Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Questions Answered: First Day of 2009 JavaOne

I have previously blogged on questions about the effect of Oracle's acquisition of Sun on JavaOne. In that same blog posting, I also postulated that JavaOne might answer some of the questions and publicly wondered if this would be the last JavaOne. Accounts coming in from the first day of 2009 JavaOne attendees suggest that this is NOT the last JavaOne and begin to answer some of the questions about the future of Java.

Thanks to the prevalence of blogging, even those of us not fortunate enough to attend JavaOne can get a pretty good idea of the highlights of the conference by piecing together a composite of blog posts. In this post, I'll summarize some of the common themes covered in blogs today related to JavaOne announcements.

The Future of JavaFX

Because JavaFX has, up until now, seemed to be largely a Sun-centric concept and because Oracle has seemed to favor JavaServer Faces, it is natural to wonder about the future of JavaFX. JavaFX has been heavily promoted and emphasized at the last two JavaOne conferences, so it is perhaps not surprising that this was again heavily addressed today at JavaOne.

Several attendees have reported Larry Ellison, head of Oracle, addressing the future of JavaFX. In Ellison Pits Sun and Oracle Against Ajax and Google, Gavin Clarke writes that Ellison stated that JavaFX will be used to compete with Microsoft and Google. In the post JavaOne Tuesday Morning General Session, Alex Miller writes about "time for JavaFX pumping" and also mentions Ellison's interest in using JavaFX with OpenOffice and mobile devices.

The Future of NetBeans

Although NetBeans appears to not have been mentioned as prominently as JavaFX today, the previously mentioned article Ellison Pits Sun and Oracle Against Ajax and Google points out that Oracle has tended to favor its own JDeveloper IDE and the Eclipse IDE in the past over NetBeans. With NetBeans being the dominant IDE for JavaFX development, it means that Oracle has some work ahead of it.

It is difficult to know what this means exactly for NetBeans because there are still many possibilities. Oracle could take some of the best features of NetBeans, including its JavaFX support, and put them into JDeveloper and/or Eclipse. Another option would be to continue supporting NetBeans, though it is difficult to imagine Oracle wanting to support directly and indirectly three disparate Java IDEs. Finally, Oracle could move from JDeveloper and/or Eclipse to NetBeans, though I don't see this as very likely either.

The Future of Java

I have no doubt that Oracle will be a big supporter of Java. Long before purchasing Sun, Oracle has committed heavily to Java by dedicating several of its major products (Fusion, JDeveloper, OC4J) on Java, by maintaining a large set of Java online resources at Oracle Technology Network's (OTN) Java Developer Center, and by providing tuition-based and free training on Java-related products and technologies.

OTN Editor-in-Chief Justin Kestelyn cites an Ellison quote that reiterates my belief about Oracle's future treatment of Java: "(Oracle) has invested more than anybody else in Java technology in terms of dollars over the years, and we intend to invest -- and accelerate our investments -- going forward." In JavaOne General Session Live Update, Kirk Knoernschild quotes Ellison, "Aside from our database, all of our products are Java based."

Another natural question is how Oracle might treat Java differently now that it has a new role related to Java. Again quoting from Justin Kestelyn's blog post Larry Ellison on the Future of Java: "I don't expect a lot of changes, just expanded investment and a lot of enthusiasm coming from Oracle. ... Look at the past to see the future."

In JavaOne 2009 - Opening and General Session - First Glimpse of Oracle-Sun, Lucas Jellema records some of the same Ellison comments already covered here and adds another quote: "We will do more of the same, no large changes, more investment and enthousiasm coming in from Oracle." Jellema's own interpretation is that "the appearance of Larry Ellison in the general session seemed primarily targeted at assuaging the fear, uncertainty and doubt in the community." I wasn't there, but the many quotations seem to suggest this.

The Future of JavaOne

With Oracle already holding a huge conference in Oracle OpenWorld, there was reason to wonder if JavaOne had a future. According to Lucas Jellema's previously cited blog post, there will be future JavaOne conferences. Of course, I am sure everyone understands that there will be additional emphasis on Oracle products in future versions.

Other Blog Posts of Interest

There were several other blogs posts and articles that discussed this opening session. Tim Bray writes in JavaOne 2009 Notes I that Ellison's "cameo appearance was mostly a Java love-fest" and remarked on Ellison's "extended plug for JavaFX." Burk Hufnagel writes about the opening session and Ellison's comments on Oracle and Java/JavaFX in the DZone/JavaLobby post JavaOne 2009: Day 1: The Beginning.

David Herron's blog post JavaOne 2009 Opening Keynote talks about some of the exciting portions of the keynote, but also covers David's concerns about Sun's and Oracle's open and community treatment of the JDK and related products. He also points out some obstacles to using JavaFX with OpenOffice.


Larry Ellison does seem to have made an effort to assure Java stakeholders that they have nothing to fear. Although there is always the possibility that plans will change or that we're not being told what is actually being planned (perhaps for competitive reasons), I do think it is nice to hear some reassuring words about the future of Java under Oracle.

No comments: