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Gosling’s Gone – What’s Next for Java?

Gosling’s Gone – What’s Next for Java?

May 06, 2010 0 Comments

Since Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems, there has been much speculation over what will happen to the Java platform. Just a few weeks ago, the creator of Java, James Gosling, announced his departure from the company, leading to another surge of rumors about the future of Java and the Community Process.  After all the work Sun did to build credibility among the developer community and increase adoption of the platform, will Oracle’s acquisition tear it all down?

Without a doubt, Oracle considers Java a huge asset, unlocking a developer community they’ve never reached before. They’re not handling the transition lightly, either. Here are a few predictions.

  • Look for a greater Java presence in the Oracle stack, specifically within the Oracle 11 database. Oracle’s been touting adaptability to heterogeneous environments, and Java will pay a critical part in this process.
  • Oracle will make some major moves in the coming months pertaining to offerings in the cloud. One rumor is that Oracle will develop an alternative to Google Docs, offering a competitive open office suite to Microsoft Office.
  • I tend to agree with Josh Bloch’s opinion from his recent interview on the future of Java, particularly the point about how Oracle can better support Java and the Community Process where Sun could not. A “changing of the guard” could end the Sun/Apache licensing stalemate that’s seriously put a damper on innovation within the platform.

One big milestone to look forward to is the rebirth of JavaOne. After JavaOne 2009, many mourned the loss of the developer conference without Oracle ever formally pulling the plug. This year’s event promises to bring together the same strong community of developers that have gathered in the past, but many wonder if the event will ever be the same.

Oracle’s main challenge will be to make sure that the Java platform does not fragment. In a recent report, IDC analysts refer to a "pattern of complexity resulting from layering and forking the Java platform code" into the various editions, which has "simultaneously allowed it to adapt into new territories… while at the same time undermining its elegance and practicality by growing intolerably complex." Ensuring that such complexities are worked out is key to keeping Java fans on board and preventing a migration to competing platforms, such as .NET. Oracle will likely pay more attention to scripting languages than ever before.

As the dust settles, what are your thoughts on what’s next for Java?

Jonathan Bruce

View all posts from Jonathan Bruce on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.

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