interesting discoveries. For example, in Issue 165, I showed how we can get thread starvation with the ReadWriteLock. This was a bug in Java 5, which was corrected in Java 6, but perhaps a bit too much. Whereas we could get starvation of writers in Java 5, in Java 6 we could now get starvation of readers. All of these interesting findings make their way into my courseware to help companies avoid these pitfalls.

Another interesting discovery was how polymorphism works in the Server HotSpot compiler in Issue 157 and Issue 158. HotSpot can inline methods from interfaces that have only one implementation class in the JVM. When a new subclass is instantiated and called for the first time, the JVM will undo the previous optimization and re-optimize differently.

Here is a little memory puzzle for your readers:

public class JavaMemoryPuzzle {
  private final int dataSize =
      (int) (Runtime.getRuntime().maxMemory() * 0.6);

  public void f() {
    {
      byte[] data = new byte[dataSize];
    }
    byte[] data2 = new byte[dataSize];
  }

  public static void main(String[] args) {
    JavaMemoryPuzzle jmp = new JavaMemoryPuzzle();
    jmp.f();
  }
}


When you run this you will always get an OutOfMemoryError, even though the local variable data is no longer visible outside of the code block.

So here comes the puzzle, that I'd like you to ponder a bit. If you very politely ask the VM to release memory, then you don't get an OutOfMemoryError:

public class JavaMemoryPuzzlePolite {
  private final int dataSize =
      (int) (Runtime.getRuntime().maxMemory() * 0.6);

  public void f() {
    {
      byte[] data = new byte[dataSize];
    }

    for(int i=0; i<10; i++) {
      System.out.println("Please be so kind and release memory");
    }
    byte[] data2 = new byte[dataSize];
  }

  public static void main(String[] args) {
    JavaMemoryPuzzlePolite jmp = new JavaMemoryPuzzlePolite();
    jmp.f();
    System.out.println("No OutOfMemoryError");
  }
}


Why does this work? When I published this in my newsletter, I received over 400 emails from excited readers around the world, most of whom sent me the wrong explanation. After the 300th wrong answer, my replies became unfortunately a bit curt. Have a look at Issue 174 for a detailed explanation, but before you do, put on your thinking caps and try to figure it out yourself.

Q: What do you think Java developers should know that they currently do not know?

A: They should definitely get to know more about concurrency. It is a tough subject that most programmers try to avoid. Unfortunately we do come in contact with it. And when we do, we need to know how to protect ourselves and how to solve tricky system errors.

Knowing your IDE is also useful. Most IDEs have a ton of shortcuts, which can make you a lot more productive in moving code around. Another thing that is useful is being able to read GC logs. Kirk Pepperdine has a great talk at JavaOne that I can recommend if you want to learn more. It's this: CON5405 – “Are Your Garbage Collection Logs Speaking to You?”

Q: What are you looking forward to in Java 8?

A: I'm quite excited about lambdas, though I must confess that I have not studied them in detail yet. Maurice Naftalin's Lambda FAQ is quite a good start to document what you can do with them. I'm looking forward to finding all the interesting bugs that we will now get due to lambdas obscuring what is really going on underneath, just like we had with generics.

I am quite impressed with what the team at Oracle did with OpenJDK's performance. A lot of the benchmarks now run faster.

Hopefully Java 8 will come with JSR 310, the Date and Time API. It still boggles my mind that such an important API has been left out in the cold for so long.

What I am not looking forward to is losing perm space. Even though some systems run out of perm space, at least the problem is contained and they usually manage to work around it. In most cases, this is due to a memory leak in that region of memory. Once they bundle perm space with the old generation, I predict that memory leaks in perm space will be harder to find. More contracts for us, but also more pain for our customers.

Originally published on blogs.oracle.com/javaone.

Talking JavaOne with Rock Star Kirk Pepperdine

Kirk Pepperdine is not only a JavaOne Rock Star but a Java Champion and a highly regarded expert in Java performance tuning who works as a consultant, educator, and author. He is the principal consultant at Kodewerk Ltd. He speaks frequently at conferences and co-authored the Ant Developer's Handbook. In the rapidly shifting world of information technology, Pepperdine, as much as anyone, keeps up with what's happening with Java performance tuning.

