Forrester Predictions for Enterprise Java

What Does the Future Hold for Java in the Enterprise?

Forrester Principle analyst and vice president John R. Rymer has posted a blog predicting how Java will develop under Oracle's guidance. Firstly, he acknowledges that Oracle has taken some positive steps when it comes to Java: the community now has a roadmap for the next two years, and Oracle managed to prevent a split with IBM. However, Oracle have also alienated many in the open source community, and Rymer believes the company have yet to address the platform's "inherent complexity." A top-down innovation model also limits Java's ability to provide the basis for the "cloud" generation of platforms, rich Internet apps and new development techniques. After taking all this into consideration, he decides that Java's future in the enterprise is "alive and well" but currently limited in scope.

But, what does enterprise Java's future look like? Rymer sees a future in which Java is solely driven by Oracle's business model. Oracle will still accept external contributions through OpenJDK, but only if the contribution in question fits Oracle's business plan. He believes the JCP will continue, but Oracle will initiate an alternative, which will have the positive effect of streamlining the platform's evolution, but the negative effect of "total domination of Java's evolution by Oracle and IBM." Naturally, competition will shift to accommodate this, and Rymer predicts the shift will be to higher-level, enterprise frameworks.

Java is currently thought of as a client-side language, but Rymer believes that, eventually, developers will come to view it instead as a server-side language for enterprises, and consequently educational institutions will switch to other languages for primary education. This means Java will lose what has traditionally been one of its greatest strengths: the number of developers who learn it as a first language.

Rymer predicts that, eventually, the bottom-up innovation of the open source community will move into other channels, as Oracle and its partners continue to release stable, predictable enhancements of enterprise Java middleware. He guesses smaller companies that are ill-suited to Java's high-end capabilities, will gravitate towards a new, open platform, possibly based on a combination of LAMP and HTML5 open standards.

Jessica Thornsby

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