Sun: Fresh Java, Communities for JavaOne in '07

The Java platform and communities have been for quite a ride the last 12 months: Updates for Java, support for Open Source dynamic scripting, growing mojo for AJAX and Web 2.0 apps -- and even Open Sourcing of Java. As we begin JavaOne 2007, IDN talks to Jean Elliott, Senior Director of Sun's Java Software Product Marketing, about the new face of Java and its communities.

Tags: Java, Platform, Developer, Open Source, Community, Support, Dynamic Languages,


The Java platform, and its communities, have been for quite a ride the last 12 months: Updates for Java, support for Open Source dynamic scripting, growing mojo for AJAX and Java-powered Web 2.0 apps -- and even the Open Sourcing of Java itself As we near JavaOne 2007, IDN talks to Jean Elliott, Senior Director of Sun's Java Software Product Marketing, about the new face of Java and its communities.

We discuss the First 100 days of Java SE 6, early user trends of Java SE 6 and dynamic scripting add-ons for Java, impacts of Open Source technologies and communities on Java, and Java's future. Let's get started.

Integration Developer News Interview with
Jean Elliott, Senior Director, Java Software Product Marketing,
Sun Microsystems


TOPIC: Java SE 6's First 100 Days
IDN: With Java SE 6, released in December, Sun billed better runtime performance and support for dynamic languages as among its key features. Now that Java SE 6 has been out for 100 days, what are you hearing from early adopters?

Elliott: Java applications run faster and are more responsive on Java SE 6, when compared to previous releases of the platform. Java applications look and feel more like the native applications, whether running on Windows, Linux or Solaris. In addition, Java applications are more reliable thanks to expanded monitoring, profiling and diagnostics facilities added to Java SE 6. And, Java SE 6 client libraries, core libraries, as well as our Hotspot VM all underwent a major overhaul to deliver these benefits, and to optimize the platform for newer operating systems, such as Windows Vista.
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Consumers, such as FareCompare and Cenqua, among those that we highlighted at the launch, continue to be impressed with the out-of-the box improvements they are obtaining simply by running their existing Java applications on this latest release.

Developers are equally impressed with the improvements designed to make development simpler, while also adding support for Web 2.0 technologies. Java SE 6 is the first release of the platform to offer standardized scripting language support, with Mozilla Rhino Javascript now included with Sun's distribution of the platform. Swing updates make building client user interfaces faster and easier - especially when coupled with Sun's NetBeans IDE. In addition, updated platform API's coupled with further NetBeans IDE enhancements also simplify developing and working with the latest web services, XML, database and security standards now supported by both Java SE 6 and the NetBeans IDE.

TOPIC: Early Java SE 6 Use Cases
IDN What types of dev projects are users finding best suited to Java SE 6?

Elliott: Java SE 6 is perfect for developers looking to take advantage of the Java 'write once, run anywhere' promise. Whether by offering the means to develop one application to run across many environments, or, if looking to leverage technology that will develop expertise which can be translated to different projects for many platforms, Java SE 6 provides many ways to maximize a developer's return on their R&D investment. Java SE 6 is a mature platform that brings with it a rich ecosystem of developer products and services, as well as a large developer community that can support them in building, deploying and managing their applications.

TOPIC: Java and Dynamic Languages
IDN: Given Java SE 6's interest in supporting "open" dynamic languages, how would you describe the impact of Spring, Seam, Hibernate and other Open Source cultures on the Java developer community?

Elliott: The success of open source cultures, and the growing use of their resulting technologies by businesses and governments, and in research, is changing perceptions and expectations of how technology can effectively evolve, be licensed and maintained. Java SE 6 was the first release of the platform to be implemented via an open development process.

Starting early in the development cycle of Java SE 6, we offered direct access to our weekly builds, in binary and source format, as we implemented the platform. For the first time, the Java community could see, test, comment on and even fix features as they were being developed. In addition to changing Sun's process for implementing the platform, open source cultures have fueled an evolution in Java SE licensing. Sun selected the GPL v2 license due to the license's capacity to fuel platform innovation and provide business flexibility while motivating a compatible evolution of the platform.

The new support for dynamic languages in Java SE 6 was a priority first and foremost due to the growing interest and experimentation with dynamic languages. This was provided both as a potential means to extend Java applications, and the platform, as well as a means to implement other platforms and dynamic languages via the Java Platform.

Java SE 6 also includes many other new features and enhancements to provide developers support for widely used 'non-open' technologies, such as .NET, Windows OS and IE7. The goal being to make the platform as useful to as many people as possible, providing support for the most widely used and desired technologies.

TOPIC: Java Lessons Taken from Open Source
IDN: As a director of Java developer platforms, are you or Sun overall taking any lessons from these Open Source project technologies or community models?

Elliott: Most definitely! One of the most important benefits of Sun's participation in open source projects that we don't sponsor - like the ones at Apache - is that we can learn from other successful projects and communities on how they operate. Things like community building, infrastructure tools, licensing, governance, contribution policies, all will be vital to the success of close communication with many community leaders from a number of organizations and projects, and are eager to learn best practices from others who have blazed the trail ahead of us.

TOPIC: Java Transparency
IDN: There has been a lot of discussion between Sun and its developer communities over making Java milestones more transparent. What can you share about Sun's plans for more Java transparency?

Elliott: As Sun's Java SE implementation evolves to an open source development model with OpenJDK, we expect most of the processes that have been crucial to the development of the JDK over the years to become much more visible. The default will be to make decisions in public, with input from the community. That having been said, we expect the governance model for OpenJDK to be geared toward insuring that the code base remains stable, high performance, robust and secure. Committers to the OpenJDK project will need to demonstrate their skill, enthusiasm and expertise before being granted commit rights, and will participate in the same kind of rigorous code reviews and careful planning processes that have been the hallmark of Sun's Java SE engineering efforts.

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Jean Elliott, in her post as Senior Director of Java Software Product Marketing for Sun Microsystems, manages the groups at Sun responsible for marketing Java Platform Standard Edition, Java Platform Enterprise Edition and Java Platform Micro Edition, and the emerging Real-Time and Embedded Java technology business. Prior to her current job, Jean held leadership roles for Java in Sun's product marketing, business planning and strategic analysis groups. Prior to joining Sun, Jean managed the Quality Assurance Group for Gensym Corp., a supplier of expert-system software for real-time monitoring, diagnosing, controlling and optimizing operational processes.



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