Java Spotlight 11

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Roger Brinkley: Welcome to the 11th edition of the Java Spotlight Podcast. I'm Roger Brinkley.
Terrence Barr: And I'm Terrence Barr.
Roger: And in this edition of the podcast, we'll do a feature interview with Nabor Coutinho, who is the Manager of Mobile Internet and Messaging for TIM Cellular, about the new TIM app store. We'll do some "New" segments and we'll also do a "What's Cool" segment.

So let's turn now to the New segment. And Terrence, in the new segment the Java Test Harness team has got a new version of Java Test Harness out.

Terrence: That's right. JT Harness, a 4.3 release, was done just a week ago. It features some changes in the user interface and some usability improvements in some of the main testing features. For those of you who are not familiar with the JT Harness project, it's actually a very interesting project. It's been around for a while now, two or three years.

JT Harness is based on Oracle's Harness that is used to run the TCK test suite, so for the regular Java or JSR implementations, the test suites. And it has evolved into this general purpose testing platform that you can use for pretty much all types of unit testing, especially things like compiler and API testing.

And some of the features of JT Harness are that it's very configurable and it can support large test suites, up to 100,000 tests or more. You can run tests independently. You can combine tests into self contained test suites. You can sequence the tests and the way they run. And you can use it to run tests on all Java platforms, from the Java Card platform all the way up to Java EE.

What's more about the JT Harness project is, it's fully released under open source, GPL version two license with a class-path exception. So that means you can take the code, you can use to build your own, even commercial test suites.

And so, it's a very robust, very scalable, mature code base. And so, if you're looking into building test suites, then definitely have a look at JT Harness.

Roger: So Alexi, what do we have over on the EE side?
Alexi: On the EE side, I'm very happy to see that JBoss has shipped their sixth auto product, so that's J Boss six dot 0. This is the web profile compliant Java E6 product. So Java E6 now has this notion of a web profile, which is a right sized platform. It's not the full platform, but it's yet pretty ambitious. It covers things like EJB Light. It includes B validations, CDI context independency injection.

So it's a pretty complete platform. It's not just JSP s and servos, it's much more complete than that.

So that's what JBoss six dot 0 has to offer. And this is a final release, yet a community release. So my understanding is that, there's no support for this at this point.

But none the less, this is great news for Java E6 adoption. There are a number of other vendors scheduled to put out versions in the next few months, if not weeks. So this is good adoption for Java E6. And more choice for the developer has to be good.

Roger: So Terrence, on the desktop side, Josh Marinacci, our old friend and colleague, has something new with Leonardo Sketch.
Terrence: Yeah, Leonardo is his pet project that he's been working on for a while. Leonardo is an open source, he calls it an open source drawing tool for the 21st century. He just released a new version called Ruby Red. It's 100 percent Java. It's all open source. So you can run it on your desktop, if you need a drawing tool with the features he's implemented so far.

One of the more interesting aspects of what Josh is doing is, as part of the development of Leonardo, he built a new graphics and UI tool kit, a library. He calls it Amino.

And that features some interesting concepts, such as a 2D and a 3D seam graph, with a pipeline, a set of UI controls, they're fully skinable. Some utility classes, which help you to build a desktop application very quickly. It's all open source under BSD.

So it's a pretty interesting package. And actually, I hope that we'll have an interview with Josh on one of the upcoming podcasts.

Roger: So let's go into the event section now. And in the events coming up, on January 20th through the 21st, Arun Gupta will be doing a EE presentation, a two day seminar actually, in Budapest, Hungary, part of the Oracle University.

And then, the Oracle Group Leader Summit is January 24th through the 26th.

If you are a Java dot net leader or a user group leader of a jug, something along those lines, it's certainly an event that you'd like to go to. There will be several of us there, and a great opportunity to meet some of us, talk with us and tell us your stories.

Let's turn now to the feature segment.

And when I was in Brazil, I had an opportunity to speak with Nabor Coutinho, who is the Manager of Mobile Internet and Messaging for TIM Cellular.

Let's go into that interview about their new application server store.

So I'm here with Nabor Coutinho. You have a new application store for TIM.

