One Java to rule them all

JavaOne opens with IoT hype and promises of unification

Lucy Carey

Conference keynote pinpoints Internet of Things as major game changer for platform and highlights Java 8 as “huge step” towards platform unification

Somewhat paradoxically, this year’s JavaOne theme, “Make the Future Java”, is a repeat of last year’s event. That’s not to say that this year’s strategy keynote speech didn’t offer any glimpses of how the platform has evolved over that past twelve months. Emphasising that, with more than nine million developers around the world, “Java remains the number one development platform in the world,” the focus was very much on just how relevant the Java remains going forward, especially in light of analyst forecasts for the industry as a whole.

Aside from the announcement that JavaScript service provider Avatar is to go open source, there weren’t any huge surprises. The speeches began with an address from Peter Utzschneider, Vice President, Java Product Management, who outlined Oracle’s goal of making Java stronger, more robust, and relevant for decades to come. Utzschneider put a good deal of emphasis on IoT, noting that, whilst it’s really anyone’s guess as to just how many machine to machine connected devices there will be in 2020, it’s pretty fair to say that a figure in the billions isn’t too far off. Oracle is hedging their bets on super smart technology – and, as evidenced by the hardware sponsors of the event, there’s clear industry support for this thinking.

He also highlighted just how essential Big Data has become in driving the work of developers, asserting that dealing with the data itself has become “a whole new paradigm”. He commented:  “The combination of mobility and social have created an incredible amount of new data, of people interacting, sharing and producing things with new services and new applications, all being driven by massive infrastructure, mostly running on Java”.

Nandini Ramani, Vice President of Engineering, Java Client and Embedded Platforms, also painted a picture of an evolving Java. Ramani outlined the ways in which, through straddling a broad range of devices, with multiple implementations across different vertical networks, Java has become more and more silo ridden. Moving forward, Oracle wants to unify languages and APIs.

Should their initiative prove successful, in the future, Ramandi – who said that the company believes “it’s important to unify the platform, not just from an API perspective, but from a language perspective” – envisions that there will be just one Java developer, able to leverage their skill set across the entire Java spectrum, rather than settling for choosing between being a Java ME or Java SE developer.

According to Ramani, “Java SE 8 is a huge step towards platform unification”. She noted that, with SE 8, Oracle will release the Compact Profile and will replace CDC, reducing implementations. Commonality will also increase from both from an API and a language perspective. In line with this move towards unification, Oracle has also been working with manufacturers of embedded partners with a view towards resolving fragmentation problems within the embedded development industry.

Echoing Utzscheider, she highlighted the increasing suitability of Java as a key pivot for the IoT, saying, “Everyone believes that there is a need for an open standard platform for the Internet of Things space that is coming – Java is the logical choice to address this market”.

Photo (from JavaOne 2011) by Oracle PR.

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