Pepperdine will participate in the following sessions:

  • CON5405 - Are Your Garbage Collection Logs Speaking to You?
  • BOF6540 - Java Champions and JUG Leaders Meet Oracle Executives (with Jeff Genender, Mattias Karlsson, Henrik Stahl, Georges Saab)
  • HOL6500 - Finding and Solving Java Deadlocks (with Heinz Kabutz, Ellen Kraffmiller Martijn Verburg, Jeff Genender, and Henri Tremblay)


I asked him what technological changes need to be taken into account in performance tuning. “The volume of data we're dealing with just seems to be getting bigger and bigger all the time,” observed Pepperdine. “A couple of years ago you'd never think of needing a heap that was 64g, but today there are deployments where the heap has grown to 256g and tomorrow there are plans for heaps that are even larger. Dealing with all that data simply requires more horse power and some very specialized techniques. In some cases, teams are trying to push hardware to the breaking point. Under those conditions, you need to be very clever just to get things to work -- let alone to get them to be fast. We are very quickly moving from a world where everything happens in a transaction to one where if you were to even consider using a transaction, you've lost."

When asked about the greatest misconceptions about performance tuning that he currently encounters, he said, “If you have a performance problem, you should start looking at code at the very least and for that extra step, whip out an execution profiler. I'm not going to say that I never use execution profilers or look at code. What I will say is that execution profilers are effective for a small subset of performance problems and code is literally the last thing you should look at.

And what is the most exciting thing happening in the world of Java today? “Interesting question because so many people would say that nothing exciting is happening in Java. Some might be disappointed that a few features have slipped in terms of scheduling. But I'd disagree with the first group and I'm not so concerned about the slippage because I still see a lot of exciting things happening. First, lambda will finally be with us and with lambda will come better ways.”

For JavaOne, he is proctoring for Heinz Kabutz's lab. “I'm actually looking forward to that more than I am to my own talk,” he remarked. “Heinz will be the third non-Sun/Oracle employee to present a lab and the first since Oracle began hosting JavaOne. He's got a great message. He's spent a ton of time making sure things are going to work, and we've got a great team of proctors to help out. After that, getting my talk done, the Java Champion's panel session and then kicking back and just meeting up and talking to some Java heads."

Finally, what should Java developers know that they currently do not know? “’Write Once, Run Everywhere’ is a great slogan and Java has come closer to that dream than any other technology stack that I've used. That said, different hardware bits work differently and as hard as we try, the JVM can't hide all the differences. Plus, if we are to get good performance we need to work with our hardware and not against it. All this implies that Java developers need to know more about the hardware they are deploying to.”

Originally published on blogs.oracle.com/javaone.

Talking JavaOne with Rock Star Charles Nutter

JavaOne Rock Stars, conceived in 2005, are the top rated speakers from the JavaOne Conference. They are awarded by their peers who through conference surveys recognize them for their outstanding sessions and speaking ability. Over the years many of the world’s leading Java developers have been so recognized.

We spoke with distinguished Rock Star, Charles Nutter.

A JRuby Update from Charles Nutter

Charles Nutter of Red Hat is well known as a lead developer of JRuby, a Ruby implementation of Java that is tightly integrated with Java to allow for the embedding of the interpreter into any Java application with full two-way access between the Java and the Ruby code.

Nutter is giving the following sessions at this year’s JavaOne:

  • CON7257 – “JVM Bytecode for Dummies (and the Rest of Us Too)”
  • CON7284 – “Implementing Ruby: The Long, Hard Road”
  • CON7263 – “JVM JIT for Dummies”
  • BOF6682 – “I’ve Got 99 Languages, but Java Ain’t One”
  • CON6575 – “Polyglot for Dummies” (Both with Thomas Enebo)


I asked Nutter, to give us the latest on JRuby. “JRuby seems to have hit a tipping point this past year,” he explained, “moving from ‘just another Ruby implementation’ to ‘the best Ruby implementation for X,’ where X may be performance, scaling, big data, stability, reliability, security, and a number of other features important for today's applications. We're currently wrapping up JRuby 1.7, which improves support for Ruby 1.9 APIs, solves a number of user issues and concurrency challenges, and utilizes invokedynamic to outperform all other Ruby implementations by a wide margin. JRuby just gets better and better.”