Nabor Coutinho: Yeah, it's called TIM app shop. We are very excited to work with applications and with developers. The point of this store is to target a wider user base, wider than what smart phones usually address. So we focus on Java because we believe that with Java we can keep that. We have a large user base now. We have more than 20 million devices in our network compatible with Java, with people eager to download applications to increase the features of their handsets.

So I think it's great. I think it's great. The potential is huge in Brazil, within Brazil. And we have this application store with many features that we think will help the developer to earn money, to build the business with apps.

For example, we have a search, we have recommendations, we have the billing, the payment integrated in our billing. So I think it's one of the main things of this store because it will help the users to pay for the applications easier and faster.

They will have a free traffic to browse on the store and to download the applications. So it's another barrier that we excluded for the user.

And we have some tools for the developer to build a customized business model. Now we have a flexible business model. They can choose when they upload an application.

For example, they can have a monthly recurring fee, they can have a demo that when you have an app that's for free and then with basic content, with basic features. And then you can offer the full application as a paid application. And the user can upgrade from inside that application. So it's very easy to use.

And we have the free apps. They are very important to bring traffic to the store. And for the developers to show that they have applications with good experience, with good quality. And then, as soon as the user downloads those free apps and they think they are great, they are going to pay for the others.

One important thing we offer is app advertisement for the developers, so they can use that as a new revenue stream. And with that they can offer free or low cost applications that will allow them to target a larger user base. And that means adoption, that means money.

Roger: One of the major problems that a lot of carriers used to have was certification, apps had to be certified. How's that handled in the app store?
Nabor: Yeah, the submitting process is very easy. They just have to go to our website, that's www dot tim, T-I-M, dot br slash developers, and follow the instructions there. So to register and to upload applications, they don't have to pay anything. It's completely free of charge. And we have the guidelines published on that website. With that guidelines they will know which content we allow, which not, the general development rules.

But as a rule, we prefer to let the developers free to develop different and creative applications.

And as soon as we see those applications on the market, we're going to have a look to see if they match our criteria, our guidelines. If we receive some complaints from the users, we are going to talk to developers too.

So we took care to make the process very simple, very straightforward for the developers.

Roger: OK. Now, if I am a developer, I have a choice. Let's say I could put my own website together. I could put things up on that, and then maybe somebody could download that to their cell phone, perhaps. What's a big advantage to coming over to TIM and going to the application store there?
Nabor: I think the biggest advantage is that we focus on Java. When we are talking about Java, we are talking about mass market. So we have 20 million users on our customer base, with Java-enabled phones. Now the TIM application store is available for 10 million, because we support 100 devices. We are going to increase that number. Eight percent of our portfolio of new devices on the store now, they support the Java. So we are going to increase this number, too.

We have this integrated billing. I think it's very important. We have different price points that they can choose from. One dot for nine reais, something about nine cents of dollar, to 49 reais is almost $30. So it's very flexible.

Roger: So tell me a little bit more about the cost of the developer.
Nabor: The developer, when he registers and he uploads applications, they don't have to pay anything. It's completely free of charge to get inside our program, to upload content. And they are going to choose the price points. The business model will get the contracts, and he will receive a revenue share from the total sales of their applications. One important thing for the developers, that TIM Brazil now has a very convenient offer, innovative offer of mobile Internet. I believe that mobile Internet is key for the application takeoff, because many of the applications on the market today, they need to connect. They need that, the data services.

We know that users tend to be afraid of data connection, because of the bills at the end of the month. And now, we change completely that. It's very convenient. We have an innovative offer that is featured, that is for prepaid users. They just have to pay 50 cents of reais. That is 30 cents of dollar, very cheap for unlimited traffic during the day, for one day.

And they don't have to activate anything. They just pay that when they first connect under there, automatically.

For the post-paid, they have limited data bundles, starting for 30 reais, like $18, for unlimited traffic for the whole month. And if you buy a new handset, you are going to receive six months for free, to try and to create a lot of apps to be free to choose the mobile Internet and the applications.

