Monday Nov 02, 2015

Gosling is admiral of a fleet of robotic marine drones

By Roger Smith

Father of Java is now Liquid Robotics' chief software architect

I learned James Gosling, the creator of the Java language, is now the admiral of a fleet of water-borne drones from Mike Duigou last Thursday at the Java Hub in the JavaOne Exhibit hall. Gosling is the chief software architect for Sunnyvale-based Liquid Robotics, a 8-year-old company that uses self-propelled 7-foot-long marine robotic drones that look like surfboards to collect and transmit oceanic data for a variety of uses. Duigou told me that he was brought aboard by Gosling as Senior Software Engineer when he joined the company in 2011.

Called Wave Gliders, the drone are powered by wave energy, with the constant up-and-down motion providing energy that pulls the robots through the ocean. Duigou gave me a hand-on tour of the USS Gosling, a test Wave Glider on display in the Hub. He explained the Wave Glider is made of two parts: the surfboard-sized float that stays on the surface; and the sub that has wings and hangs 3-9 meters below the float on an umbilical tether. Because of the separation, the float experiences more wave motion than the sub. This difference allows wave energy to be harvested to for propulsion.

Exploded view of Wave Glider marine drone (source: Liquid Rocket)

The Wave Glider is equipped with several computers for navigation and payload control, satellite communication systems, and ocean sensors that do things like measure weather, sea conditions, water quality and chemistry, animal life and water currents. Acoustic microphones and arrays on the Wave Glider have also been use to record passing ships and the vocalizations of whales and other mammals (an early use case of the company's technology).

The power needed to operate the sensors and computers is provided by solar panels, which are used to recharge lithium-ion batteries. Individual Wave Glider can be programmed for autonomous operation, or it can be steered by a remote pilot over the Internet. Continuous, near real time, communication is provided via satellite, cellular phone or radio links for piloting and data transmission.

All the Wave Glider computing power is Linux- and Java-based and includes a Hadoop cluster on the backend used to analyze the large data sets the devices collect, either individually or in groups. Duigou explained that the Wave Gliders can also be programmed to operate as a drone swarm. "For example, you can set up a fence around a marine protected area like Monterey Bay and give them all the goal of defending the border and reporting intruders. The robots can figure out who goes where."

A diver swims with a Wave Glider SV2 during operations in Hawaii (source: Liquid Rocket).

Find out more about Liquid Robotics here:

Thursday Oct 29, 2015

What’s Inside Oracle Cloud for You

By Roger Smith

Cloud Services for Developers

“Time is the greatest savings that you get from moving your development environment to the cloud,” said Oracle’s Bruno Borges, in his JavaOne presentation “Cloud Services for Developers: What’s Inside Oracle Cloud for You?” “If you have had to set up an on-premise Oracle database, or any other database, you know that it takes time to do that and you always ask yourself ‘Is these production-ready?’”

In his fast-paced, hands-on demo, Borges showed how developers can quickly get up to speed using Oracle’s pooled, shared, and elastically scalable software development platform, which gives organizations the ability to develop new applications in a quick and cost-effective way. He explained how developers can use their favorite IDE (Oracle JDeveloper, Eclipse, NetBeans) and build systems like Maven and Gradle to develop and deploy applications to the cloud.

Target different JDK Versions

Developers also have the option of choosing either Java SE 7 or 8 to leverage the particular language and JVM features their applications need. Since Oracle Java Cloud is an open platform, developers can also use any available open source or commercial Java library or framework in their applications.

Database Integration

Borges next walked through how to connect to Oracle Database Cloud Service to persist and manage application data as well as how to use Oracle Messaging Service to message between Java Cloud applications, on-premises applications, and Java EE and Node.js applications deployed in the Oracle Cloud. He then demonstrated how you can profile Java applications using Java SE Mission Control and Flight Recorder, in addition to the Oracle Application Performance Monitoring Cloud Service.

He also announced a new Docker Container Service that will soon be available from Oracle to help developers deploy applications into Docker containers.

In response to an audience question about Oracle Cloud scalability, Borges said that you can choose to run your application on your choice of compute size (i.e. the number of cores), and it will scale out dynamically on demand. He said they were also working on giving developers the capability to add scale programmatically using business logic, for example, in an e-commerce application that needs to scale up during the holiday season.

