Last preprations and first impressions from JavaOne 2009 – guess who is not a sponsor (not even an iron or wood level?)

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As JavaOne – preceded by CommunityOne which kicks off tomorrow morning – is approaching fast, this might be a good moment to discuss some of the early rumours, the expectations and certainly the questions that this year’s edition of JavaOne will hopefully answer over the next 5 days or so.

One remarkable thing: Last year, Oracle was the platinum sponsor of JavaOne 2008. This year, Oracle acquired Sun (or at least made a deal with Sun’s board of directors). Whether they are now short on cash and could not afford the sponsorship or whether through Sun Oracle will be visible all the same or whatever the reason is: Oracle is not a sponsor and apparently is not even on the Java Pavilion. So Big Red, who swallowed BEA with the WebLogic, Aqualogic and Plumtree products, Collaxa/BPEL, Coherence DataGrid, EclipseLink, Apache Trinidad, … , is not very visible. I noticed a few presentations by Oracle speakers, so there is some presence but it is minimal.

So who are the big sponsors? The platinum sponor is… Intel! Not your usual suspect I would say. Other main sponsors are RedHat JBoss, Sony Ericsson, Balckberry and IBM (they are back). Another organization conspicuously absent from the conference is Google: not as a sponsor or as an exhibitor (even for recruiting people?) are they around.

It should not come as a surprise if tomorrow we discover that Moscone is not as crowded as it used to be during JavaOne conferences, with perhaps even the odd power outlet available to refresh our laptops. The economy surely impacted many people’s plans for coming to San Francisco for JavaOne. I would not be surprised if the total number of attendees does not cross 10k and perhaps stops at 8.000 or so. Still a pretty good crowd of course.

Questions to find answers to

When we look at the questions we have for this conference, the list includes elements such as:

- how many people do attend, where do they come from and what are the trends compared with last year

- what will be the news on the Oracle-Sun merger/take-over; how do the Sun folks feel about it; what does the community think? What will Oracle do and how will that affect us Java developers?

- What is the news, what are the big announcements. What are the main themes and threads for this conference (and why?)

- Will JavaFX finally make its breakthrough this year – or will it stay the unfulfilled promise for the foreseeable future?

- What is IBM’s stance with regard to Java? And how is Microsoft planning on dealing with the J-Community? Where are the mutual integration points?

- what are the really cool things Java technology enables us to do?

- what are the emerging trends – common themes from all vendors and developers? and which former trends have submerged again? Are the dynamic languages still as hot (Ruby for example)? Is SCA (and SDO) still the antidote to every integration challenge? Will Spring Framework conquer the world? Are Data Grids the ultimate answer to performance, availability and scalability issues? Should I create a DSL before building the next application? Is threesome programming going to succeed pair programming? are we leaving the browser behind? Is the technology for creating Mash ups or truly integrated, AJAX enabled portal solutions at last with us? Is JSP at the end of its lifecycle?

- what happened to yesteryear’s hot topics? Are they still hot and hyping (still not realized their potential perhaps with the community hoping against hopes…) or have they either matured and adopted by the Java community at large or have they faded away into obscurity?

Visible Topics 

Some of the topics that we are bound to learn more about:

JEE 6 – when are the specs going to be finalized, when is the official release of the entire platform with all its reference implementation? What can be done to speed up, flexibilize the process? (after all: community participation is a great thing, that is what brings and holds us together and allows innovation etc. But the pace at which some of the specs have been evolving raises the question whether the process is flexible enough

Java 7 – is there light at the end of that particular tunnel? Starting with agreement between members in the JCP for Java 7 and a release plan for the specs to be finalized and the JDK implementations to be developed and made available. It has taken quite some time and a lot of debate and does not seem to have come to a conclusion yet.