Roger: So the idea here is not to just do something that is an application, which is just internally within the phone and it's sitting there. But really, to do an application and go off and access data that's outside on the web some place then.
Nabor: Yeah, for sure. There is space for any kind of application, but we know that Brazilians, they love to talk, to connect and social networks are a big success here. We know that Brazilians are the leaders in the mobile Internet users, in minutes of user, per user. If I would give a clue for the developers, in which place is better to invest now, I would say that. Try to connect to the apps, social networks, things that gather information from the Internet. And show for the users, like... Let's say, soccer results, movie guides, anything that's connected.
Roger: You have some developers that may want to do a free application. That's possible in the environment as well, right?
Nabor: Yeah, sure. And I think that it's a great way to show your work for the users, to show then that you have a quality application. And then, you have a brand recognition; it would be easier to sell content, premium content for them.
Roger: How many phones are we talking about, within TIM?
Nabor: TIM now has more than 47 million.
Roger: So it's a huge base from which to work from. The developers that you're looking for, are you looking for just Brazilian developers? Or what if there's a developer that's in Russia that has a great application that he knows would work in Brazil? Is there an opportunity for international developers here as well?
Nabor: Yeah, for sure. We are open to all the developers, worldwide and in Brazil. I would just suggest that they spend some time with the translation, with the localization. Because Brazil, countrywide, Portuguese is the main language. We are open to applications in English, too. But I think the ones that are going to have the biggest sales numbers are the ones localized. There are many developers joining the application store now. We encourage all the developers, worldwide and in Brazil, to join us to build a business together with us.
Roger: Nabor, thank you very much for your time.
Nabor: Yeah, thank you.
Terrence: You know, Roger, it's very encouraging to see that operators like TIM really seem to have understood the needs of the developers and how to drive the creation of content forward and the creation, the distribution, the deployment of content forward. So things like offering different business models, you can do a free app, you can do revenue sharing, you can do subscriptions, right? The fact that developer registration and submission of content is very straightforward, it's free. They support international developers as well. They have this integrated billing concept, with various price points.

Also, the fact that they understand content in applications is just one part, but if it's too expensive and too difficult for the customers to consume wireless data and to have connected applications, they have to worry about the price every time they use the application. That's not going to work.

So offering very low price points for data connectivity, to drive the interest in data consumption application downloads, connected applications, I think they really got the picture right. And I'm very encouraged to see that TIM is trying that. I'm looking forward to seeing how that evolves.

Roger: Yeah, Terrence. I think the thing that I liked about this is that this is really for the devices of today. Down in Brazil, many features of the phones are feature phones down there. They're not the smart phones. Java is available on almost every one of those phones, probably 95 percent of those lines. So it's a real opportunity here for our developers. I think the thing that they've done here is, you've talked about lowering the barrier of entry for the consumer. They've also lowered the barrier of entry for the developer. That combination of both lowering of those by TIM, in this particular case, really gives a great opportunity for the Java developers in the Brazilian area.

So if you're a mobile developer, this is a great opportunity, go to our website. Take a look at the link there, and get down to TIM and start doing some developing on mobile phones there.

So let's turn our attention then to the "What's Cool" segment. Alexi, what's cool?

Alexi: Right. So my "What's Cool" item for this week is Stephen Colebourne's blog about the future of GSR 310, which is work he has been doing in the JCP to standardize work he had done earlier with Joda-Time. Which has been very popular among Java developers, trying to fix the date and calendar issues we have today in the standard libraries. So Stephen is also known to be someone who has been very actively looking at the issues around the JCP, the Apache. He's a member of Apache and he had a lot of questions about what he should do on this specific topic.

What he says in his blog, and we'll have a link in the show notes, is that he's continuing the project under the name 310. This will be available as an Open Source implementation.

So I think this is great news that he is not dropping the effort altogether, but being very pragmatic about what people expect, hope from him and others working on the project. So I just wanted to give a shout-out to Stephen for doing this.

Roger: So what I found was cool was this, last week, "My Blackberry Is Not Working" video, which is up on YouTube. It's done by The One Ronnie Comedy Club. I think you'll really enjoy this. If you're a Java developer, especially a mobile developer, I think you're really going to get a kick out of it. You'll love the comedic behavior and how they're twisting everything around a little bit.

"My Blackberry On An Orange" is just quite a great piece there. And how they're going to reboot the Apple is another piece. You'll have to go listen to it, take a look at our show notes, and you'll see it from there.

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Roger: Well, thanks for listening to the 11th edition of "The Java Spotlight" podcast. I'm Roger Brinkley.
Terrence: And I'm Terrence Barr.
Roger: And send your feedback to feedback@javaspotlight.org.


Transcript by CastingWords