When asked what he thought about the rapid growth of alternative languages for the JVM, he replied, “I'm very intrigued by efforts to bring a high-performance JavaScript runtime to the JVM. There's really no reason the JVM couldn't be the fastest platform for running JavaScript with the right implementation, and I'm excited to see that happen.”

And what is Nutter working on currently? “Aside from JRuby 1.7 wrap-up,” he explained, “I'm helping the Hotspot developers investigate invokedynamic performance issues and test-driving their new invokedynamic code in Java 8. I'm also starting to explore ways to improve the general state of dynamic languages on the JVM using JRuby as a guide, and to help the JVM become a better platform for all kinds of languages.”

Originally published on blogs.oracle.com/javaone.


Friday Sep 28, 2012

JavaOne LAD Call for Papers

JavaOne LAD Call for Papers closes next Friday, October 5. Here are Java Evangelist Steven Chin's top three reasons why you submit a session:

1) Imagine a parallel world where Java is king. Where the government has mandated that all software be open-source and recognized Java as an official platform. That is exactly what happened in Brazil and it shows in all aspects of their country from government systems to TV standards.

2) A JUG in Every Village - Brazil has the most user groups of any country in the world by a significant margin. "I've stayed after JavaOne to visit several cities and gotten a great audience whether it was a large city like Brasilia or Goiania, or a coastal town like Fortaleza, Salvador, or Maceio," Chin explains.

3) A Community-Supported Conference - SouJava and the entire Brazilian user group community is active and involved with JavaOne Brazil, making it a really engaging regional JavaOne conference.

Submissions should be:

  • From the community, all proposals should be non-Oracle.
  • Java-related topics (not technologies such as Flex, .NET, Objective C, etc... unless it's specifically a topic about how such things INTEGRATE with Java)
  • Non-product pitches
  • Interesting/innovative uses of Java
  • Practical relevant case studies/examples/practices/etc.

The call for papers will close on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 11:59 pm local time.
We look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday Sep 27, 2012

Talking JavaOne with Rock Star Martijn Verburg

JavaOne Rock Stars, conceived in 2005, are the top-rated speakers at each JavaOne Conference. They are awarded by their peers, who, through conference surveys, recognize them for their outstanding sessions and speaking ability. Over the years many of the world’s leading Java developers have been so recognized.

Martijn Verburg has, in recent years, established himself as an important mover and shaker in the Java community. His “Diabolical Developer” session at the JavaOne 2011 Conference got people’s attention by identifying some of the worst practices Java developers are prone to engage in. Among other things, he is co-leader and organizer of the thriving London Java User Group (JUG) which has more than 2,500 members, co-represents the London JUG on the Executive Committee of the Java Community Process, and leads the global effort for the Java User Group “Adopt a JSR” and “Adopt OpenJDK” programs.

Career highlights include overhauling technology stacks and SDLC practices at Mizuho International, mentoring Oracle on technical community management, and running off shore development teams for AIG. He is currently CTO at jClarity, a start-up focusing on automating optimization for Java/JVM related technologies, and Product Advisor at ZeroTurnaround. He co-authored, with Ben Evans, "The Well-Grounded Java Developer" published by Manning and, as a leading authority on technical team optimization, he is in high demand at major software conferences.

Verburg is participating in five sessions, a busy man indeed. Here they are:

  • CON6152 - Modern Software Development Antipatterns (with Ben Evans)
  • UGF10434 - JCP and OpenJDK: Using the JUGs’ “Adopt” Programs in Your Group (with Csaba Toth)
  • BOF4047 - OpenJDK Building and Testing: Case Study—Java User Group OpenJDK Bugathon (with Ben Evans and Cecilia Borg)
  • BOF6283 - 101 Ways to Improve Java: Why Developer Participation Matters (with Bruno Souza and Heather Vancura-Chilson)
  • HOL6500 - Finding and Solving Java Deadlocks (with Heinz Kabutz, Kirk Pepperdine, Ellen Kraffmiller and Henri Tremblay)
When I asked Verburg about the biggest mistakes Java developers tend to make, he listed three:
  1. A lack of communication -- Software development is far more a social activity than a technical one; most projects fail because of communication issues and social dynamics, not because of a bad technical decision. Sadly, many developers never learn this lesson.
  2. No source control -- Developers simply storing code in local filesystems and emailing code in order to integrate
  3. Design-driven Design -- The need for some developers to cram every design pattern from the Gang of Four (GoF) book into their source code

All of which raises the question: If these practices are so bad, why do developers engage in them? “I've seen a wide gamut of reasons,” said Verburg, who lists them as:

* They were never taught at high school/university that their bad habits were harmful.
* They weren't mentored in their first professional roles.
* They've lost passion for their craft.
* They're being deliberately malicious!
* They think software development is a technical activity and not a social one.
* They think that they'll be able to tidy it up later.

A couple of key confusions and misconceptions beset Java developers, according to Verburg.

“With Java and the JVM in particular I've seen a couple of trends,” he remarked. “One is that developers think that the JVM is a magic box that will clean up their memory, make their code run fast, as well as make them cups of coffee. The JVM does help in a lot of cases, but bad code can and will still lead to terrible results! The other trend is to try and force Java (the language) to do something it's not very good at, such as rapid web development. So you get a proliferation of overly complex frameworks, libraries and techniques trying to get around the fact that Java is a monolithic, statically typed, compiled, OO environment. It's not a Golden Hammer!”

I asked him about the keys to running a good Java User Group. “You need to have a ‘Why,’” he observed. “Many user groups know what they do (typically, events) and how they do it (the logistics), but what really drives users to join your group and to stay is to give them a purpose. For example, within the LJC we constantly talk about the ‘Why,’ which in our case is several whys:

* Re-ignite the passion that developers have for their craft
* Raise the bar of Java developers in London
* We want developers to have a voice in deciding the future of Java
* We want to inspire the next generation of tech leaders
* To bring the disparate tech groups in London together
* So we could learn from each other
* We believe that the Java ecosystem forms a cornerstone of our society today -- we want to protect that for the future

Looking ahead to Java 8 Verburg expressed excitement about Lambdas.

“I cannot wait for Lambdas,” he enthused. “Brian Goetz and his group are doing a great job, especially given some of the backwards compatibility that they have to maintain. It's going to remove a lot of boiler plate and yet maintain readability, plus enable massive scaling.”

Check out Martijn Verburg at JavaOne if you get a chance, and, stay tuned for a longer interview yours truly did with Martijn to be publish on otn/java some time after JavaOne.

Originally published on blogs.oracle.com/javaone.



Mini Theater at OTN Lounge During JavaOne

This year, the Oracle Technology Network Lounge at JavaOne will be in the Hilton Ballroom, right in the center of theJavaOne DEMOgrounds. We'll have Java experts, community members and OTN staff to answer your questions. We've also even created a "Mini Theater" for casual demos from community members and Oracle staff. We are keeping the slots short, there will be no tests afterwards. It's your chance to talk to the experts 1 on 1.

See how easy it is to turn on a lightbulb with Java and a violin.

Here is the full schedule:

Monday, October 1

9:40-9:50am  Learn about the Oracle Social Network Developer Challenge

11:20-11:30  Update from the Oracle Academy

11:40-11:50  Caroline Kvitka, @OracleJavaMag, Editor-in-Chief of Java Magazine

12:00-12:20pm  SouJava demonstrates Duke's Choice Award Winner JHome

12:20-12:30pm  Geertjan Wielenga (@geertjanw) Shows What's new in NetBeans

12:40-12:50pm  Learn about the OSN Developer Challenge

 2:00-2:10pm  Java.net Robotics

 2:30-2:40pm  Geertjan Wielenga (@geertjanw) Java EE and NetBeans

 3:10-3:15pm  Learn about the Oracle Social Network Developer Challenge

 4:10-4:20pm Update on the Java Community Process (JCP)

