Does Java Development Need New Leadership?

Java/J2EE devs and vendors are still reeling from this summer's JavaOne mesage from Sun, which virtually ignored the core enterrprise developer. Rather than help the core F1000 community identify new enterprise developer opportunities, Sun execs encouraged devs to pursue gaming, cellphones, devices and even auto dashboards. See why Java/J2EE devs may need to count on others -- such as Borland, IBM, SAP, Oracle, Nokia and even newcomer Orange -- for Java's next enterprise vision.

Tags: Java, Developers, Enterprise, Sun, Applications, Schwartz, Consumer,

Many longtime Java/J2EE enterprise developers attending this year's JavaOne remain confused -- and upset -- over Sun's apparent disconnect between Sun's intense focus on "consumer-driven" Java, and the huge hunger by coporate Java/J2EE devs for more in-depth product support, roadmaps and vision for Java/J2EE in the enterprise.

In the wake of the Sun dis-connect, Rick Ross, founder of, made this post:

"It's difficult to believe they [Sun execs] are adequately in touch with what moves and inspires developers…Appealing primarily to our greed, or speaking to reporters and Wall Street analysts instead of to us, is the wrong way to handle a JavaOne keynote. At one point I thought I might lose it if I heard another word about ringtones and 12-year old girls. Thank goodness there's a lot more to Sun than just those two guys."

Sun's Eye on 17 billion New "Non-PC Clients"
Despite the critcism, Sun COO's Jonathan Schwartz' crystal ball insists that Java's future upside will come from a host of "new clients" on the consumer side. The network is growing, and traditional desktop computers are only a small percentage," Schwartz told the Monday keynote session.

While there are 1 billion network-attached PCs and servers, Schwartz said that analysts estimate there are 17 billion devices on the Net by the end of this year. Cellphones, automobiles, medical devices, set-top boxes and even toys (remote-controllable from a cellphone) are all set to set the stage for an explosion in Java opportunities.

we asked Schwartz: What is the JavaOne message Sun wants to bring to the longtime enterprise Java/J2EE developer? What do cellphones and dashboards have to do with the enterprise J2EE developer who came to JavaOne at his employers expense?

Schwartz responded: "The most important to thing to an enterprise is [Java] portability. They (customers) like nothing better than to have the power to make vendors beat each other up over price and features, and we're still committed to that [portability]."

Pressed by another reporter about Sun's enterprise Java intentions: Schwartz went on to explain Sun's position this way: "The client is back, and it is more than the desktop," he said. "And, the more [Java-powered] networked-connected devices there are, the better for Sun and the Java [developer and vendor] community."

And, in fairness, while Schwartz did gave some passing attention to improvements in J2EE and J2SE, it was largely left to other Java vendors -- Borland, IBM, Nokia, Oracle, and even newcomer Orange -- to talk head-on to Java enterprise devs.

Outlining Java's Consumer Opportunities
Schwartz encouraged Java developers in attendance, and watching on the Internet, to think hard about how consumer markets could be a boon to their careers, as well as their bank accounts. He noted there are 350 million Java-enabled cellphone handsets in the market today, and just one Java applications segment - mobile games - is proving a very rich vein. "The mobile game market for Java is $3 billion a year," Schwartz said, adding that it's just going to get bigger.

To illustrate the promise for Java developers in mobile games, he shared the math: "It take one [developer house] $250,000 to develop a game in Java and bring that to market," Schwartz said. And, the ROI on that is almost immediate, he said, confiding that the game-maker can recoup their costs within 3 days after the begin making the game available for download.

Beyond cellphone/game development, Schwartz urged them to look in other consumer areas. Among them: medical devices for remote monitoring and Java-driven display applications for the auto industry. Schwartz and an exec from Siemens demonstrated a Java-based console (with navigation) that will be installed in select BMW models by year end.

Schwartz underscored that Sun sees growth of Java in the consumer automotive sector by telling the JavaOne crowd that Sun is considering adding an online automotive apps community at

Meanwhile, there is Java/J2EE Enterprise News
For all the focus Sun spent on busting out Java's prospective marketers, there were a few notable announcements and releases for the Java enterprise developer. Some even came from Sun. Here's a quick tour of the most notable enterprise Java/J2EE news:

Tiger (J2SE 5.0) Uncaged: Sun released beta 2.0 of the SDK for J2SE 5.0 (Project Tiger). Sporting 100 new features, J2SE 5.0 focuses on improved productivity, enumerated types, use of metadata, autoboxing and generics. J2SE 5.0 also sports a new monitoring and management API that makes it easier to check on the health on JVMs, or for an application to perform self-monitoring. It is available at

Commercial Modeling from Sun: Sun announced the commercial release of Sun Java Studio Creator, which brings visual drag-and-drop features to common Java coding tasks. Key features include: data-aware user interface components that will automatically connect to data sources dragged onto them; a simple event-driven coding model to help developers focus more on business logic of a Java applications; ability to visually create J2EE 1.3 technology compatible with web applications; and intuitive page navigation design to allow visual connection creation between web pages.

