A few weeks ago, the Java Card Forum
(JCF) held an event in Munich to celebrate the 20 years of its creation
. Founding companies were joined by more recent members of the organisation in a celebration of two decades of technical and commercial achievement. It was also an opportunity to reflect on how far the technology had gone over this period.
Java Card was introduced in 1996. It was a pioneering concept for the time (the first very small Java framework—before Java ME was introduced), and was also very incomplete (no VM specification and only a basic cryptography framework). Subsequent versions would alter the architecture and augment the APIs, to the point that the modern Java Card framework would be unrecognizable to users of that first version.
A key contributor and promotor of that evolution has been the Java Card Forum. The JCF was formed shortly after the initial release of Java Card as "a collaboration of companies from the smart card, secure operating system, and secure silicon industry, working together to promote and develop Java as the preferred programming language for multi-application smart cards and secure devices”.
JCF provides recommendations to Oracle for the evolution of the Java Card specifications. It has been instrumental bringing key innovations to the platform. After version 2.0 started specifying the Java Card VM and Runtime conditions, version 2.1 brought in an interoperable file format. Version 2.2 brought in alignment with ETSI and enabled contactless smart cards to be supported. Version 3.0 introduced 2 variants of the specification (Classic and Connected), as well as broader cryptography support. More recent releases have continued to iteratively enhance the platform, up to the current version Java Card 3.0.5
JCF is now working with Oracle toward the definition of a new version, 3.1, that will enable new use cases in the IoT space. It is slated for release in 2018.
More on that soon !