Wide Awake Developers

JavaOne: After the Revolution

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What happens to the revolutionaries, once they’ve won?

It’s been about ten years since I last made the pilgramage to JavaOne, back when Java was still being called an  "emerging technology".

Many things have changed since then. Java is now so mainstream that the early adopters are getting itchy feet and looking hard for the next big thing. (The current favorite is some flavor of dynamic language running on the JVM: Groovy, Scala, JRuby, Jython, etc.) Java, the language, has found a home inside large enterprises and their attendant consultancies and commoditized outsourcers.

We just heard Sun say that, Java SE is on 91% of all PCs and laptops, 85% of mobile phones, and 100% of all Blu-Ray players. It’s safe to say that the revolution is over. We won.

A couple of things haven’t changed about JavaOne in the last ten years.

The crowds in Moscone are still completely absurd. There aren’t lines, so much as there are tides. People ebb and flow like a non-Newtonian fluid

Sun still keeps a tight reign on the Message. (This control is one of the major tensions between Sun and the broader Java community.) This year, Sun’s focus is clearly on JavaFX. The leading keynote talked repeatedly about "all the screens of your life" and said that the JavaFX runtime will be the access layer to reach your content from any device anywhere. We also heard about JavaFX’s animation, 3D, audio, and video capabilities.

Glassfish got a brief mention. Version 3 is supposed to have a new kernel that slims down to 98KB is its minimal deployment. Add-on modules provide HTTP service, SIP service, and so on. Rich Green said hat Glassfish will scale up to the data center and down to set top boxes.

Perhaps it’s just my perspective, since I’m mostly a server-side developer, but I had the oddest sense of deja-vu. Instead of Rich Green in 2008, I felt the strange sense that I was listening to Scott McNealy in 1998. Same message: Java from the handset to the data center. Set top boxes. Headspace for audio. (Anyone else remember Thomas Dolby at the keynote?  This year we got Neil Young.)

So, here we are, at the 13th JavaOne, and Sun is still trying to get developers to see Java as more than a server-side platform. 

Well, the more things change, the more they stay the same, I suppose.