Avatarred and feathered

Oracle to stop development of Avatar

Coman Hamilton
Shuttered gate image via Shutterstock

Avatar’s days are numbered. After months of tumbleweed tumbling through the Avatar project, Oracle has performed a sharp u-turn and cancelled its plans for an Avatar 2.0 release.

Development of Oracle’s Avatar project has been brought to a halt by leadership at Oracle.

In the past months, the Avatar project had become eerily silent, with dust beginning to settle on the project’s apparent plans for Avatar 2.0. For over half a year there were no commits, except for comments and testing in the public repository.

Having started out three years ago as a pure HTML5 / JavaScript framework, the Avatar project later received a Node.js server-side implementation for the JVM (Avatar.js) as well as Java EE-specific extensions.

“On hold”

Oracle has now announced a halt in project development for the foreseeable future. Late last year, at the JavaOne conference, Oracle representatives were enthusiastically discussing future plans for Avatar 2.0.

The move follows a prominent complaint by Niko Köbler (Software Architect and Developer for Java and JavaScript enterprise solutions), which criticised Oracle’s “non-strategy” and called for information on the development of the project.

SEE ALSO: A look at what Oracle is was planning for Avatar 2.0

In the past, Avatar had encountered significant compatibility problems with Node.js. On top of that there were notable performance problems, while the Java EE and Node communities showed little interest in the framework.

As a result it was decided that Avatar 2.0 should focus more on the Node compatibility, running in its own JVM while simultaneously providing Java and Java EE interoperability. Oracle’s official reason for shuttering Avatar is that the functionality of all relevant services is already available directly through RESTful APIs.

Köbler is anything but optimistic about the future of Avatar.

For me, this decision of Oracle is very disappointing and sad. I would’ve loved to hear/read, that the Avatar development will continue. I’m in doubt that the development will be restarted sometime.

Oracle to wait and see

Oracle has neglected to comment when, or if at all, construction on Avatar will resume. It appears that the software giant intends to wait and see how the industry develops and re-evaluate the demand for Avatar at a later stage.

Rather than trying to reinvent Avatar again, we have decided to put it on hold and let the market evolve a bit. We’ll continue to track the industry and re-evaluate down the road.

However, Oracle’s work in the Node.js field will continue. “While Avatar is being put on hold, we are ramping up our investment in Node.js with the planned delivery of the Oracle Node Cloud Service in 2015, built on native Node.js,” John Clingan writes on the Oracle blog.

Köbler, who was until recently a prominent advocate of Avatar and Avatar.js, now recommends that anyone wishing to continue running Node.js apps in the JVM turn to the Red Hat alternative, Nodyn.

Coman Hamilton
Coman was Editor of at S&S Media Group. He has a master's degree in cultural studies and has written and edited content for numerous news, tech and culture websites and magazines, as well as several ad agencies.

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