OSGi and the upcoming modularization and hot  (no-downtime) administration options for the JDK/JRE

Cloud – perhaps the most important theme from Sun Microsystems – that could perhaps guide the world of application architects and software developers to the wonderful world of Sun based Cloud Computing…

REST! there is a lot to do about REST(ful) – a new architecture is emerging with the web application – either residing server side or as a rich client in the browser (JavaScript, Flex/Flash, …) – communicating with the business service that is offered as REST-API through AJAX/JSON or using JAX-RS with for example Jersey. The RESTful API adds another layer – and another decoupling point that is leaner than a SOAP based WebServices interface for the WebApp to communicate with the Business Service/Tier with – especially coming from the world of AJAX/JavaScript.

Server Push

Data and Compute Grids?

Concurrency – with the multi-core machines (rather than ever faster CPUs), what do we need to do/know about Concurrency?

SaaS – Software as a Service – right up there with the cloud (which you can use as an organization to run your own applications on, replacing your in house IT infrastructure) is the notion of applications being made available by third parties on third party (the same or a different third party), remote, centrally managed infrastructure. The cost effectiveness of the SaaS solution combined with the rapid evolution of the software make it very enticing, provided security is addressed and a ‘SOA across the cloud’  solution becomes available to hook up SaaS applications with the internal IT Application architecture of organizations and of course their other Cloud based applications. This is the main topic for my own Technical Session on Tuesday.

Gaming, Simulation, 3D – will these concepts somehow make their way into enterprise applications?

Integrated communication – VOIP, Chat, SMS,

Social Networking – one of the other key buzzwords – if we can tie Flickr and Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and YouTube together, then we must be in social networking heaven with access to milions if not bilions of end users doing…. yeah, what exactly?

Farmer’s Market

I was walking back after registering with the conference desk in the Moscone Center and in building adjacent to the Yerba Buena Gardens a Farmer’s Market was being held, with over two dozen farmers, craftsmen and caterers who offered their (organic) products. All these stalls looked nice and each vendor was proud of his ir her wares and hoping to attract attention. To sell, but also and maybe even foremost to be seen and appreciated. And that is, I realized, also part of JavaOne: dozens of product managers, vendors and community developers present the fruits of their work and hope to pick up the momentum from the crowd. Every product, open source free software as well as commercially closed software, needs to pick momentum, be seen and used and talked about. And for many proud product owners, JavaOne is the best chance to shine for a large crowd with many tecnical thoughtleaders and decisions makers or influencers. Convince the J1 crowd and youi might well be on to something.

In that same farmer’s market spirit, JavaOne is the perfect place for buyers/users to talk with the ‘farmers’ – the guys and girls behind the projects and products. To get to know them, exchange ideas and perhaps some frustrations, get a feel for where they are heading and if the team has a lot of ideas and energy and high spirits or whether perhaps the product may be ‘ on the way out’.

In the prelude to the J1 conference, many names of relatively new and as yet perhaps obscure projects and products start circling round. Or some frameworks that have been around for years and years without me noticing them suddenly catch my eye. Mysterious session titles, rumours are started about presentations that should be attended, expectations raised… And in the coming few days, it must all become clear. What are those interesting new ideas, plans and products Sun and JBoss/IBM/Apache/SpringSource/Groovy/.. and other vendors and communities are working on. 

An initial scan of the titles of presentations at J1 and C1 as well as an early interpretation of some of the rumours going around resulted in the following initial list of topics that seem interesting to pay (close) attention to:

* LIFT is an expressive and elegant framework for writing web applications. Lift stresses the importance of security, maintainability, scalability and performance, while allowing for high levels of developer productivity. Lift borrows from the best of existing frameworks, providingSeaside’s highly granular sessions and security, Rails fast flash-to-bang, Django’s "more than just CRUD is included", Wicket’s designer-friendly templating style (see Lift View First). And because Lift applications are written in Scala, an elegant new JVM language, you can still use your favorite Java libraries and deploy to your favorite Servlet Container.

* Atmosphere is a high-level API designed to make it easier to build Comet-based Web applications that include a mix of Comet and RESTful behavior. Today

* Drizzle is a reimagining of the world’s most popular database, the MySQL™ database, with a focus on being a key player in the growing world of cloud computing.

