Sun at JavaOne – the network is 'unstoppable'

Enterprise software was conspicuous by its absence during the keynote at JavaOne, but there were a flurry of announcements around open source, RIA and mobile development.

San Francisco – Under the aegis that "the network is an unstoppable social force," the annual JavaOne conference kicked off yesterday a flurry of open source, rich Internet application (RIA) and mobile announcements from Sun Microsystems Inc., but was short on news concerning enterprise development.

There is a sea change going on in the amount of technology you can hold in your hand.
Rich Green
Executive VP for SoftwareSun Microsystems Inc.

The Sun spin is that new markets, particularly mobile devices, represent a major enterprise opportunity, that Java needs to take a more universal view. Announcements on the first day included the release of the developer kit and code for open source Java, pending real-time Java tools, a new RIA scripting language called JavaFX Script and JavaFX mobile, a desktop style software platform for mobile devices.

Sun CEO and President Jonathan Schwartz said much of the current focus is to take Java's enterprise base out to a global market, noting that only a small portion of the world is willing to pay for software. He added that businesses and software vendor need to reach that larger market.

As Rich Green, Sun's executive vice president for software, put it, "It's time to reach the rest of the planet."

Speed, agility and simplicity seem to be the unifying threads of the keynote announcements. Green mentioned that numerous speed-oriented improvements would be coming for Java SE 6 in particular.

"We've heard people say 'We can do anything with Java, it just takes a really long time to do it,'" Green said.

A hefty amount of criticism has been leveled at the Java enterprise platform for it being too complicated and time consuming to mesh with nimble concepts like service-oriented architecture, yet Sun executives gave no indication that was a driver for the SE 6 speed focus or whether they envisioned SE supplanting the enterprise edition in some areas.

Much of the enthusiasm from the Sun was reserved for JavaFX Mobile, which Schwartz estimated would be making its way into consumer hands by early 2008. It will be able to run multiple concurrent applications as well as Java SE and ME code.

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"There is a sea change going on in the amount of technology you can hold in your hand," Green said.

Schwartz envisioned it as "the software platform for the most ubiquitous device to reach the Internet."

Here's the full list of announcements made during the keynote:

  • A partnership with mobile telecom provider Ericsson to extend the reach of the GlassFish application server with mobile connectivity.
  • Real Time Java, no specifics were given on tools or release dates, but JSR-1 is supposedly near ready for enterprise use. Anna Ewing, CIO of Nasdaq, said her company would be looking to implement as soon as is possible.
  • The release of NetBeans 6.0, with dynamic scripting of JRuby 1.0 and JavaScript, a GUI builder and a modular design that allows users to plug in new languages.
  • The open source code release of Java along with the developer kit for it. The kit will be available through a GPLv2 license.
  • JavaFX Script, a RIA scripting language that builds on existing Java functionality.
  • JavaFX Mobile, a desktop style software platform for mobile devices.
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