Live from JAXConf 2013

Oracle VP Georges Saab talks Java’s future with the strength of the community

Chris Mayer

The Java platform VP discusses Java 8, Java EE 7 and beyond with help from a few guests.


Kicking off the action at JAXConf was George Saab, VP for the Java Platform Group at Oracle, bringing with him a glimpse into the future for Java.

Saab began Tuesday’s morning keynote by outlining the three driving forces that are key to Java’s innovation. Firstly, Saab pointed to the technology itself, explaining that Oracle may have come along and picked it up three years ago and dusted it off, but the core components were still rock solid.

Next he focused on the community itself, calling the group of people pushing the platform ‘the strength of Java’. There were nods to two particular Java User Groups – SouJava and the London Java Community – for their work in fostering grassroots development on JSRs. Finally Saab explained that Oracle’s leadership was also key to keeping Java relevant in the modern software development world.

Taking a quick straw poll from the audience, it seemed that the majority were using JDK7, backing up Saab’s claims that adoption for the last major version of Java had been swift. Only a couple of hands went up for Java 6, with none going up for Java 5, suggesting Oracle’s adoption work had gone well.

The OpenJDK governing board chairman welcomed his first guest onto the stage, Java Language Architect Brian Goetz, to discuss Java 8, and in particular the main feature for that release – lambdas. Goetz explained the importance of closures arriving to the language, before mentioning Project Nashorn, the new JavaScript engine replacing Rhino.

Goetz discussed the temptation of craming more and more features into Java, but explained the importance of balancing it with stability. He then went on to outline the future for the Java platform. “The reality is the world changes…programming languages and demographics change” Goetz said, adding that Java is attempting to evolve by looking at the 200 languages running on the JVM and learn from others..

Saab then went on to talk about something close to his heart, JavaFX, the rich Internet application framework garnering more and more appeal. Saab said he was impressed with work on the technology, fuelled by OpenJDK. “It’s a tremendous place to see development happening and also give feedback on what’s happening.”

One other area which Oracle sees as a natural fit for Java is the Internet of Things and embedded devices. Saab said that the number of connected devices is surpassing people in the world and that we were coming to the point where the technology need to programme these devices is much more accessible.

“There’s a huge amount of fragmentation and a huge amount of inefficiency and cost…this is ripe for disruption and Java is a great technology for that,” Saab exclaimed.

Finally Saab welcomed Oracle Java EE evangelist Arun Gupta onto the stage to discuss the enterprise versions of Java. Gupta pointed out the fast adoption of Java EE 6, detailing the 18 compliant application servers now readily available.

The big buzz centred on “the action packed” Java EE 7, due to launch next week after the specifications were finalised. Gupta talked about the three primary themes including embracing HTML5 in Websockets and JSON, and developer productivity. Gupta explained that the response to the release from noted experts like TomEE’s David Blevins and Red Hat’s Pete Muir was terrific and that the release would be a foundational step in moving towards modularity.

Saab rounded up by reiterating the community’s importance in pushing Java forward, and made a compelling argument at the strides Oracle have made in three years since the Sun Microsystems acquisition.

Stay tuned for more keynote coverage throughout JAXConf!

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