Monday May 08, 2006

The Java Platform

Yikes, my last blog entry on Open Source Java stirred some discussion. First, I would like to thank those of you, agree or disagree on the topic, for the comments. It's worth the discussion.

The more I think about this, the more I see two over-arching themes of Open Source Java. The themes are centered around Java as a Platform versus Java as "something else". There were a couple comments on the blog entry criticizing WORA. Fair enough, but I'm (obviously) on the other side of the fence. I see customers regularly develop on Windows and deploy on Solaris, including both JSE and JEE applications. I have no idea how many developers develop on Solaris and deploy on Solaris. It's a small (but growing) minority. I see this portability not only on Sun's JVM, but also on implementations from IBM, BEA and Apple, covering \*many\* hardware/OS combinations. Java's concept of WORA doesn't always get you all the way there. Hence JNI for native code, debuggers for potential behavioral differences, profilers for potential performance differences, etc. However, it no longer takes an army of developers to port a product.

To take that point even further, Sun had an over-documented tough time post-bubble. Want to know why? Because it was easy for customers to take their Java code elsewhere. Java's WORA lowered the barrier to exit from Sun's platform, thanks to WORA. Note that it also lowers the barrier to entry, which is a contributor to why we grew revenue double-digits last quarter. Java's WORA makes it relatively easy for them to come back.

Those that see Java as a platform want to keep it together. Yes, we have 3 primary target (highly-abstract) markets filled by JME, JSE and JEE. IMHO, pragmatism and opportunity for everyone in the industry, Sun included, drove the move to JME, JSE and JEE. Then there is also the fact that JSE and JEE won't fit on a cell phone. I think developers and businesses grok this. And, IMHO, we see the success of those decisions. JME is on some insanely huge number of devices today and JEE is, and continues to be, a huge success. JSE and JEE have been a foundation for open source innovations. JSE for desktop development is under-hyped IMHO. Plus, it's not easy to de-throne a monopoly. Most of my Java work is JSE, by the way. The code I write works on my SPARC box, Solaris X86 laptop, my wife's Windows laptop and our home MAC. I did have to tweak a few things to get it to work on the MAC, which is much better than what had to be done in the pre-Java days.

For those that want to pull out deprecated APIs or create a specific server version that does't have Swing & AWT, etc, I don't get it. The very thing that makes Java the huge success that it is - WORA - would be gone. Having 3 editions of the Java Platform seems to be an appropriate level of courseness that the market bears very well. In fact, the market not only bears 3 editions, it embraces them.

Wednesday May 03, 2006

Open Source Java

The open source Java topic seems to come in waves. With this wave the speculation is that Jonathan's Open Source, sharing, and transparent ways will enter the world of Java. To get this out in front, I have no idea if Java will be open sourced. Even though you haven't asked, I'll give you my thoughts :)

I have one primary concern about Open Source Java. That the platform will be diluted, and not necessarily for nefarious reasons. For example, this comment about removing Swing from a server build of Java comment enough seems innocent enough, but would it be the start of a trend? Would we end up seeing specific builds of Java for specific problem sets? Would it stay together as a full Write Once Run Anywhere platform (WORA)? I supposed this could be addressed under a license.

The fact that there is so much discussion going on is of interest. The discussion is all over the map. Some like the idea of Open Source Java. Some think that will negatively affect WORA. There doesn't seem to be any general consensus building. Perhaps that means there is a tremendous amount of pent-up innovation. What do you think?

Sunday Apr 16, 2006

What's coming in NetBeans

As usual, I was listening to a few podcasts over the weekend while doing the normal household chores. While doing an unusually thorough cleaning of the shower, I was listening to guest Tim Cramer talk about NetBeans on the Java Posse. What's coming and why certain decisions are made. There are wwaaayyy too many things to bring up here while waiting for a flight out of Orange County.

