As it happens

JavaOne 2015 Diary – Day 0

Lars Röwekamp
© Yoshio Terada

JavaOne is happening as we speak and we’ve got Lars Röwekamp reporting on what you want to know from the biggest Java event of the year. Couldn’t make it to the event? Stay tuned for more coverage and conference updates throughout the week!

“Celebrating 20 years of Java” – this motto will likely become my mantra in the days to come. And its no wonder, since I’m reporting from JavaOne in San Fransisco and will be delivering a daily recap throughout the conference via a little “mood report”. Read on for more!

“Java Developer Nightmares”

Sunday is Day 0, yet one day before the official start of the conference the keynote speech has been held. As might be expected, a number of anecdotes of the past 20 years were presented in the form of pictures and soundbites. What was especially well done was the rehearsed greetings of various Sun fellows from the past.

Above all, the charismatic Scott McNealy, CEO and co-founder of Sun who couldn’t attend sent a small, personal greeting through to Oracle. As part of his Top 10 – actually it was 12 – “Java Developer Nightmares”, the following scenario sat at fourth place: “You love open source software and sharing, but you work at Oracle.” This comment brought the most amount of tweets throughout the keynote.

Photo courtesy of Mark Heckler ‏@MkHeck

Photo courtesy of Mark Heckler ‏@MkHeck

Georges Saab, Vice President of Development, clarified once again how important a step Java 7 to Java 8 was, and that taking the next important, consistent step with Java 9 is a solid focus. He left the details of their migration plans to Mark Reinhold, Chief Architect of the Java platform. Reinhold stressed that it could not be the target of Java to be a potpourri of “cool” language features, just because other languages ​​offer something to that regard.

Java 9

Instead, the aim with each version is to increase developer productivity. To this end, an attempt is made with each new version to eliminate the key “pain points”. These are, in Reinhold’s view, current classpath handling and the monolithic JDK. As luck would have it, Reinhold has something in store for both of these problems. The magic word is “modularisation” and while Jigsaw isn’t brand new, it’s still pretty interesting. In a small demo, Reinhold demonstrated how future Java projects based on Jigsaw could be assembled without it leading to problems with classes not being found or duplicated.

It’s clear that Jigsaw will bring about a “big language change” in Java itself. As many already know, Oracle wants to take the path that allows Java 9 users to explore new features as well as having the opportunity to influence these them, such as Jigsaw. So its best to just take a look for yourself – feedback is welcome, says Reinhold.

Valhalla and Panama

Of course there are already plans for iterations to Java 9. Two of them were expanded on by Brian Goetz, the Language Architect for Java. Firstly, there is the Project Valhalla. Valhalla takes into account, amongst other things, that Java has changed dramatically over the past 20 years – not only as a language but also its runtime environments (hardware). Constructs and internal optimisations that were useful 20 years ago are no longer part of the scene.

The remedy here is to bring in a new language construct called Value Types. Value Types can be thought of as a mixture between fully fledged classes and primitives. “Codes like a class, works like an int” says Goetz. It’s ideal for memory usage while still powerful in its programming.

Besides Valhalla, Goetz dealt briefly with Project “Panama”. The aim of Panama is to simplify Java developer access to native code significantly. For those that use the Java Native Interface (JNI), Panama brings with it real added value. Using a tool called jextract, you can generate Java classes and interfaces from C / C++ headers, which can then be implemented directly. What we saw in this presentation was all very promising. Interested parties can keep track of the project here.

The two pillars of power

In addition to Java SE being mentioned in the keynote, there was of course the two other “pillars of power” to address –  Java EE and Java ME (yes, for real!). Java EE 7 has been received well according to current statistics, with its installations almost on par with Java EE 6. These values ​​can surely be confirmed via your own project experience.

The specification for Java EE 8 is in full swing, which is sure to be mentioned in upcoming diary entries from the conference. However, the final release is planned for 2017 – good things take time, apparently. Let’s hope we don’t end up bored by the time it arrives. Java EE 8 will be introduced with the topic “Cloud and Ease of Use” in focus, highlighting updates for MVC 1.0, Java EE Security 1.0 and JSON Binding alongside a number of new APIs.

Last, but not least, we heard from Robert Clark, Senior Director of IoT, who had something to share about Java ME. For those who do not yet know: “The ‘M’ in ME ‘stands for Micro!”, not for mobile. It’s now become clear why this has suddenly been given so much space after the years of perceived standstill on Java ME and Java ME Embedded. “It’s all about connecting devices, generating data from these devices and generating value out of this data, as we never did before,” said Clark. Oracle is hoping to secure a big piece of the future IoT market with the combination of Java ME Embedded and IoT-cloud services.

One more thing…

Oh yes, there was still something… but there was nothing said about it! Throughout the keynote, there was no mention of the testimony of a former Oracle insider who stated at the beginning of October that “Oracle has lost interest in Java”, as reported by JAXenter.

That’s all for my first live report from JavaOne. I’m looking forward to the next few days, so stay tuned for more entires to my JavaOne 2015 diary.


Lars Röwekamp

Lars Röwekamp is the CEO of Open Knowledge GmbH and has been advising customers on international projects for more than ten years around the theme of enterprise computing. You can find him on Twitter at @mobileLarson.

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