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Post-JavaOne

JavaOne under crossfire: “Java EE is becoming more and more Oracle EE”

Niko Köbler
Niko Köbler

I couldn’t attend this year’s JavaOne opening keynote because my schedule didn’t allow me to travel to San Francisco this time. What a pity. Luckily, the keynote was broadcasted via live-stream. Therefore I made myself comfortable in front of my home office screen — after all, 2.5 hours of news from the Java World were waiting for me…

The first speaker of the Java Keynote, and therefore the official opener of the JavaOne was Sharat Chander, the Director Java Product Management. He talked about all the beautiful and magnificent things that JavaOne was capable of and presented two new web portals: One for Java developers (go.java) and the other one concerning all the developer resources for Oracle products (developer.oracle.com). So far, so beautiful (indeed, the pages are looking really good).

By the way, the motto of JavaOne was “Java Your Next (Cloud)” – what that’s supposed to mean? And why the word “Cloud” is put in between brackets?

Next stop was the – I prefer to call it “sponsored” – Industry Keynote of Intel that proclaimed trivia as in recent years. A new portal on the performance overview of OpenJDK was presented and there was something new concerning Intel’s IoT platform “Joule”. This allowed me to restock the beverage supply since there was no need for me to participate at Intel’s self-adulation and to watch them imply how fabulous and capable to-what-ever they are.

Back on the screen, it continued with the so-called “Visionary Keynote”. I already knew that Oracle has “Visions” from time to time. But in this keynote, Dr. Anita Sengupta (@Doctor_Astro) from NASA, was talking about the Mars expeditions and Java’s connection to this. But 40 minutes later (and I believe she was speaking so fast that she repeated the whole content of an aerospace engineering program), I was still wondering what this had to do with Java. I was not the only one who noticed this:

Bruno Borges (Oracle) also had a special insight:

After 90 minutes (there was one hour left of the keynote) George Saab, the Vice President of Development, Java Platform Group (great titles they have at Oracle!) started speaking about tech. His big announcement was that Java will become a “first class citizen” for Docker and the related deployment shall be a lot easier. However, this only led to moments of silence in the big hall of the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Most likely only a very few were waiting for this since most of them are already successfully working with Java and Docker.

Okay, Mark Reinhold, Chief Architect Java Platform Group (…), finally got a chance to speak. Unfortunately, the only thing he had to say was that Java 9 would come “soon”, but “not as soon as you’d hoped”, which obviously was a hint towards the already announced postponement of the Java 9 release date. Furthermore, he played, pardon me, “showed” live coding with JShell, the new Java REPL in Java 9. And he demonstrated how to create a little JDK with Jigsaw and Jlink, customized to fit one’s personal needs. Nice, but it was nothing new and also not worthy for a keynote.

Maybe Brian Goetz, Java Language Architect, could actually present something terrific new!?

Well, except for the features of the projects Valhalla (Value Typed and Specialized Generics) and Panama (Foreign Function Interface and Data Layout Control), that we already knew about, he didn’t bring us anything new except for the announcement that Java is going to support Default Implementations for POJOs. Thus it’s possible to write a fully implemented class with just

 public class Point (int, int y) {} 

Contructors, Getter& Setter, Equals und Hashcode methods will be generated automatically and can be overwritten if necessary. Okay, THIS actually is a novelty! But it was also long overdue since other JVM-based languages (Scala, Kotlin) are capable of doing that for quite some time.

Finally ,there was Anil Gaur, Group Vice President, Cloud Application Foundation, who talked about Oracle’s handling of the Java EE misery. The “big thing” around Java EE is, similar to Oracle in general, “Cloud” and Java EE will be made “fit” for the cloud.

“Java EE – Available on-premise and in the cloud”

During the last few month, “one” (Oracle) listened closely to the voices of users and the community and (reputedly) understood and reacted to them. The result will be a greater emphasis on cloud, microservices, and usage of SQL stores. Even words like “reactive” and “events” were visible in the presentation. Wow, what an amazing realization!

After that, Anil Gaur presented the so-called the “Revised Proposal” by Oracle – a suggestion by Oracle that has not seen the light of day yet and can, therefore, be significantly shaped by the community. There is even a new survey for that! However, knowing Oracle… Honi soit qui mal y pense.

Details regarding the individual APIs can be found in the JAXenter article about the JavaOne Keynote or on Twitter (hashtag: #JavaOne); I’m not going to repeat the information here. Allegedly, Oracle is going to release Java EE 8 by the end of 2017, Java EE 9 just one year after that, by the end of 2018.

Let’s just wait and see if that is really going to happen. Those familiar with the processes at Oracle might be sceptical about it – I, for one, am. After all, completely new JSRs are supposed to find their way into Java EE 8, for which there are no developments available yet. Possibly Oracle has already been working on those APIs through the last year, without giving official statements, so no one knows about it, even though they are already done and waiting to be put into Java EE 8?! That would in any case bypass the Java Community Process (JPC) completely, which is technically supposed to be steering the complete development of Java.

Nevertheless, the style of this announcement, the choice of APIs and the “disregard” towards the partners IBM, RedHat, Tomitribe, Payara, etc. seems to suggest Java EE 8 might be an Oracle EE release, adjusted to the companies’ product and cloud portfolio. The reason for disregarding the “partners” might be that they broached all relevant issues in their Micrcoprofile.io initiative, even providing solutions for them. It kind of seems that Oracle is duplicating things from Microprofile.io. Which would be perfectly fine, if there was actually another style of communication in place.

But even more important are those things Oracle is not saying and also not showing in the presentation slides anymore: JSRs like MVC, JMS, and management. Oracle’s official statement regarding these aspects is that they will become irrelevant due to the utilization of the cloud, therefore they are not needed anymore.

Can someone be more arrogant?! With this, Oracle implies that all companies that are not using cloud technologies won’t have to use those technologies anymore too?! In the past, the continued compatibility without the need to make substantial changes to the structure of an application every couple of months has been a major reason why companies chose the Java EE “standard”. So now this is going to be discarded? This can be regarded as strong support for the idea that Java EE is growing ever more into Oracle EE and Oracle, contrary to all public announcements, is not giving a damn about the community and the JCP; they are simply following their own plans. “Standard” no more.

I am especially upset about the silent drop of the MVC-JSR, particularly because of the flimsy argument that cloud applications are often run “headless” today, with UIs being developed in JavaScript Frameworks like Angular and React with RESTful backend. Yet, JS-only based UI Frameworks are not for everyone and some consider them as controversial (yes, I’m saying that despite the fact that I am an advocate of JS frontends!). It seems that Oracle wants to be ignorant about that; if they were not, Java Server Faces (JSF) would be at risk of being blacklisted too.

Now it’s up to the community – every one of us counts! Participate in this survey, tell Oracle what you think! Don’t just do that in the survey – write emails in the JCP and EG- (Expert Groups) mailing lists, tweet as much as you can, write blogs! Just don’t complain later if you don’t say anything now.

One last note

Larry Ellison (CTO, Oracle) announced the following at the Oracle Open World (OOW), taking place at the same time while showing off the new cloud infrastructure by Oracle: “Amazon’s lead is over”

So much for “visions” — No comment!

This post was originally written in German and published on JAXenter.de

Author
Niko Köbler
Niko Köbler is a freelance software architect and Java and JavaScript developer, as well as a regular speaker at JAX conferences.

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