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Special Report: State of the Java Art

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Taking Java Around the Table
Industry thought leaders in San Francisco for JavaOne deliberate on the current state of the language and platform, plus what's ahead.
by Terrence O'Donnell

JavaOne, May 18, 2006

audio iconDownload the podcast! (Each portion is approximately 20 minutes long.)
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3  | Part 4  | Part 5 

The 2006 Java Technology Roundtable, a special event hosted by Fawcette Technical Publications, Inc. during the JavaOne conference in San Francisco, featured some familiar faces and some new ones among a distinguished panel of industry experts and thought leaders. Simon Phipps, chief open source officer at Sun Microsystems, once again served as panel moderator, leading the panel in a discussion of trends and prognostications for Java. The panel represented a broad cross section of experts from some of today's leading innovator organizations.

2006 Java Technology Roundtable (click on the image for details)

In addition to Phipps, the panel included Bob Blainey, distinguished engineer, IBM; Jon Bostrom, chief Java architect, Nokia; Tim Bray, director of Web technologies, Sun Microsystems; Larry Cable, chief architect of the WebLogic Platform, BEA; Dave Chappell, vice president and chief technology evangelist, Sonic Software; Frank Cohen, director of solutions engineering, RainingData; Ted Farrell, chief architect and vice president of tools and middleware, Oracle; Rob Gingell, CTO and executive vice president of products, Cassatt Corp.; Mike Milinkovich, executive director, Eclipse Foundation; Sam Pullara, chief architect, Borland Software; and Ari Zilka, founder and CEO, Terracotta.

The two-hour discussion covered several areas including multiple languages that are getting a lot of traction in certain markets, the complexity of heterogeneous environments, the issue of making Java "free" and "open" and the confusion that those terms can engender, and other higher-level topics around enterprise architecture, abstraction, and standards. Of course, the traditional roundtable offering of predictions for the coming year capped the event.

Here are some highlights from the first hour of the conversation. Look for expanded coverage coming soon on FTPOnline and in an upcoming issue of Java Pro magazine.

Simon Phipps, moderator: "There's a certain sense that we're about to see a second wave of Java."
Ari Zilka, Terracotta: "At the end of the day, the JVM can do amazing things—absolutely amazing things."

Phipps' first question to the group made reference to the revelation about open source Java that was part of JavaOne's opening keynote, where Jonathan Schwartz, president and CEO at Sun, and Rich Green, executive vice president of Sun software, together declared that it wasn't a question of whether, it was a question of how to do it. Phipps said that from discussions with JavaOne attendees he felt "there's a certain sense that we're about to see a second wave of Java." Citing the ease of development for Java EE that will create a resurgence of interest, the open sourcing of the code in the future that will open up new markets, and the availability on Linux that is going to "open up a torrent of new possibilities," Phipps asked the panel, "what do you think is the main highlight of the Java platform in the preceding year? What's the big deal that's starting the second wave, or is there not a second wave?"


"I absolutely believe that Java will see a large resurgence," Borland's Pullara said, tackling the question first. "I started at Gauntlet Systems last year, and we built almost entirely on open source software 90 projects for the dependencies when we got acquired." Pullara said they bonded to all the new Java EE 5 APIs: "...everything from JPA (EJB 3 at the time), JAX-WS, JAXB... The thing about these new technologies on the Java platform is that a lot were driven by what was perceived as a threat. Ruby on Rails, things like that, are perceived threats because of the mind share they garner, not necessarily market share. And the Java community has shown again and again that it can turn on a dime and adopt the good things that you see in other products and apply them very quickly and get them adopted in the marketplace. I think Java EE 5 will be adopted two or three times faster than the previous enterprise specs because of the ease of development."

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