The most interesting point of his interview, IMHO, was the statement that NetBeans supports the latest JDK sooner than Eclipse. FYI, the Dick Wall asked the "Why not Eclipse?" question, so this was in response. In fact, Tim took it a step further and stated that the Java 5.0 adoption greatly improved when Eclipse finally supported Java 5. If you read a bit into that, it actually means that Eclipse negatively affected Java 5 adoption. Hey, it's not like NetBeans is perfect, but I must admit that I think the NetBeans team has been hitting on all 4 cylinders with fully charged battery [hybrid] for roughly 2-3 years now.

The other interesting point, more well known, is that NetBeans has a 34% marketshare, with Eclipse being in the low 50's. I think the 34% marketshare will surprise some, if not many.

Wednesday Apr 05, 2006

Sun Java Composite Application Platform Suite

I'm off at a training class for the Sun Java Composite Application Platform Suite (Java CAPS for short). 13 days of training crammed into 10 longer-than-normal days. FYI, Java CAPS is (mostly) the acquired SeeBeyond products. With my new server (still TBD), I plan to play around with mashups. With software like Java CAPS, mashups can become (relatively) fast & easy. Dunno exactly what I want to do (yet). Perhaps create an uber-mashup (mashup of mashups). Dunno.

FYI, we still plan to provide Java CAPS out on the web (for free) along with the rest of the Solaris Enterprise System. We just have to get the infrastructure in place.

Last, but not least, even my longer-than-normal days are longer than normal with the rain we are having in Southern California right now. May make for a tough time to keep up on blogging.

Thursday Mar 23, 2006

JavaOne Hands-On Labs

It's that time of the year again - prep-time for JavaOne. Folks around the industry are working on presentations, booths, logistics, and one hell of a week. I'm doing my part again helping out with the Hands-On Labs as a lab proctor, as are Alexis, David, David,and many others . Lab proctors roam the floor (of roughly 100 development workstations) helping students. The lab proctor schedule doesn't look as heavy this year as it was last year, but we are doing more prep-work proof-reading the labs, which is consuming all the spare time I don't really have :)

I haven't counted the number of labs yet, but there are a boatload of them. You name it and it seems as if there is a hands-on lab on it. The categories include J2SE, Desktop, JEE, Web-Tier,Tools (NetBeans related), Mobility, Solaris and others . When I get a finalized list of Hands-On Labs, I'll post it (if I remember).

In particular, I'll be focusing on the Tools hands-on labs and have already started to send feedback to the lab authors. If you happen to attend the instructor-led hands-on labs, please fill out the feedback form. The feedback given prior years will make this years labs better, more focused on what you want, and of higher quality. If you happen to see me roaming around the lab floor, stop by and say hi. Which proctor? Look for Linus, a lab proctor with a constantly perplexed look, or simply look at the picture at the top of this blog and apply your pattern matching algorithm of choice.

Wednesday Mar 08, 2006

Vendor presentations can be refreshing

I've been attending JUGS (Java User Groups) since about 1996. Early on it was developers teaching developers. In the late 1990's and early new millenium it became vendor presentation after vendor presentation. The JUG got pretty bored. Every marketecture chart looked the same. Just different colors and names. The last 4 years has been primarily open source frameworks & tools. I tell ya', I am getting pretty bored of those. Dunno why, I just am.

This week Xcalia presented at the LAJUG. It is the first vendor presentation I have seen in a long time. I have to say, it was refreshing to hear a vendor. I can't place my finger on why. Perhaps it's because I work for a vendor.

I think our local JUGs should mix it up a bit. Open source is cool, but vendors provide a lot of value as well.

Tuesday Mar 07, 2006

What does Matisse4MyEclipse mean for SWT?

I've been thinking about this a bit and now I'm on to thinking out loud. There is no doubt that Matisse is a pretty hot GUI builder for cross-platform applications. There is no doubt that Sun has marketed the hell out of Matisse (myself included) because it is a darn good piece of functionality.

