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JavaOne 2008 Opening Keynote

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JavaOne 2008 Opening Keynote

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The main theme of years conference is “Java + You” and it looks like that could be a big advertising play for Java for the next little while. What does it mean? Well, it is basically a way to highlight the ubiquity of Java technology because it is now running in billions of devices, computers, sensors and more around the world. There was a big push of JavaFX, a technology that Sun wants to become the way people choose to build and deliver Rich Internet Applications (RIA’s).

Rich Green, EVP of Software for Sun, demonstrated a number of products and features that in his words ‘are going to enable developers and businesses provide a richer more emotive user experience to everyone’. He used a term that will no doubt gain some more airtime in the next year when referring to all the devices that we use, calling them the “screens of our lives”.

They showed a pretty cool demo of something called the ‘video ball’ (a spinning ball made up of playing HD movies, including sound and if you clicked one the rest would fly off the screen and the sound faded in to the selected movie) lots of eye-candy and bling here and I thought it looked pretty cool.

Sun's vision for Java and JavaFX is that they will be the technologies which enable us to create applications, services and content to be displayed on the ‘screens of peoples lives’, deployed to and delivered by the Sun cloud (project Hydrazine) and all nicely running inside the JVM on a device of your choosing. Now, that is all well and good providing you drink the Sun Kool-ade. Of course you could quite happily create your applications using Groovy / Grails, sprinkle in some AJAX , publish it to the cloud that Contegix is currently working on and still have a kick-ass user experience that moves your users to tears – you pay your money and take your choice.

JavaFX is available now through an early adopters kit and will be released to the wild in the Java 6 update 10 release this July. The other big push so far has been Glassfish v3, this version features a new kernel whose footprint is just 93kb and start-up time is about a second. Of course that’s just the kernel, you are supposed to plug in the modules you need to run your code such as an EJB container. A demo would show a Sun techie changing code and compiling it then running it all without a redeploy or restart of the server. I’m sure at that point I heard screaming coming from IT operations people outside room.

Project Insight was mentioned too, this is something that will get pushed with JavaFX and I can see it being very useful for small outfits looking to get the kind of metrics and instrumented data you would get from somebody like Webtrends but without the cost. The reason for that is because Java will provide you a means to send usage data and all kind of metrics directly back to a destination of your choice, cutting out the middle man. On a number of occasions Green said they are really trying to find ways to help developers monetize their software and so measuring everything about it is the first step down that road.

Finally for this session, Neil Young was brought out to tell everybody how happy he is with the Blu-Ray + Java combination. According to Young, he’s been waiting ever since the DVD format was introduced to release his entire back-catalog of music and all the material that comes with it, like photos, notes and videos. Years ago he envisioned an interactive user experience where the user would play some music while navigating around the rest of the content on the disc and was so unhappy that it couldn’t be done with DVD that he decided to wait until a format came along that could do what he wanted. He was pretty brutal in his assessment of CD audio quality too and enthused about the fact that Blue-Ray brings 24/192 sound resolution to the table for everyone.

The session wrapped up after that and the ten thousand or so people gathered in the halls made their way out to the dozens of other halls and rooms in the center to start getting down to a greater level of detail in technical sessions, hands-on labs and birds-of-a-feather sessions that run for the next four days.


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