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.

Monday Sep 23, 2013

More on the JavaOne 2013 Strategy Keynote - IBM's Java Focus

John Duimovich, Java CTO and IBM Distinguished Engineer, took the stage at Sunday’s JavaOne 2013 keynote and stated that IBM had a new approach to this year’s JavaOne. They arrived at JavaOne with 20 developers of all ranks, giving 28 sessions -- and only one marketing person. This was consistent with a mantra he repeated throughout his keynote: “It’s a great time to be a developer.” Duimovich also commented several times that developers ultimately have a lot of power, a recognition that leads IBM to shape many policies around the needs and desires of developers.

“With so many frameworks, languages and tools available, developers have all they need to create great applications,” he observed. “With the cloud and PaaS it is easy to go to market and, in fact, possible to take a good idea, test it, and deploy it within a day.” This, he insisted, has changed the landscape for developers. Since Java is the leading platform being used to deploy to the cloud, along with Javascript and HTML5, IBM will continue to follow and invest in developers.

Systems of Interaction and Engagement
Duimovich identified an interesting turn of events. “There is a new class of application development out there now called systems of interaction, which are typically delivered via the cloud." “Systems of interaction” is a term that encompasses what has traditionally been called systems of record, which are what many Java developers work with in Java EE using containers and databases in such domains as business process-oriented bank accounts and HR systems.

He observed that there are new and growing open cloud ecosystems centered around such platforms and projects as CloudFoundry and OpenStack, offering the next “big thing” for developers -- the ability to access a whole open stack and write applications. “What’s different about IBM is that we are investing in open things a bit earlier in their life cycle,” said Duimovich. “We don’t wait until they are done and competing with us. We try to influence them early.”

New applications are being developed that offer systems of interaction which he characterized as user-centric applications specifically targeted to support user work flow.  These are mobile apps similar to what is in a phone or a car that bridge both systems of record and social networks. “So the application might take Twitter or Facebook into account, while bridging big data and bring together capabilities that drive user-focused applications,” explained Duimovich. “You are on the way to the airport and the app tells you the plane is late; you take off and the app tells you about the weather in the city of arrival. After that, you might be interested in where to buy new clothes because your luggage is still at the airline.”

Such applications have contextual “awareness” driving them. All of this is driven by the cloud as systems of record get pushed out to the cloud as services. “IBM has created an experimental platform that developers can try out called IBM BlueMix which is based on OpenSource and CloudFoundry,” said Duimovich. “It has runtimes and frameworks, like Java, and new ones like Node, and other scripting languages like Ruby.”

IBM BlueMix offers standard services such as database, caching, and messaging, but also includes new ones like social information, and location and geo-spatial database information. “This is all brought together so the enterprise can engage with their customers in a much richer way -- the way they do that is via the cloud.”

Java Innovation at IBM
He discussed the IBM WebSphere Liberty Buildpack, which is freely available for developers. It can be downloaded and pushed to any Cloud Foundry-based system. “This is our first step in making Java to PaaS deployment as easy as possible for developers.” Liberty is a Java profile that supports Java EE and is a container offering lots of features for clouds.

IBM has also been working on a multi-tenancy JVM, which means the VM can run and stack more VMs inside of it to save space and enable faster startup performance. This allows developers to manage life cycles independently. It’s intended for those who want to get more dense and efficient deployment on the cloud. “Just as peanut butter and chocolate go together – Liberty and multi-tenancy VMs are delicious,” said Duimovich.

He explained that running the Liberty profile and on the multi-tenancy JDK results in 2-3 times faster startup and twice as much density, so developers can stack twice as many instances on a machine than before without loss of performance.

Duimovich closed with some remarks about hardware innovation at IBM, and where the Java language may be headed in the future.

IBM BlueMix

IBM WebSphere Liberty Buildpack

Watch Keynote and Session Highlights on Demand

Friday Jul 19, 2013

Java API for JSON Processing: An Introduction to JSON

A new article, now up on otn/java, by Oracle’s Jitandra Kotamraju, titled “Java API for JSON Processing: An Introduction to JSON,” takes a look at how Java API for JSON Processing provides portable APIs to parse, generate, transform and query JSON, also known as JavaScript Object Notation. Kotamraju, a principal member of the technical staff at Oracle, is the JSON Processing specification lead.

JSO, a lightweight, text-based, language-independent data exchange format that is easy to read and write by both humans and machines, can represent two structured types: objects and arrays. Kotamraju, the JSON Processing specification lead, explains that “an object is an unordered collection of zero or more name/value pairs. An array is an ordered sequence of zero or more values. The values can be strings, numbers, booleans, null and these two structured types.”

JSON is frequently used in Ajax applications, configurations, databases, and RESTful web services. JSON is offered as the data exchange format with their RESTful web services by all popular websites.

Kotamraju gets under the hood with both the object model and streaming APIs. He concludes that the API for JSON Processing offers the following capabilities:
* “Parsing input streams into immutable objects or event streams
* Writing event streams or immutable objects to output streams
* Programmatically navigating immutable objects
* Programmatically building immutable objects with builders”

The API forms a base for building data binding, transformation, querying, or other manipulation APIs. JAX-RS 2.0 provides native integration for the Java API for JSON Processing.

Check out the article here.

Wednesday Jan 30, 2013

Nashorn, the JavaScript Implementation in Java 8

In this Interview, Marcus Lagergren, who works on the dynamic language team at Oracle, discussed the Nashorn project.  "Nashorn is the JavaScript runtime based on InvokeDynamic for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM)" he explains. The Nashorn project is now part of the OpenJDK

The performance is much better than its predecessor Rhino. "We totally blow it out of the water now that we have specific tools to run other things than Java on the JVM." Marcus commented. "The pluggability between JavaScript and Java is another good thing" he added.

His Devoxx talk about Nashorn is now freely accessible at Nashorn - implementing dynamic languages on the JVM
Marcus Lagergren's twitter handle is @lagergren. Nashorn blog has the latest on the project

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