A New Way to Program in Java EE 8

By Roger Smith

Cloud Services for Developers

I sat in today on an engaging session with Java EE expert David Blevins, who is a newly crowned Java Champion for his work in Open Source and Java EE for more than 10 years. As a member of the EJB, CDI, JMS, Java EE Security JSRs, and Java EE 6, 7 and 8 Expert Groups, he’s worked hard to make Java EE as simple, testable and lightweight as Java SE.

The next Java EE 8 edition, due in 2017, will focus on HTML5, cloud enablement, use of the model-view-controller framework and improved security. Another important selling point will be ease of use, which was the theme of much of Blevins's talk.

According to Blevin, the first era of Java EE was XML-driven where we used "tons and tons of deployment descriptors." The second era of Java EE, brought about by Java 5, was annotation-driven and very declarative by nature. With the advent of Java 8 features such as lambdas and method references, "we'll have the opportunity to take a look at all the Java EE APIs again and rewrite them to fundamentally reduce the ceremony we have to deal with when we write applications," he said. "I have some predictions: Java EE will shift from declarative to the programmatic since annotations are very declarative approach. With lambdas and method references, the approach is more to do it all at runtime."

He walked through a code example that highlighted a security example where one EJB was annotated as a Manager and another as Employee. "With lambdas and method references, you'll be able create a Manager EJB and an Employee EJB, and to test and run your code under many different security identities."

The impact of these kinds of capabilities in the new Java EE release means that there will be a shift in emphasis in Java EE programming from the Component-side to the Caller-side and that logic will become more mobile, Blevin concluded.

He also said that Java Community Process is a now an open process, which it wasn't a few years ago, and developers can now have an open say in the Java EE specification in JSR 366.

"If you don't vote, don't complain."

Wednesday Oct 28, 2015

3D Printing with a Java Rockstar

By Roger Smith

Controlling a 3D Printer with Java and VRL-Studio

I chatted with Java Rockstar Michael Hoffer on Tuesday at the Java Hub in the Exhibit hall about VRL-Studio, an innovative visual programming environment he created in Java that combines visual and text-based programming. Currently doing his PhD at the Department of Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Frankfurt, Germany, Hoffer works at the Goethe-Center for Scientific Computing in Frankfurt. His research interests are in developing visual programming concepts in the field of modeling and simulation of highly complex physical processes including those modeled by medical scanning equipment.

VRL-Studio uses the Java Reflection API and Groovy to automatically generate interactive user interfaces, and has a powerful plug-in system that allows for easy integration of Java libraries, such as the 3-D modeling library JCSG. Hoffer demonstrated how he created a lightweight drone with four arms that are modeled on a complex structure found in the bones of birds. (see images below) "These drone parts can also be optimized to remove vibration. This structure cannot be created via milling, but it's a very easy task for a 3D printer."

It's also easy it is to turn a Raspberry PI board into a fully functional robot, Hoffer said, using 3D geometries created with the open source JCSG library and his VRL-Studio IDE. He then demonstrated his 'Pi on Wheels' bot, an affordable open source Do-It-Yourself robot, which he uses to teach Java-related technologies in the context of the Internet of Things.

Hoffer blogs about Java, JavaFX, and related technologies at Find out more at VRL-Studio here:

Lightweight drone with four arms modeled on a complex structure found in the bones of birds

Close up picture of drone arm printed by 3D printer.

'Pi on Wheels' bot, with 3D printed body and wheels

Tuesday Oct 27, 2015

Robots Look for Human Companions at JavaOne

By Roger Smith

Humaoid Robots Are Big in Japan

I spent part of this afternoon at the MakerZone, which is part of the Java Hub at this year's JavaOne Exhibit Hall, where I had a brief, enjoyable chat with Pepper, a 4-foot tall humanoid robot. Created by Aldebaran Robotics, Pepper is a social robot able to recognize and react to human emotions and carry on simple conversations in as many as 28 different languages. (I met and wrote about Nao, Pepper’s androgynous older sibling, in a recent JavaOne4kids workshop that showed how Nao could be taught to walk, talk, catch small objects and even dance). Besides being almost twice as tall as Nao, Pepper moves around on three omnidirectional wheels rather than feet like Nao. The Nao robot has been in development since 2006, while Pepper only has been around for a little over a year. Pepper’s added wheels give him greater range and almost 14 hours of battery life, which is three times the amount Nao has. The additional battery life was a requirement, said Nicholas Rigaud, Developer Community Leader for Aldebaran, since he was designed to greet and interact with customers in retail stores owned by Japanese mobile phone operator SoftBank Mobile, Aldebaran’s parent company.

