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Special Report: State of the Java Art

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Wrapping the Java Rap
Following tradition, panelists conclude the 2006 Java Technology Roundtable with prognostications for Java's short-term future
Moderated by Simon Phipps

June 9, 2006

Rob Gingell, Cassatt Corporation: "Jini won't be rediscovered, but its grandchild will be discovered and people will finally catch up."

Tradition is something we all look forward to in many social situations. The closing portion of Java Technology Roundtables during JavaOne conferences traditionally feature predictions for the Java community and the industry for the coming year. Whether the predictions are, well, predictable or a stretch, they are always insightful, interesting, entertaining, and in some cases provocative or controversial. The 2006 Java Technology Roundtable's technical-savvy dozen didn't disappoint when they provided their perspectives on what we can expect for Java in looking ahead toward the next JavaOne gathering in 2007 and beyond.

Java Visions
Simon Phipps: The end is indeed nigh. The time has come to get predictions. A wise industry visionary once said that "all technologies eventually reinvent Jini," so I would be fascinated to hear from each of you what your prediction is for the thing that we will be looking back to as the key step of 2006, 2007 when we'll meet here next year. Tell me, what's the big innovation in the industry?

Mike Milinkovich: Can I go first because mine's so obvious I'm afraid somebody else will say it?

Phipps: All right, then, Mike.

Ted Farrell: Here we go, "Eclipse will be the…"


Milinkovich: No, sorry to disappoint you. Sun will finally open source Java, in the next year, since we're going in the fearless predictions game…

Phipps: Do you have a prediction that's a little less safe?

Milinkovich: Like I said, it's so obvious I wanted to go first. What can I say? Now, the interesting thing is, and this is where the prediction gets fun, is how they go about doing that and exactly the licensing terms and the governance model that's applied to it is going to be the real news. I think we're all past the "if" and now we're into the "how" and the "when," and the "how" is actually going to be the really interesting news. It's going to have really important implications for how it gets embraced by the Linux community and the growth that it gets to see in places like that.

Farrell: Was that a prediction?

Frank Cohen: But your not prognosticating what that is, what that license will be.

Farrell: Take a chance, man.

Milinkovich: Take a chance?

Cohen: It's not the Apache license, right?

Phipps: Do tell me because I think this is going to occupy a lot of my time in the next year, so I'd love to know what you're predicting.

Milinkovich: Okay, Mike's fearless prediction: you're going to use CDDL, and you're going to use an OpenOffice, all-Sun governance model, and people will hate you for it. [laughter]

Phipps: Thank you for that proposal.

Milinkovich: Well, you asked.

Phipps: Next, that is, we're going to go in a random order here. Who would like to go next? Ted.

Farrell: I think the browser space is going to evolve into something completely different. Ajax is the hot thing this year. With all of the focusing on that, Ajax sort of came about as a solution to using existing technologies. I think with Microsoft's next generation and Adobe and all the work going into it, I think you're going to see more of utilities and features from the desktop being blended in and the browser sort of going away, and having much more capabilities in the Web-distributed apps.

Phipps: Go next, Larry.

Larry Cable: I'll go next. Well, I don't care if Java is any more open than it is today. It's open enough for me. I don't see a great deal of value in opening it up any further. I don't think that's going to be particularly earth shattering from where I'm sitting. I totally agree, I think Ajax is going to grow in importance, and I think we're going to have some work there to figure out how that gels with Web services on the server side. I think Java EE 5 and EJB 3 are going to really inject a lot more interest in the EE platform and revitalize that, and I absolutely believe that scripting languages on the Java platform, particularly in the EE environment, is really going to capture a whole new breed and class of developer and application on that platform.

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