I'm a NetBeans user, pretty far from SWT and close to Swing, so I definitely have my biases. I know some pros and cons to SWT. That's about it. I haven't written a line of SWT code. My cards are on the table. Now to the point.

What does Mattise4MyEclipse mean for SWT? Will it have no effect to SWT adoption because the design center of SWT (native components) appeal to some developers? Will this negatively impact SWT adoption? Will Matisse4MyEcplise drive more desktop adoption of Java and grow the pie (and SWT with it)? Am I wasting valuable ASCII? I must say that I am not really seeing much discussion of the topic. That speaks volumes in and of itself. Perhaps it's just too early. Except for James who, as usual, is off to an early start.

Hats off to Genuitec for the port.

Update: A problem with Writely's posting of this entry requires me to delete and repost the entry. Could be user error :) Thanks. The Management.

Thursday Mar 02, 2006

NetBeans / Eclipse ease of use

NetBeans pulled in another user. A friend of mine moved from NetBeans to Eclipse in the 3.x days. I got an email a couple of days ago saying he moved back to NetBeans. His reasons are that for J2EE development, NetBeans is faster [ Ed. On the Mac], easier and better integrated. Users are finding NetBeans integration to be a big, big plus.

What makes me curious is his point on NetBeans being easier. I tried eclipse 18 months ago and felt like a child lost in the forest. Kind of like a WIndows user moving to a Mac (where's the other mouse button?). I'm pretty darn used to NetBeans. For those of you that use both NetBeans and Eclipse, how do you compare "ease-of-use"?

My biggest desire for NetBeans is a vi key binding. Ease of use is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

Wednesday Feb 22, 2006

"Beyond Java" and moving Java EE forward

I missed the whole Java EE 5 blogging carnival yesterday. I was hoping to play the role of the Siamese bearded female midget twins who can lift 2 tons. However, by the time I got out of my day long meeting and hit the hotel I was pretty wiped out. It's not like there isn't already a good amount of discussion happening, especially around simplicity.

I have already layed down some thoughts about "Beyond Java", but I do wonder how Java EE 5 will impact that discussion given it's focus on ease of use. Actually, Java EE 5 already has impacted the discussion but now there is more substance/meat behind Java EE 5.

There's no doubt that Java EE 5 is leaps and bounds ahead of scripting languages in some regards (like development tools), but behind in others (relatively speaking, making simple things easy). As developers try out Java EE 5 with advanced tools, how far will the line move between when to use scripting languages and "traditional" Java EE development? Note, moving the line is not a competition. Developers realize there is a place for both scripting and Java. "Use the right tool for the job" is pretty much a cliche.

So if you are a developer, do you think Java EE 5 will move the line for you? Will you revisit EJBs for example? Or do you think the line remains where it is and Java EE 5 just makes enterprise Java development easier?

Thursday Feb 16, 2006

Define SOA

The past few days I've been up at the Santa Clara office. While at this morning's office (Starbucks), I thought I would try to catch up whip up a blog entry. I have no idea what the conversations & buzz of the past few days is as I am locked up in a room. One thing is for sure, internal meetings @ Sun are not a 9-5 affair. When Sun flies in folks from around the globe, the powers that be want their money's worth :)

I'm with a bunch of enterprise architects talking SOA. Want to go down a rat hole? Ask 25 architects to come to agreement on a definition of SOA :) Sun is doing many things SOA these days. IMHO, we've been doing SOA long before SOA was formally called SOA. For some odd reason, SOA these days gets equated with WS-\*. I first heard about SOA back when Jini hit the street and SOA had been around long before that. Everyone I talk to agrees that SOA != WS-\*, but then in the context of 95% of the conversations insert WS-\* anyway. It seems to be the context and means of interoperability the industry (as a whole) agrees upon.

If you want me to give you a definition of SOA, well, I'm not going down that rat hole :)

Sunday Feb 12, 2006

The return of the applet?