Aldebaran has participated in three JavaOne conferences and keeps coming back each year because it's a great way to engage with a global community of software developers. "There is a great deal of entrepreneurial energy at these shows, which is what we're looking for," Rigaud said. "We want to get the word out about the programming resources and simulation tools we have to help developers create, fine tune and monetize their applications on the Aldebaran robotic platform." These resources include Choregraphe (the company's graphical drag and drop programming interface) that lets developers create applications with sample code containing dialog and behavior for the robots. The development environment includes a SDK simulator so that programmers can view their apps on a virtual 3D robot. Rigaud said there are currently 4,000 developers actively participating in the free developer program, of which roughly 25% are robot owners. 104 countries are represented, including 2,400 developers in Japan, 350 in the US and 300 in France. Find out more about Aldebaran's global developer program here:

Monday Oct 26, 2015

New Java Releases Will Tackle Developer Pain Points

By Roger Smith

JavaOne 2015 Keynote Focuses on Future Java Platforms

The half-dozen presentations in the opening JavaOne keynote featured a few looks in the rearview mirror to honor Java's 20-year rise to become the dominate general-purpose computer programming language, but otherwise it was a pedal to the metal focus on new features in the various Java ME, Java SE and Java EE platforms. A familiar face from Java's past also made a brief and humorous video appearance to cap an eventful 2-hour session on Sunday, October 25, 2015 at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Host Georges Saab (VP Java Platform Development at Oracle) welcomed Michael Greene (VP Software and Service Group at Intel) who discussed Intel's history with Java. "Two important things happened in 1995," Green said, "I married my wife of 20 years and Intel acquired its first Java source license. I was one of the first Intel engineers dedicated to insuring Java works best on Intel hardware and that transformed my career. Twenty years later, I'm glad to say we haven't missed a beat."

The bulk of Green's presentation covered what Intel has done since joining the OpenJDK community in 2014 to promote open source implementations of Java. He announced that the Intel IoT Developer Kit now supports Java, which will make it easier for Java developers to address sensors, stream data and work with data on the web, He also said that Intel's Quark, a new embedded low-power processor designed for small mobile devices like wearable computers, will now run Java ME.

Mark Reinhold (Chief Architect, Java Platform Group) took the stage to discuss features in the next Java 9 SE release, now scheduled for 2016. He explained that Java has evolved over the years by tackling pain point that Java developers complain about through the Java Community Process. "In Java 5, we introduced generics; in Java 8, we introduced lambdas, and in Java 9, we'll be introducing modularity to create a scalable and more secure platform." Reinhold explained that modularity is intended to ease the pain of constructing, maintaining and distributing large applications by removing the "JAR hell" developers currently experience when trying to install software packages that have dependencies on specific versions of other software packages. He noted that 'JAR hell' is such a common developer complaint that it has its own Wikipedia page to describe all the various ways in which the classloading process can end up not working. Modularity will not have the same impact on the average developer as lambdas have had in Java SE 8, Reinhold said. "Modules are more like seat belts than lambda expression jet packs."

Brian Goetz, Java Language Architect, then talked about what's in store for future Java SE releases beyond Java 9. Project Valhalla will add value types, which are highly-efficient small 'objects' that do not have an inheritance property, and Project Panama builds a bridge between Java and C/C++ by providing a native interconnect between code managed by the JVM and APIs for non-Java /C++ libraries. Both of these projects are intended to provide more efficient access to data and better control over data layout in memory to achieve higher performance.

Engineering VP Anil Gaur next gave an update on Java EE release 8, which is expected in the first half of 2017. Gaur said that, based on a survey that received over 4,500 responses, the Java EE community has prioritized the desired features for the next Java EE platform release, which includes new APIs for JSON Processing, RESTful Web Services and Java EE Security, among other features.

The keynote ended with a surprise video that featured former Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy, who talked about how Sun developed the Java language. "I hired James Gosling in the early 1990s because Bill Joy said he was the best programmer he knew. I took his advice because Bill was the best programmer I knew. After a while, James got bored and threatened to quit. I told him I would give him the resources to do anything he wanted, as long as he didn't quit. What he wanted to do is develop a "write once, run anywhere" language. Which he did, and which is why we all now have the Java language."