IBM Incubating Integration Tools
In its first appearance at JavaOne in two years, IBM brought a core message, along with tools, signaling that "integration" between java and non-Java platforms will be a key to enterprise Java/J2EE problem-solving in the coming years.

"Integration is one of IT's biggest pain points," Kathy Mandelstein, program director for IBM Developer Relations, told IDN. "So, we're looking to help developers take an out-of-box approach to building applications that offer new approaches to solving new problems."

One of IBM's key offerings in this sector previewed during JavaOne is Development Tool for Java-COM Bridge, which is an Eclipse-based tool for developing and enabling tight communication between Java- and COM-based applications. An application running on the Microsoft Windows systems is typically constructed of a set of interconnecting components entirely based on Microsoft Component Object Model (COM) technology. The Rational Java-COM Bridge development tool enables the integration of both COM- and Java-based components in one application and allows the two kinds of components to communicate bi-directionally through Java Native Interface technology.

"Today, there is no simple way for a Java component to talk to a COM based component," Mandelstein said. "There are thousands of [enterprise] Java developers out there today that have a real--life problem getting Java and COM components to communicate," she added. "We use bridges that enable tight bi-directional between Java and COM components."

Other IBM Java/J2EE offerings included:

* Method Scheduler for Java (MS4J) -- which allows developers to execute methods on Java objects asynchronously and repeatedly to keep the data cache fresh and reduce response times and enhance the stability of a Website. (MS4J has been powering IBM's intranet portal,, since 2001.)

* Asynchronous IO for Java (AJava) -- designed to help Java servers manage high volume distribution and enables input/output to be performed on sockets and files asynchronously. Java server applications need to be able to scale to tens of thousands of client connections (referred to as the "C10K" problem). AJava ensures that a Java server's application threads can hand-off I/O operations to underlying subsystems and while continuing to process other requests.

* Application Privacy Monitoring for JDBC (APM4JDBC) --- helps Java devs enforce web services policies. Using a Java/SQL library, APM4JDBC works with IBM's Tivoli Privacy Manager. APM4JDBC provides privacy monitoring functions for J2EE applications running on a WebSphere application server and connected to IBM DB2 using JDBC.

Nokia's Dual Mobile Developer Push
For its part, Nokia was interested in technologies that could attract both consumer and enterprise Java developers. Nokia CTO Pertti Korhonen, said that he was hopeful that vendors would agree on a unified standard for a unified management environment for Java-equipped mobile devices. This proposal, codified in Java Specification Request (JSR) 232 before the Java Community Process, is led by Nokia and Motorola and supported by Vodafone, NTT DoCoMo, PalmSource, and IBM.

Nokia execs say that JSR 232 would enable more unified management of Java-based downloads and upgrades, which in turn would help grow the market for both consumer and enterprise uses by making it simpler for backend mobile carriers to safeguard their infrastructure from bad-behaving applications However, Nokia is also focusing directly on the enterprise mobile developer with work on a new mobile middleware technology expressly designed to run on the mobile client that should make it easier for developers to link data-capable handheld devices with backend business applications.

Compuware Blends Modeling, Teaming, Management Tools
Compuware unveiled its latest upgrade to OptimalJ, which brings together virtues of standards-based UML modeling with added support for team development. The integration of these features in OptimalJ 3.2 are aimed at keeping multi-team projects on the same page, without requirement them to all use the same tool. As an example, OptimalJ 3.2's added "model-merge" capabilities provide large enterprise development teams with a visual tool to resolve the conflicts that may arise through concurrent development efforts, as well as a customizable subsystem architecture that allows "sub-teams" to work on different parts of a larger development project using a variety of tools, and still aligning all source code assets through its CVS integration.

Borland Improves SOA Visibility for J2EE Devs
Borland Software released an upgrade to its Optimizeit ServerTrace J2EE performance management product line, adding features designed to help J2EE devs make the transition to build, deploy and support multi-node web applications and SOA projects. Optimizeit ServerTrace 3.0 enhancements improve performance management for J2EE-based web services apps; diagnostics for J2EE performance problems during pre-deployment testing; and a new production edition to allow operations teams to capture apps performance problems on-demand "As enterprise developers move to an SOA-type environment, QA is not just an issue of how fast does an application run," Lax Sakalkale, senior product line manager for development tools at Borland, told IDN.