COMMUNITY: Community Bulletin
Java EvolvesBy Justin Kestelyn
At JavaOne, Oracle details a roadmap for JDK 7, JDK 8, and beyond.
Conferences have many worthwhile purposes. For attendees, they offer the opportunity for immersion in content that ideally leads to better job performance, as well as the chance to meet peers and colleagues with similar interests. For the conference organizer, the ability to interact with end users face-to-face and to focus employees around a particular set of goals and messages can be very useful.
The JavaOne 2010 conference delivered all those things. And for Oracle Technology Network, it served another crucial purpose: to galvanize the Java community around the common goal of the progressive evolution of the Java platform and ecosystem.
Plan B: The Path Forward for Java
The most important Java-related news to emerge from JavaOne was Oracle’s unveiling of the proposed schedule and contents of Oracle’s commercial Java Development Kit 7 (JDK 7)—and by extension, JDK 8. Getting this schedule clarified and on track had been a major goal across the Java community.
As Mark Reinhold, chief architect in the Java Platform Group at Oracle, explained in a September 2010 (pre-JavaOne) blog post, “It’s been clear for some time that the most recent JDK 7 development schedule [the one originally proposed by Sun] is, to put it mildly, unrealistic.” Instead, Reinhold proposed a choice between a “Plan A” and “Plan B,” with Plan A being to adhere to the Sun vision of JDK 7 and thus a 2012 release and Plan B being “to take everything we have now, test and stabilize it, and ship that as JDK 7 [in 2011].” Reinhold also wrote that his team could then finish other features in a JDK 8 release that could ship “fairly soon thereafter,” presumably in 2012.
After gathering feedback on these options from the community—where there was a very clear preference for Plan B—that plan was formally anointed by Thomas Kurian, executive vice president of product development at Oracle, in his JavaOne keynote address as the plan of record for the JDK. With that issue settled, Oracle also announced that Java Specification Requests (JSRs) for JDK 7 and JDK 8 would be forthcoming in the Java Community Process; the status of these JSRs had also been a matter for speculation.
Java Champions, Activate!
Even when you’re armed with the right information, it’s still very important to know the “right” people to help make this information widely known. In the case of Java, those people are the Java Champions—a self-governed group of independent Java technology evangelists who preach the Java gospel around the globe—and the leaders of Java User Groups (JUGs) worldwide.
For the first time, Oracle Technology Network was able to help host those groups at JavaOne, superseding many months of virtual interaction with irreplaceable face time. Working with Oracle’s Java evangelist team, the Oracle Technology Network team helped bring those groups into the loop and get their feedback about the above developments (and many other things, including the JavaOne conference itself).
Java Champions and JUG leaders joined scores of Oracle ACEs, who made their annual pilgrimages to Oracle OpenWorld at various Oracle Technology Network–hosted events. It was fascinating to see the Java leaders and Oracle ACEs, who have a surprising amount in common, begin to get to know each other—and we look forward to seeing more of the same at future meetings.
A Clear Road Ahead
A stable, realistic roadmap is required for broad adoption of any technology. While Java may have lacked such a roadmap in recent years, times have changed. With community leaders on board, hopefully we’ll see that adoption not only continue at historic levels but even expand.
Here are my recommendations for getting more information on Java-related topics: