Monday Mar 24, 2014

The Future of Application Development Tools at Oracle

Last week we met with Chris Tonas, Vice President of Mobility and Application Development Tools at Oracle, to hear his take on the latest in the world of Java tooling and development frameworks. 

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your role at Oracle as it relates to development tools? 

A: I lead the organization that is working on Oracle’s software development tools and frameworks, specifically, the teams that build our offerings for Java developers - whether in NetBeans, Eclipse or JDeveloper. Our team also builds the tools and frameworks that are used by developers working with Oracle’s cloud and mobile platforms.

Q: This week saw the release of JDK8 and NetBeans 8 along with it. How do you view this release? 

A: The release of JDK 8 and NetBeans 8 this week represents a big step forward for both Oracle and the Java Community. A lot of hard work and collaboration went into this milestone and I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who contributed to this achievement. 

Q: With the new NetBeans 8.0 out, what are the plans for NetBeans going forward? 

A: In the short term, an update release of NetBeans 8 is underway to align with Java ME 8. Additional NetBeans 8 releases that target specific bugs are anticipated to be released after that. Longer term, Oracle is committed to the continued success of both Java and NetBeans. Work on JDK 9 is now underway and we’re planning a NetBeans 9 release to go along with it, as usual. 

Q: As you mentioned Oracle supports more than just the NetBeans IDE. What’s the thinking behind that? 

A: Oracle recognizes that developer tools aren’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. Oracle is a significant contributor to the Eclipse project and we are continuing to extend the capabilities of our Eclipse-based solutions as well. We offer JDeveloper for those who want the tightest alignment with the Oracle Fusion Middleware stack. In addition, we recognize that many JavaScript developers want to use light weight tools, and we are planning to address those needs as well.

Q: What are some of the key trends you see in the software development space right now? 

A: It’s clear that several significant trends are shaping software development and tools. Oracle is at the forefront of these changes and a leader in almost every aspect. We see three main changes happening right now:
  • Java remains the industry standard for server-side development, but we see growing demand to support developers using the combination of JavaScript and HTML5 for the presentation layer. We see JavaScript starting to gain ground for some server side use cases as well.
  • The shift to cloud-based deployment is now mainstream. Development for the cloud presents a new set of challenges and demands a fresh approach.
  • The third shift is the move to mobile. Mobile development must be integrated across the enterprise from the design phase throughout the lifecycle.

As the providers of tools for developers, these changes require an evolution of the tooling and infrastructure used to design and develop applications. 

Q:  So what is Oracle doing to address these developments? 

A: Some of the work has already happened. For example, NetBeans has supported the Java and JavaScript combination for a few releases now. Looking forward, Oracle has several new and innovative browser-based, cloud-centric and mobile initiatives underway that we will be sharing with the community over the next several months.

We are leveraging skills and technology from across our current developer tools organization to develop these new capabilities. We see the new generation of developer tools as complimentary to the tools that developers use and love today. The first of these initiatives that you’ll be able to use will be the forthcoming Oracle Developer Cloud Service – bringing your ALM and team collaboration work to the cloud. You can read more about it at http://cloud.oracle.com/developer 

Q: Where can developers learn more about these new tools? 

A: Just like every year, Oracle’s full vision for the future of software development will be shared at JavaOne and Oracle OpenWorld later this year. Our team is looking forward to sharing what we are working on with the development community.

Q: Thank you for your time, Chris. 

A: You're welcome.

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