Oracle execs cite modularity in Java's future

At EclipseCon, Oracle again emphasizes its commitment to development platform following Sun acquisition

As Oracle has been prone to do for the past nine months, company officials Tuesday pledged a strong commitment to Java technology. They even offered glimpses of a modular future for the platform.

Oracle vice president Jeet Kaul, who is a former Sun Java official, and Oracle senior vice president Steve Harris offered perspectives on Java and road maps on technologies, including the GlassFish application server that serves as a reference implementation for Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 6. The two officials spoke at the at the EclipseCon 2010 conference in Santa Clara, Calif.

[ Also at EclipseCon Monday, Red Hat bolstered SOA and application development technologies. | Is it too late for JavaFX to succeed in a crowded marketplace? See InfoWorld's report. ]

Oracle became proprietor of Sun Microsystems Java technologies when its acquisition of Sun, announced last April, closed in January. The company has been offering reassurances to Java developers about the future of Java at different intervals since the JavaOne conference in San Francisco last June.

"[Java is] incredibly important to our business," Harris said. Priorities for Java at Oracle include adding to the developer base, boosting adoption, increasing competitiveness, and adapting to change, according Oracle.

"The key part of the Java story is the platform. That's the key part of its success," Kaul said, noting Java features a language as well. While Oracle has been an Eclipse Foundation participant for years, Sun always shunned the foundation. Now, former Sun officials can embrace Eclipse too.

The upcoming Java Development Kit (JDK) 7 will feature modularity, thus offering benefits in performance, scalability, and packaging, Kaul said. Modularity is featured as part of the Java Specification Request (JSR) 294 support in JDK 7. JSRs are proposals within the Java Community Process for amending Java. Other capabilities in JDK 7 are derived from JSR 203, which offers I/O APIs, and JSR 292, supporting dynamically typed languages on the Java platform. Java EE 6 also has featured modularity.

Following his presentation, Kaul offered assurances that there will be a Java EE 7 released at some point. "I'm sure there is going to be," said Kaul. Beyond Java EE 6, modularity will be key, according to the Oracle officials.

OSGi, meanwhile, plays an important part of the Java ecosystem and Java platform overall, Harris said.

GlassFish is to be upgraded later this year with version 3.1, featuring clustering, state replication, and coherence. Virtualization will be featured in an update to GlassFish planned for the first half of next year.

Kaul also lauded the JavaFX platform for providing rich user interfaces based on Java.

A Java developer attending EclipseCon felt reassured by Oracle.

"I think I was nervous about Sun was going to go with -- or rather where Oracle was going to go -- after they acquired Sun," said developer Alan Hantke, of Intuit. "I think they're going to continue the legacy of a fine product."

Also at EclipseCon this week, Microsoft release updates to Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse, offering bug fixes and compatibility with version 1.1 of the Windows Azure SDK. Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse is a plug-in for PHP developers to write and deploy applications to the Azure cloud platform.

Microsoft also said it would release an updated version of Eclipse Tools for Silverlight (eclipse4SL) this spring. Eclipse Tools for Sliverlight enables developers to use the Eclipse IDE to build applications running on the Microsoft Silverlight runtime.

Red Hat at the conference announced general availability of JBoss Enterprise Web Platform 5.0, providing a Java application platform leveraging the Java EE Web Profile and offering a lightweight, enterprise version of the JBoss Application Server.

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