JavaOne 2010 was the most anticipated JavaOne for a long time. Before the event, I wrote a piece JavaOne: Expectations From Java Today, Hopes For Java Tomorrow. Below is part 2, based on the actual happenings & announcements at the conference. I have tried to address the points I had raised in the previous piece and added some new ones.
Stop the speculation machine:I believe this has been achieved to a certain extent as there were announcements of roadmaps for all aspects of Java, from Java Mobile, JavaFX, NetBeans… However I suppose that until we start seeing these roadmaps being delivered upon, the discussions & speculations on the future of Java will continue.
Oracle’s Approach: To Oracle’s credit it seemed very committed to investing in Java & enhancing all aspects of the language & associated tools & technologies. However a cause for concern was that Oracle seemed like it might not want to just be the lead singer of the Java band but instead do a solo act. There were hardly any references to the involvement & role that companies other than Oracle would have in the future of Java. This is important as Java exalted status today is to a great extent due to the work put in by companies like Google, IBM, RedHat, Springsource, etc. It is highly unlikely that any of these companies will stop working with Java anytime soon, however a cold shoulder from Oracle is bound to dampen their spirits.
Language Changes : Its been many years since the last release of Java, so introducing language changes and releasing a new & improved version of Java was a long standing demand. Oracle shared a roadmap for Java, so it looks like we will see JDK 7 (minus Lambda, Jigsaw, and part of Coin) by mid 2011 and JDK 8 (Lambda, Jigsaw, the rest of Coin…) by late 2012
JVM / JDK / JRE: Oracle is merging Sun’s Java HotSpot Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and the Oracle JRockit JVM into a converged offering that will attempt to leverage the best features of each. Oracle plans to contribute the results of the combined Oracle Java HotSpot and Oracle JRockit JVMs to the OpenJDK project. The Oracle JDK and Java Runtime Environment (JRE) will continue to be available as free downloads, with no changes to the existing licensing models.
Rich Internet Apps with JavaFX: JavaFX was perhaps the one tech that beat all predictions for JavaOne 2010. While many expected JavaFX to die out, Oracle instead came out with a dedicated plan for JavaFX. One of the key changes in Java FX 2.0 is that Java will be the language for JavaFX and JavaFx Script will be phased out. JavaFX 2.0 early access is expected in Q1 2011, Beta Q2 2011 & GA in Q3 2011.
Oracle has said that it will tightly integrate JavaFX with the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) to enable better performance and improved usability. As part of the next release of JavaFX in calendar Q3 of 2011, Oracle will introduce a new set of Java APIs that will open JavaFX capabilities to all Java developers, without the need for them to learn a new scripting language. A new hardware-accelerated graphics engine is also planned for JavaFX to render interactive 2D and 3D experiences in real-time. JavaOne 2010 had 30 sessions on JavaFX, so Oracle certainly looks committed to JavaFX.
A couple of points to note about JavaFX – 1) JavaFX 2.0 is still a long way from being ready for use. 2) A question that kept being asked of JavaFX was its support for HTML5. JavaFx will support HTML5 rendering but that is expected only sometime in 2012.
IDEs – JDeveloper / NetBeans: There were surprisingly few references to JDeveloper at JavaOne however at the Oracle Openworld conference there was a lot of talk around JDeveloper. My take is that Oracle is tailoring Weblogic + JDeveloper more to the Oracle Apps, Oracle DB & ex- Oracle Forms people while NetBeans + Glassfish will be the preferred solution for the Java crowd.
Java Mobile: Java Mobile IMO has been the one tech that has always had tremendous potential but languished. Oracle has announced that it will modernize Java on mobile, will integrate Java mobile with web technologies, add new APIs & deliver a smaller footprint. While most of the buzz is around Android smartphones, iPhones & Blackberrys, the fact is that there are millions more Java capable phones out there than any of the smartphones. So if Oracle can energize Java on Mobile, I would expect a significant spike in Java development for mobile phones.
Enterprise Java (JavaEE): JavaEE6 was released in late 2009, so enterprise Java sessions at JavaOne were mostly about conveying what was already there in JavaEE 6. It was said that JavaEE6 was being adopted much faster than prior releases and in a session an Oracle exec also said that JavaEE is much bigger than any single company. There will be two Glassfish releases in 2011.
Android: Hmm… There was nothing at JavaOne about Android and the Oracle – Google lawsuit. Disappointing as the matter now just hangs in the air & most people seem to imagine the worst for Java & Android.
Overall, JavaOne 2010 was a milestone conference. It not only showed that Java is anything but dying but the conference was also a much needed booster shot for the Java community which has been lying low since the Oracle acquisition of Sun.