JavaOne 2009 - Day 1: The Beginning

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JavaOne 2009 - Day 1: The Beginning

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With an estimated 15,000 in attendance, JavaOne 2009 started today. Sun likes to begin the first General Session with interesting news and this one did not disappoint. Chris Melissinos, Sun's Chief Evangelist and Chef Gaming Officer, was our host and got things rolling with some statistics (there's over 300 technical sessions this week, and attendees from 85 countries) and a look at a new community building tool called DarkChat (built on top of Sun's Darkstar gaming platform) which allows people to see what's going on in other parts of the conference and keep in touch with their friends or people they just find interesting; sort of like following someone on Twitter.

Jonathan Schwartz gave us some nice gifts; he announced the release of the Java 7 SDK, and the Java JEE 6 SDK then brought up several guests to tell us about how they use Java and a few to demonstrate some amazing things:
  • James Barresse, VP of Architecture, Platforms and Systems with eBay, explained that eBay uses Java pretty much everywhere and that they depend on Java's speed, reliability and scalability to handle 60 billion transactions a day with peak loads of 1.6 million transactions a second.
  • Alan Brunner, Senior VP for the Blackberry Platform, was up next and Jonathan congratulated him on RIM's being the #1 smart phone - which works out well for us, because it also happens to run Java. Alan demonstrated a third-party application that works with the built in applications to build a contact list for you by grabbing all the email addresses from emails sent to you then "scraping" information from the web to find things like phone numbers, interests, etc., and makes that available to you so that you can call someone who's emailed you but never actually gave you their number. It seems useful, if a bit unsettling to anyone who wasn't aware how much of their personal life is available on the web.
  • Dan Eklund, Executive VP of Advanced Technologies at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, talked about some of the features available on Blu-ray that make it easy for people watching movies to interact.
  • Lowell McAdam, President and CEO of Verizon, was next and the big news there is that there is now a partnership between Sun and Verizon and Verizon's push to make it easier for developers to use information like presence (is someone online), location, etc, in our applications. On July 27th Verizon is holding an Open Development for Applications event - see their website for details.
  • Diane Bryant, Executive VP at Intel, spoke about their Atom and Xeon processors and the speed improvements they've made in the last year. She introduced Paul Ciciora, Department Head at the Chicago Board Options Exchange, where Java running on Intel boxes is handling 2.5 billion transactions a day with a peak of up to 300,000 transactions per second.
  • One of the coolest things was a demo by Ronan McBrien, JavaFX TV architect, who demonstrated JavaFX applications running on top of HDTV video. It was beautiful to see and I recommend pulling up the videos Sun will make available just for that.
  • Nandini Ramani, Director for JavaFX, demonstrated one of the new tools for JavaFX designed to make it easy for non-developers (and developers who think they can't create a decent UI) to create compelling applications. One of the most interesting features of the tool is that while building the User Interface, you can open multiple windows and see what it will look like on different devices as you build it. This is another Sun video you should check out.

Despite all the innovations and improvements in tools, Sun realized that there's one more thing they really needed to do to assist Java developers in getting their creations out there. In response, they've announced the Java App store (store.java.com) which gives Java developers a way to sell they're applications to anyone on the web. The store is still in beta and they're looking for suggestions on how to handle collecting payments so if you're interested, I recommend getting involved now.

One of the applications that will be available at the store, if it isn't already, is RuneScape; a free online game that is amazingly popular even though it's growth has been via word of mouth. RuneScape was also awarded a Duke's Choice Award.

Scott McNealy was up next and he set the stage by running a short video on the "Gospel of Java", which was a fun look at how Sun and Java got started, and bringing up James Gosling for the traditional T-Shirt Toss. Scott and James brought up Randy Bryant of the School of Computer Science and gave them a Duke's Choice Award for the work they've done in making programming and now Java (through Alice 3) to children.

The session ended with a surprise guest: Larry Ellison got on stage with Scott McNealy and talked about the kind of things that might happen if Oracle did buy Sun. Oracle is very committed to Java; aside from their database, all their applications are written in Java and all their next generation business applications are written in Java as well.
Larry did say that he wanted to see more use of JavaFX, specifically mentioning the idea of Open Office using JavaFX for its user interface and his hope that JavaFX will replace the need for AJAX. He also mentioned that it would be interesting to see Android based phones and netbooks from Sun running Java and JavaFX. This was done in an offhand manner so maybe it was intended as a trial balloon to gauge general interest. Yes, this is another video you definitely should watch.

If the rest of the conference follows suit, we're in for some Very Interesting times.

Buckle up folks, the ride's just begun.

Burk Hufnagel reporting for DZone

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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