By laurar on Dec 01, 2005
Last May, literally days before I joined the OpenSolaris team, I wrote this article for Sun.com to commemorate Java's 10th Birthday.
Where were you when YOU first saw Java?
On Applets, Servlets and Java!
It was May 23, 1995 and we were all huddled around a SparcStation 5 screen. We were a strange crowd: mumbling, pointing, and inadvertently spilling the sample-sized paper cups of Peets coffee that a highly caffinated person thrust into our hands as we approached the booth. "I'm here to see that...uh, demo?" we said uncertainly... And when we saw it, we weren't sure what it was. It hushed the crowd. "It's distributed objects, but not really." "It's an application that just updated some text. But wait, you said it's running over THERE on THAT machine?"
Do our parents remember where they were when they first saw color TV? Well, We remember where we were the first time we saw Java.
We knew it was something. Did we know it would become EVERYTHING? Today there are 579 million Java-enabled handsets worldwide. 825 million Java technology-enabled smart cards. 4.5 million Java developers and 876 members of the Java Community Process . All over the world Children learn to program in Java in high school computer classes. We may not have know how far we'd come, but we knew where to start!
Almost immediately, well before the first official JavaOne Developer Conference, new industry partners came to Sun ready to license Java technology for their own products. Most notably, Netscape. Soon Java technology had made its way into business and consumer electronics, including set-top boxes from Hitachi. And Java was also helping over 40 million people with disabilities with the introduction the Java Accessibility API, an essential API designed to allow assistive technologies such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, speech recognition systems and braille terminals to access Java applications.
1997 marked the beginning of Java's ascent in the smart card industry as well, with Java Card technology being endorsed by Bull, Citibank, First Union National Bank, Gemplus, Giesecki & Devrient, Hitachi, Integrity Arts, Motorola, Seimens, Schlumberger, Toshiba, VeriFone, VISA. These companies and their commitment to Java technology endures with Java incorporated in their products today.
The introduction of the first version of Java for embedded systems in 1998 set the vision for the mobile workforce. Visionary companies like Toshiba, Sony and Samsung quickly joined with Sun to become pioneers in applying Java to vital mobile computing problems and to expand network computing benefits beyond the enterprise. These are the roots of today's mobile workforce.
And then the community really started to take off. In 1996 Sun hosted the first JavaOne Developer Conference with 6,000 attendees. In 1997 JavaOne had 10,000 attendees. In 1999 there were 20,000 attendees and the company sold Java-powered mobile devices at the show. By 2000, there were 400 Java User Groups worldwide.
Java's contribution to NASA technologies and space missions like Java's recent “cruise” on the surface of Mars is world renowned. In addition to changing lives, and exploring nearby planets, Java has become the cornerstone for the connected lifestyle. Ringtones, Downloads, Games--not necessarily saving lives but extraordinary markets nonetheless--each greatly enhanced by Java.
Hit Java.com and immediately you see the Power of Java.