Post-JavaOne takeaways

JavaOne 2017 afterglow

Simon Ritter

© Shutterstock / TZIDO SUN

Oracle has made some significant decisions that will allow Java to continue to move forward at a pace that satisfies both developers who want new features quickly and those that need stability for deployment. If you weren’t at this year’s JavaOne, Simon Ritter reports on what went down at JavaOne and what had changed since he’d last attended.

Last week was the annual JavaOne conference and it was the first time I’d been in three years, so I was interested to see what had changed since I’d last attended.

The most significant change this year was that the event was back in the Moscone. Since Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, JavaOne has been run at the same time as Oracle OpenWorld. Given the space requirements of this colossal event, JavaOne has been relocated (some would say relegated) to a group of hotels a short walk away (The Hilton, Parc55 and Nikko just up from Union Square). The hotels have never been popular with attendees, as it doesn’t allow for the same mixing during breaks and the exhibition area is, whilst not cramped, certainly not spacious.

Despite most of Moscone South apparently having been demolished recently, JavaOne was in Moscone West, the newer shiny part on the corner of Howard and 4th St. For me this worked really well; there was certainly a lot more space. Presentation rooms were bigger so fewer people were turned away from sessions because they were full. The exhibition area was shared with Oracle’s cloud displays, but this didn’t make the JavaOne section feel small or in any way second class. If anything, the additional foot traffic was a bonus to the companies with stands in the JavaOne area. I also liked that the third floor of Moscone West was used for OpenWorld presentations. Although this put something of a strain on getting lunch, I liked seeing a mix of JavaOne and OpenWorld attendees (it’s easy to spot which is which, T-shirts or suits).

They made a conscious decision to pre-announce everything that was changing around Java before JavaOne started

The second change was moving the main keynote to Monday afternoon; in previous years it had either been Monday morning or even Sunday afternoon. With this time-slot attendance was going to be about as high as it could get.

Oracle, it seemed, had made a conscious decision to pre-announce everything that was changing around Java before JavaOne started. In the previous three weeks:

  • Both JDK 9 and Java EE 8 had been released (on the same day!)
  • A new release cadence for the JDK had been proposed so there will be a new release every six months.
  • A (slightly controversial) new numbering scheme has been proposed for the JDK using Year.Month. The next release, in March next year, will be JDK 18.3.
  • A Long Term Support (LTS) model for the JDK has been announced. LTS releases will be every three years. JDK 8 is the current LTS (JDK 9 is not an LTS), and the next LTS release will be JDK 18.9 (September next year). When LTS JDKs are released there will be no further public updates or security patches for the previous LTS. Releases in between LTSs are called Feature Releases and will only have public updates until the next JDK release.
  • Oracle has committed to releasing the popular Mission Control and Flight Recorder tools as open source. This is excellent news as it will eliminate some licensing issues people have had in the past regarding development versus production use of these tools.
  • Oracle’s goal is to release binaries of Feature Release JDKs under a GPL license. There will no longer be any difference between the Oracle binaries and ones built directly from the OpenJDK source (hence the open sourcing of Mission Control and Flight Recorder). The most significant aspect of this is that there will be no more Field of Use (FoU) restriction for the GPL binaries.
  • The announcement that Java EE was moving to the stewardship of the Eclipse Foundation. This was well received by the Java community with only concerns around a change of name (it will now be Eclipse Enterprise For Java, EE4J) and the inability to use the javax namespace for packages moving forward.

The keynote turned out to be one of the best in several years (this was not just my opinion but that of many people I spoke to and saw comments from on Twitter). Despite not containing any new announcements Mark Cavage, Georges Saab and Mark Reinhold did a great job of laying out all the above in more detail. A variety of people from various organizations came on stage to support the biggest set of changes to the Java platform really since it was released.

I was also impressed with the content at this year’s conference. There was a great selection of subjects and plenty to appeal to all types of developer. The hot topics like cloud and microservices got plenty of attention.

SEE ALSO: “JDK 9 does not have big features for developers, it’s about changing the runtime with modularity”

During the week there was ample opportunity to mix with peers and network with plenty of after-hours parties to attend. The JCP party on Monday was packed, although the venue was rather too cozy meaning it was difficult to hold a conversation and AV problems meant the awards ceremony effectively had to be abandoned. Due to other commitments, I wasn’t able to attend the CloudFest with the Chain Smokers and Ellie Goulding, but those who did go felt it was a great evening.

On the final day, we had the Community Keynote. This continued the idea from last year of, well, having what is effectively a school play that includes some details about what the Java community is up to. Last year it was Star Wars themed, this year we had The Matrix. This included a massive ‘bullet time’ machine built by Jasper Potts using no less than sixty Raspberry Pis to capture a 360-degree image of someone. Certainly, an impressive feat of engineering, even if Oracle are not offering binaries of JDK 9 or future releases for ARM. If you want to run JDK 9 on the Raspberry Pi, we’ll be releasing our Zulu binaries shortly. I wasn’t the only one who felt that this section went on a bit too long. Thirty minutes would have been fine, but at very nearly an hour and ten minutes, I had lost interest long before it ended.

Best JavaOne in several years

Looking at Tweets and postings on the Java Champions and JUG leaders mail aliases, the general perception is that this was the best JavaOne in several years. For me, that was certainly the case. I think that Oracle has made some significant decisions that will allow Java to continue to move forward at a pace that satisfies both developers who want new features quickly and those that need stability for deployment. With these changes and the inevitable rise in community involvement Java will continue to be the most popular software platform on the planet.

The news out of JavaOne this year has been fairly big: Java EE is moving to the Eclipse Foundation. If you weren’t there, David Heffelfinger reports on what went down at JavaOne and how everyone took this monumental news.


Simon Ritter

Simon Ritter is the Deputy CTO of Azul Systems. Simon has been in the IT business since 1984 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Brunel University in the U.K.

Simon joined Sun Microsystems in 1996 and spent time working in both Java development and consultancy. He has been presenting Java technologies to developers since 1999 focusing on the core Java platform as well as client and embedded applications. Now at Azul Systems he continues to help people understand Java and Azul’s JVM products. Follow him on Twitter @speakjava.

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