Tuesday, October 2

9:40-9:50am  Greenfoot/Kinect demo by Michael Kolling

11:20-11:30  Caroline Kvitka, @OracleJavaMag, Editor-in-Chief of Java Magazine

11:40-11:50  Stephen Chin and Jim Weaver, Top Ten JavaFX Features

12:00-12:10pm  Nokia Student Developer

12:20-12:30pm Arun Gupta, HTML 5 and Java EE 7

1:00-1:10pm Update on the Java Community Process (JCP)

1:20-1:30pm  Update from the Oracle Academy

 2:00-2:10pm  Java.net Robotics

 2:30-2:40pm  Geertjan Wielenga (@geertjanw) NetBeans Java Editor

Wednesday, October 3

9:40-9:50am  Greenfoot/Kinect demo by Michael Kolling

11:00-11:10  Caroline Kvitka, @OracleJavaMag, Editor-in-Chief of Java Magazine

11:20-11:30  Angela Caicedo and Jim Weaver, Leveraging JavaFX and HTML5

12:00-12:10pm  Nokia Student Developer

12:10-12:30pm  SouJava demonstrates Duke's Choice Award Winner JHome

12:40-12:50  Angela Caicedo and Jim Weaver, Using Canvas and Pixels in JavaFX

 2:00-2:10pm  Stephen Chin and Jim Weaver, JavaFX Deployment with Self-Contained Apps

 2:30-2:40pm  Geertjan Wielenga (@geertjanw) NetBeans Platform

 2:50-3:00pm  Petr Jiricka, Project Easel

Changes to this schedule will be announced on @JavaOneConf.

Talking JavaOne with Rock Star Raghavan Srinivas

Raghavan Srinivas, affectionately known as “Rags,” is a two-time JavaOne Rock Star (from 2005 and 2011) who, as a Developer Advocate at Couchbase, gets his hands dirty with emerging technology directions and trends. His general focus is on distributed systems, with a specialization in cloud computing. He worked on Hadoop and HBase during its early stages, has spoken at conferences world-wide on a variety of technical topics, conducted and organized Hands-on Labs and taught graduate classes.

He has 20 years of hands-on software development and over 10 years of architecture and technology evangelism experience and has worked for Digital Equipment Corporation, Sun Microsystems, Intuit and Accenture. He has evangelized and influenced the architecture of numerous technologies including the early releases of JavaFX, Java, Java EE, Java and XML, Java ME, AJAX and Web 2.0, and Java Security.

Rags will be giving these sessions at JavaOne 2012:
  • CON3570 -- Autosharding Enterprise to Social Gaming Applications with NoSQL and Couchbase
  • CON3257 -- Script Bowl 2012: The Battle of the JVM-Based Languages (with Guillaume Laforge, Aaron Bedra, Dick Wall, and Dr Nic Williams)


Rags emphasized the importance of the Cloud: “The Cloud and the Big Data are popular technologies not merely because they are trendy, but, largely due to the fact that it's possible to do massive data mining and use that information for business advantage,” he explained.

I asked him what we should know about Hadoop. “Hadoop,” he remarked, “is mainly about using commodity hardware and achieving unprecedented scalability. At the heart of all this is the Java Virtual Machine which is running on each of these nodes. The vision of taking the processing to where the data resides is made possible by Java and Hadoop.”

And the most exciting thing happening in the world of Java today? “I read recently that Java projects on github.com are just off the charts when compared to other projects. It's exciting to realize the robust growth of Java and the degree of collaboration amongst Java programmers.”

He encourages Java developers to take advantage of Java 7 for Mac OS X which is now available for download. At the same time, he also encourages us to read the caveats.

Originally published on blogs.oracle.com/javaone.

