In a keynote speech that kicked off the 2010 version of TheServerSide Java Symposium (TSS JS) in Las Vegas, Java creator James Gosling focused on updates in Java Enterprise Edition 6 (JEE 6) that speed Web application building.
Gosling, whose work to create Java pushed Sun Microsystems to the forefront of enterprise software development, spoke at a time when attention centers anew on the programming language - this in the wake of Oracle Corp.'s purchase of Sun and an emerging trend that sees full-fledged J EE framework implementations competing with narrower Web application frameworks.
In his speech, Gosling described aspects of the Java Community Process as a "political nightmare." With JEE, he especially touted improved ease of deployment. ''It is completely different universe,'' he said of JEE 6.
Gosling, who served as Chief Technology Officer of Sun's Developer Products Group, and who now holds the title of CTO for Oracle's Client Software Group, said modularity in J EE comes from use of OSGi blueprints. ''One of the things that come out of this is a simpler way of packaging Web applications. It is also easier to plug into a management framework,'' he said.
''It completely changes the way you think about writing we applications. You don't have to worry about changing config files. Development becomes really fluid,'' he said.
Some of these new traits may position J EE more favorably versus emerging alternative frameworks such as Spring. In fact, Enterprise Java Bean (EJB) deployment has been improved as part of JEE 6. At the same time, attention has been placed on reducing XML coding for configuration. For Gosling, as a developer, this is welcome.
''For people like me who, when they open up an XML file, say 'Oh, please, Lord, no,' this is beautiful,'' he said. ''I'd really like to never see XML again,''chided Gosling. ''We are 99% of the way there.''
Developers should encounter fewer restarts of app servers with the more streamlined JEE 6 setups. Some TSS JS attendees saw benefits to this and to less reliance on XML.
"I am excited to see the idea of the complexity of XML going way. We have had to build tools to manag the XML," said Troy Davidson, developer, Sasketel International. "As a developer, it is nice to see easier non-start/non-stop redeployment as well."
Michael Fielder, a senior developer at a logistics company, said Java EE 6 improvements can help meet the challenge of quick code turn-arounds. "We now use Agile and Scrum development styles, and are under greater time pressure,"he said.
Fielder said lighter frameworks in general can help speed development, but "quick 'compile-to-deploy' turnaround is very important too." The longer you take to do your software building, the less easy it is to be Agile, he said.
Curse of interesting times
In his presentation to the 300-plus TSS JS attendees, Gosling emphasized Java's ubiquity. He cited estimates that there are now more than 6.5 million Java developers in the world. He said Glassfish application server downloads were now running at about 1 million per month. As well, he indicated confidence in the progress of the Oracle-Sun merger.
"We have finally come together to be Oracle. It has been interesting in the "Chinese curse" way, he said, referring to the ancient adage concerning the difficulties of being "born in interesting times."
"I am pretty encouraged about the way things are going to work out," he said.
"JEE 6 was literally years in the making. It is the result of a large-scale community collaboration. It's been a dialog between different manufactures, customers, and academics. Some of that turns into a political nightmare," he said.
"There is a whole bunch of new APIs. Each one of these things is its own expert group," he said. Navigating this area calls for political acumen. "Now," he said, "the Oracle 'guys' get to learn this particular skill. In this universe engineers also have to be diplomats."
The Oracle-Sun merger was finalized in late January. Subsequently, vendors and independent developers have begun to look for more details from Oracle on the direction of the Java Community Process (JCP). Some tools vendors have called for a recalibration of the JCP in the light of the merger.
Edited by: jvaughan on Mar 17, 2010 3:06 PM