Live from JAXConf 2013

Oracle VP Georges Saab talks Java’s future with the strength of the community

Chris Mayer
Saab

The Java platform VP discusses Java 8, Java EE 7 and beyond with help from a few guests.

 

Kicking off the action at JAXConf was George
Saab, VP for the Java Platform Group at Oracle, bringing with him a
glimpse into the future for Java.

Saab began Tuesday’s morning keynote by
outlining the three driving forces that are key to Java’s
innovation. Firstly, Saab pointed to the technology itself,
explaining that Oracle may have come along and picked it up three
years ago and dusted it off, but the core components were still
rock solid.

Next he focused on the community itself, calling
the group of people pushing the platform ‘the strength of Java’.
There were nods to two particular Java User Groups – SouJava and
the London Java Community – for their work in fostering grassroots
development on JSRs. Finally Saab explained that Oracle’s
leadership was also key to keeping Java relevant in the modern
software development world.

Taking a quick straw poll from the audience, it
seemed that the majority were using JDK7, backing up Saab’s claims
that adoption for the last major version of Java had been swift.
Only a couple of hands went up for Java 6, with none going up for
Java 5, suggesting Oracle’s adoption work had gone well.

The OpenJDK governing board chairman welcomed
his first guest onto the stage, Java Language Architect Brian
Goetz, to discuss Java 8, and in particular the main feature for
that release – lambdas. Goetz explained the importance of closures
arriving to the language, before mentioning Project Nashorn, the
new JavaScript engine replacing Rhino.

Goetz discussed the temptation of craming more
and more features into Java, but explained the importance of
balancing it with stability. He then went on to outline the future
for the Java platform. “The reality is the world
changes…programming languages and demographics change” Goetz
said, adding that Java is attempting to evolve by looking at the
200 languages running on the JVM and learn from others..

Saab then went on to talk about something close
to his heart, JavaFX, the rich Internet application framework
garnering more and more appeal. Saab said he was impressed with
work on the technology, fuelled by OpenJDK. “It’s a tremendous
place to see development happening and also give feedback on what’s
happening.”

One other area which Oracle sees as a natural
fit for Java is the Internet of Things and embedded devices. Saab
said that the number of connected devices is surpassing people in
the world and that we were coming to the point where the technology
need to programme these devices is much more accessible.

“There’s a huge amount of fragmentation and a
huge amount of inefficiency and cost…this is ripe for disruption
and Java is a great technology for that,” Saab
exclaimed.

Finally Saab welcomed Oracle Java EE evangelist
Arun Gupta onto the stage to discuss the enterprise versions of
Java. Gupta pointed out the fast adoption of Java EE 6, detailing
the 18 compliant application servers now readily
available.

The big buzz centred on “the action packed” Java EE 7,
due to launch
next week
after the specifications were finalised. Gupta talked
about the three primary themes including embracing HTML5 in
Websockets and JSON, and developer productivity. Gupta explained
that the response to the release from noted experts like TomEE’s
David Blevins and Red Hat’s Pete Muir was terrific and that the
release would be a foundational step in moving towards
modularity.

Saab rounded up by reiterating the community’s importance
in pushing Java forward, and made a compelling argument at the
strides Oracle have made in three years since the Sun Microsystems
acquisition.

Stay tuned for more keynote coverage throughout
JAXConf!

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