Wednesday Sep 26, 2012

Talking JavaOne with Rock Star Simon Ritter

Oracle’s Java Technology Evangelist Simon Ritter is well known at JavaOne for his quirky and fun-loving sessions, which, this year include:

  • CON4644 -- “JavaFX Extreme GUI Makeover” (with Angela Caicedo on how to improve UIs in JavaFX)
  • CON5352 -- “Building JavaFX Interfaces for the Real World” (Kinect gesture tracking and mind reading)
  • CON5348 -- “Do You Like Coffee with Your Dessert?” (Some cool demos of Java of the Raspberry Pi)
  • CON6375 -- “Custom JavaFX Charts: (How to extend JavaFX Chart controls with some interesting things)

I recently asked Ritter about the significance of the Raspberry Pi, the topic of one of his sessions that consists of a credit card-sized single-board computer developed in the UK with the intention of stimulating the teaching of basic computer science in schools.

“I don't think there's one definitive thing that makes the RP significant,” observed Ritter, “but a combination of things that really makes it stand out. First, it's the cost: $35 for what is effectively a completely usable computer. OK, so you have to add a power supply, SD card for storage and maybe a screen, keyboard and mouse, but this is still way cheaper than a typical PC. The choice of an ARM processor is also significant, as it avoids problems like cooling (no heat sink or fan) and can use a USB power brick.  Combine these two things with the immense groundswell of community support and it provides a fantastic platform for teaching young and old alike about computing, which is the real goal of the project.”

He informed me that he’ll be at the Raspberry Pi meetup on Saturday (not part of JavaOne). Check out the details here.

JavaFX Interfaces
When I asked about how JavaFX can interface with the real world, he said that there are many ways.

“JavaFX provides you with a simple set of programming interfaces that can create complex, cool and compelling user interfaces,” explained Ritter. “Because it's just Java code you can combine JavaFX with any other Java library to provide data to display and control the interface. What I've done for my session is look at some of the possible ways of doing this using some of the amazing hardware that's available today at very low cost. The Kinect sensor has added a new dimension to gaming in terms of interaction; there's a Java API to access this so you can easily collect skeleton tracking data from it. Some clever people have also written libraries that can track gestures like swipes, circles, pushes, and so on. We use these to control parts of the UI. I've also experimented with a Neurosky EEG sensor that can in some ways ‘read your mind’ (well, at least measure some of the brain functions like attention and meditation).  I've written a Java library for this that I include as a way of controlling the UI. We're not quite at the stage of just thinking a command though!”

Here Comes Java Embedded
And what, from Ritter’s perspective, is the most exciting thing happening in the world of Java today? “I think it's seeing just how Java continues to become more and more pervasive,” he said. “One of the areas that is growing rapidly is embedded systems.  We've talked about the ‘Internet of things’ for many years; now it's finally becoming a reality. With the ability of more and more devices to include processing, storage and networking we need an easy way to write code for them that's reliable, has high performance, and is secure. Java fits all these requirements. With Java Embedded being a conference within a conference, I'm very excited about the possibilities of Java in this space.”

Check out Ritter’s sessions or say hi if you run into him.

Originally published on blogs.oracle.com/javaone.

Talking JavaOne with Rock Star Adam Bien

Among the most celebrated developers in recent years, especially in the domain of Java EE and JavaFX, is consultant Adam Bien, who, in addition to being a JavaOne Rock Star for Java EE sessions given in 2009 and 2011, is a Java Champion, the winner of Oracle Magazine’s 2011 Top Java Developer of the Year Award, and recently won a 2012 JAX Innovation Award as a top Java Ambassador.

Bien will be presenting the following sessions:

  • TUT3907 - Java EE 6/7: The Lean Parts
  • CON3906 - Stress-Testing Java EE 6 Applications Without Stress
  • CON3908 - Building Serious JavaFX 2 Applications
  • CON3896 - Interactive Onstage Java EE Overengineering

I spoke with Bien to get his take on Java today. He expressed excitement that the smallest companies and startups are showing increasing interest in Java EE. “This is a very good sign,” said Bien. “Only a few years ago J2EE was mostly used by larger companies -- now it becomes interesting even for one-person shows. Enterprise Java events are also extremely popular. On the Java SE side, I'm really excited about Project Nashorn.”