There was a great chat about the return of the applet on last weeks "The Java Posse". In particular, they linked to, a site that contains a Commodore 64 Emulator along with a boatload of games. I tried one game, Galaga RGB. That was cool. Click & play. No download. Nothing like a VM running in a VM :)

I'd like to hear your reasons for why applets were consumer-challenged (be cordial). Macromedia Flash sure had no problem with gaining acceptance. My thought of why applets never really caught on is because Microsoft never updated the JVM. I wish I had kept the "Microsoft Loves Java" button I got at a Microsoft Developers Conference in my pre-Sun days (1996??). The JVM was a rather large download for a dialup line. That didn't help.

Today, an up-to-date JVM ships with most PCs. I forget the percentage, but me-thinks it's in the neighborhood of 60%. The JVM also auto-updates (more or less), consumes less resources, and is darn fast. FYI, Firefox is chewing up 64MB of RSS while my c64 emulator JVM is at 87M.

Question is, do you think the Applet is "back"?

Do you think Java on the desktop (via Webstart or native application) is "back"?

Sunday Feb 05, 2006

Beyond Java and the silent majority

I haven't read "Beyond Java" yet. When I hit the book store the other day they didn't have it :( Don't ask why, but I don't buy books online. For me, books are usually an "I want it now" affair with me. When it comes to purchasing books, I'm ssssooo pCommerce (physical commerce). Back on topic, I think there is great value in scripting languages. Picking up some JVM-based dynamic scripting language (where I can leverage my rt.jar knowledge) is inching up on my to do list. I'm trying to figure out where to start. Jython? Groovy? jRuby? No shortage of choice, that's for sure.

The discussion that "Beyond Java" invokes is a good one. However, some of the ASCII verbage and opinion I read seems to be based on something besides fact. The verbage I am talking about is the questioning of the survival of Java the language, or to some, all things Java (JVM / libraries / language). Not sure what facts those discussions are based on. The discussion I read tend to quote anecdotal evidence. Listening to the Java Posse while doing yardwork yesterday, the podcasting team put forth real data showing the growth of Java. An Evans Data survey shows Java usage is up 50% in the last 6 months in small to medium businesses. 1 in 4 developers at small firms use JEE, with a projection of another 13% within two years. 60% of developers in small to medium businesses use JSE or JEE at least some of the time, with 20% saying they use it a majority of the time, with a growth projection to 70% and 35% respectively within 2 years.

The tendency of some developers I know to "cat 'discussion thread' | parse topic | wc | conclusion" is unfortunate. Internet forums can be a poor indicator of what is really happening. There is the vocal minority and then there is the silent majority. The two are not always in agreement.

Thursday Feb 02, 2006

Developer Tools Roadmap

I got an early start this morning, slurping down my Grande Latte at about 5:30. I've moved from a Mocha to a Latte to save myself about 300 calories a day :)

While doing my morning blog perusal, I ran across Tor linking to our tools roadmap. If you are a NetBeans user, this is a must read. FWIW, I just learned about this less than a month ago. As Sun moves more towards transparency, I'm about as "in the know" as those outside of Sun. Sometimes less :)

Roumen links to the same blog entry but focuses on why Sun doesn't join Eclipse.

Last but not least, lots of pro-NetBeans comments on The Server Side. Ditto for JavaLobby.

It's officially official: NetBeans 5.0 released

NetBeans 5, which to quote some on the NetBeans Frappr! Map, rocks. Even a POJO-totin' guy w/mojo like Tim uses NetBeans 5 . Others blogging about the release include Arhus, Alexis (I think, I don't know French), Lukas, seapegasus and Jean-Francois Denise.

Reminder, if you use the collaboration features, my id on is jclingan.

Tuesday Jan 31, 2006

Sun Java Application Server PE 8.2 Released

I could add lots of prose here, but since Joe Ottinger at has it summarized, I'll just point to it.

Ken describes the relationship between Platform Edition and Glassfish and gives his thoughts on the release as well.


John Clingan-Oracle


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