McNealy concluded his short video with the following "top 12 list of Java Developer nightmares of 2015":

#12. Screenglare
#11. Entry level developers are now in the top income bracket
#10. Product marketing specs, customer deadlines and style guides
# 9. Your peer programming partner starts at 7am, with bad breath
# 8. You've got a great seat on the commuter bus, but the wifi is broken
#7. Larry raised the price of coffee
# 6. James Gosling is working at Liquid Rocket, not at Oracle
# 5. No ping pong balls and no beer
# 4. You love open source software and sharing, but you work at Oracle
# 3. Bay area traffic, California taxes, no rain and marijuana is illegal
# 2. You love your company chef, but he is on a 2-week maternity leave
# 1. The former CEO and current CTO is making ship to shore calls to you on a regular basis."

Thursday Oct 22, 2015

Help Build the Future at the JavaOne Hackergarten

By David Lopez

This year’s Java Hub has it all! There’s NightHacking, interactive art, 3D printing, and more, but if you want to meet some new people, learn new tech, and contribute to open source projects, then there’s no better place to be than the Hackergarten at the Java Hub

Starting Monday the 26th at 10am in the Java Hub (at the JavaOne exhibit hall in the Hilton Union Square), you can bring your laptop, grab some Wi-Fi and power, and work with Java experts on a variety of projects. Each day, there will be 2 tracks running different projects simultaneously. Each track will be working on 3 projects per day for about 2 hours each, but feel free to stop by for an hour or however long you can to contribute and learn. Topics this year are:
OpenJDK, JSRs 354, 363 and 377
Java 8
Minecraft Modding/Java EE
Java EE 7
JavaFX Mobile/Embedded
CDI, JSR 365
JavaFX Tweet Wall
Each session will have an expert or two to lead it. Check out the schedule for a full list of who’s running what and when, and check out what else the Java Hub has to offer here!

Bay Area Duchess Dinner at JavaOne

      Join the Duchess, a group of women Java developers, for the first evening of JavaOne after the sessions end. Any woman developer in town for JavaOne is invited, so hopefully a nice global contingent will gather with women based in the Bay Area. One big Java leader has confirmed!

      The Meetup will be at a restaurant within a few blocks of Moscone. Make sure to RSVP if you really plan to come so that we have an accurate count.

      Some dinner costs covered by New Relic (sponsor).

      The Duchess is a global organization with local chapter around the world.  Join a chapter near you, visit for more information.

Vote on the sessions at JavaOne

Give your feedback on sessions at JavaOne! You will find voting machines in every session room at JavaOne. To vote, choose between a happy, neutral, or sad Duke by clicking on it.

In this video, Michael Heinrichs and Hendrik Ebbers from Canoo discuss how they created the voting machine. They will also present a JavaOne session about the voting machine on Monday, Oct. 26 at 2:30pm. They used Java 8 and JavaFX on a Raspberry Pi. 

After each session be sure to let us know how you felt by voting! 

Ignite at JavaOne

Don’t miss Ignite sessions on Tuesday at 5:15pm at JavaOne! True to it’s slogan “enlighten us, but make it quick,” the speakers below will have 5 minutes to share what they are passionate about. Here is a list of who’s participating in this years Ignite:

Siamak Ashrafi, CTO Zoewear,
Stephen Chin, Lead Java Community Manager, Oracle
Keith Combs, Sr. Software Engineer, Silicon Valley JavaFX User Group
Daniel De Luca, Manager, Devoxx4Kids
Andrzej Grzesik
Andy Gumbrecht
Arun Gupta, Couchbase
Suyash Joshi, Senior Member Technical Staff, Oracle
Dario Laverde, Sr Developer Evangelist, NYCJava JUG
Rustam Mehmandarov, Principal Engineer, Computas AS
Tamao Nakahara, Director of Developer Relations and Community Marketing, New Relic
Theresa Nguyen, VP Sales & Marketing, Tomitribe
Andy Nilson, CEO,
Kevin Nilson, Team Lead, Chromecast Technical Solutions Engineer, Silicon Valley JUG
Tim Pettersen, Developer, Atlassian
Bert Jan Schrijver, Software craftsman, JPoint
Roy van Rijn, Software Developer, JPoint B.V.
G Venkat, Venture Partner, Global Technology Labs
Martijn Verburg, CEO, jClarity
Tori Wieldt, Developer Advocate, New Relic

Ignite will be at the Hilton—Plaza Room B. Join Ignite for some inspiration on various topics, from passionate speakers and all in 5 minutes!!


javeone logoJavaOne Conference 2014 Videos

San Francisco, USA: Oct 25 - 29, 2015



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