* zembly.com is a new, browser-based development environment and platform for social and cloud-based applications by Sun Microsystems. Zembly gives developers the power to create and deploy social applications for platforms like Facebook in minutes or hours, using any API on the web as their library. Zembly is itself a social network, and a pioneering tool in the new field of "social programming". Last but not least, zembly is an extensible development environment in the cloud–developers can use zembly to extend, replace, and remix its default features to improve them or to target new application types.

* Piccolo2D is an open-source framework for writing zooming user interfaces (ZUIs) in the Java™ environment and .NET. It continues the tradition of the well-known Piccolo and Jazz frameworks from the University of Maryland, with the support of a large, active community.

* The Mobile 3D Graphics (M3G) API is used to deliver 3-D gaming on millions of mobile phones today. This session explains how M3G can be used to create exciting applications beyond gaming. It covers the existing API and some new features of the updated API, including programmable shaders.

* WidgetFX is a new open-source framework for deploying JavaFX™ applications to users’ desktops with the simplicity of one-click installation. It ships with several configurable, skinnable widgets and has a growing repository of user-created widgets, from performance monitors to streaming video.

* Smooks (JBoss):  about commonly encountered data integration tasks, such as splitting, transforming, and routing of XML, EDI, CSV, JavaScript™ Object Notation (JSON), and Java&trade technology-based messages.

* EBay’s VJO solves many of these problems, blurring the difference between Java and JavaScript technology and providing an effective, productive way to develop the latest, most compelling Web
 
* Metro is a high-performance, extensible, easy-to-use web service stack. It is a one-stop shop for all your web service needs, from the simplest hello world web service to reliable, secured, and transacted web service that involves .NET services. The Metro web service stack is a part of the GlassFish community, but it can be also used outside GlassFish. (a direct competitor to Apache AXIS?)

* The objective of Community Equity is to build a dynamic social value system by calculating the contribution, participation, skills, and reputation equity a person can gain by actively engaging in social networks and online communities. It has been implemented as part of Sun\2019s internal social networking and community framework called SunSpace. Since its internal launch, in July 2008, SunSpace has grown to more than 23,000 users. Sun is open-sourcing Community Equity in early 2009.

* Project Kenai A repository of the APIs for the Sun Cloud service. take advantage of Project Kenai itself as an enabler for growing out their code base; and discover how to connect, communicate, and collaborate online with like-minded passionate developers.

* … Built around a vibrant and rapidly growing community, Project Darkstar is an open-source technology that provides any developer with a fault-tolerant, secure and scalable server platform fit to deploy most games, from casual/social games to virtual worlds.

* Google Wave – online collaboration; development on the cloud (the next step beyond Google Docs/Talk/Mail?/….)

and I do certainly not pretend to have listed here all the names that I suddenly ‘discovered’ or that are ‘new(s)’  at J1; it is a fairly haphazardly composed list of first eye catchers. Over the next few days, I will discover which of these are worth checking out, and which other projects and products I have completely overlooked.

 

Free session: Report from Java One 2009, Tuesday 16th June, Nieuwegein (The Netherlands)

Wouter and I will be sharing our experiences at JavaOne, illustrated with some demos of the most interesting technologies we encounter. Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend, on June 16h in Nieuwegein, starting at 5.30 PM with dinner.

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About Author

Lucas Jellema, active in IT (and with Oracle) since 1994. Oracle ACE Director for Fusion Middleware. Consultant, trainer and instructor on diverse areas including Oracle Database (SQL & PLSQL), Service Oriented Architecture, BPM, ADF, Java in various shapes and forms and many other things. Author of the Oracle Press book: Oracle SOA Suite 11g Handbook. Frequent presenter on conferences such as JavaOne, Oracle OpenWorld, ODTUG Kaleidoscope, Devoxx and OBUG. Presenter for Oracle University Celebrity specials.

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