Nashorn is an upcoming JavaScript engine, developed fully in Java by Oracle, and based on the Da Vinci Machine (JSR 292) which is expected to be available for Java 8.  

Bien expressed concern about a common misconception regarding Java's mediocre productivity. “The problem is not Java,” explained Bien, “but rather systems built with ancient patterns and approaches. Sometimes it really is ‘Cargo Cult Programming.’ Java SE/EE can be incredibly productive and lean without the unnecessary and hard-to-maintain bloat. The real problems are ‘Ivory Towers’ and not Java’s lack of productivity.”

Bien remarked that if there is one thing he wanted Java developers to understand it is that, "Premature optimization is the root of all evil. Or at least of some evil. Modern JVMs and application servers are hard to optimize upfront. It is far easier to write simple code and measure the results continuously. Identify the hotspots first, then optimize.”

He advised Java EE developers to, “Rethink everything you know about Enterprise Java. Before you implement anything, ask the question: ‘Why?’ If there is no clear answer -- just don't do it. Most well known best practices are outdated. Focus your efforts on the domain problem and not the technology.”

Looking ahead, Bien said, “I would like to see open source application servers running directly on a hypervisor. Packaging the whole runtime in a single file would significantly simplify the deployment and operations.”

Check out a recent Java Magazine interview with Bien about his Java EE 6 stress monitoring tool here.

Originally published on blogs.oracle.com/javaone.



Tuesday Sep 25, 2012

Java Embedded Releases

Oracle today announced a new product in its Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME) product portfolio, Oracle Java ME Embedded 3.2, a complete client Java runtime Optimized for resource-constrained, connected, embedded systems.  Also, Oracle is releasing Oracle Java Wireless Client 3.2, Oracle Java ME Software Development Kit (SDK) 3.2. Oracle also announced Oracle Java Embedded Suite 7.0 for larger embedded devices, providing a middleware stack for embedded systems. Small is the new big!

Introducing Oracle Java ME Embedded 3.2 

Oracle Java ME Embedded 3.2 is designed and optimized to meet the unique requirements of small embedded, low power devices such as micro-controllers and other resource-constrained hardware without screens or user interfaces. These include:

  • On-the-fly application downloads and updates
  • Remote operation, often in challenging environments
  • Ability to add new capabilities without impacting the existing functions
  • Support for hardware with as little as 130 kB RAM and 350 kB ROM

Oracle Java Wireless Client 3.2

Oracle Java Wireless Client 3.2 is built around an optimized Java ME implementation that delivers a feature-rich application environment for mass-market mobile devices. This new release:

  • Leverages standard JSRs, Oracle optimizations/APIs and a flexible porting layer for device specific customizations, which are tuned to device/chipset requirements
  • Supports advanced tooling functions, such as memory and network monitoring and on-device tooling
  • Offers new support for dual SIM functionality, which is highly useful for mass-market devices supported by multiple carriers with multiple phone connections

Oracle Java ME SDK 3.2

Oracle Java ME SDK 3.2 provides a complete development environment for both Oracle Java ME Embedded 3.2 and Oracle Java Wireless Client 3.2. Available for download from OTN, The latest version includes:

  • Small embedded device support
  • In-field and remote administration and debugging
  • Java ME SDK plug-ins for Eclipse and the NetBeans Integrated Development Environment (IDE), enabling more application development environments for Java ME developers.
  • A new device skin creator that developers can use to generate their custom device skins for testing their applications.

Oracle Embedded Suite 7.0

The Oracle Java Embedded Suite is a new packaged solution from Oracle (including Java DB, GlassFish for Embedded Suite, Jersey Web Services Framework, and Oracle Java SE Embedded 7 platform), created to provide value added services for collecting, managing, and transmitting data to and from other embedded devices.The Oracle Java Embedded Suite is a complete device-to-data center solution subset for embedded systems. 

See Java Me and Java Embedded in Action

Java ME and Java Embedded technologies will be showcased for developers at JavaOne 2012 in over 60 conference sessions and BOFs, as well as in the JavaOne Exhibition Hall. For business decision makers, the new event Java Embedded @ JavaOne you learn more about Java Embedded technologies and solutions.

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