Along with everybody else in the Java Community, SAP has been looking forward to this year’s Java One event, taking place right now at the Moscone conference center in San Francisco. We were particularly excited about plans to reinvigorate the Java language with topics that are important to many in the Java Community, such as closures and a more modular Java platform.
At his keynote yesterday, Thomas Kurian showed a demo how the Java virtual machine will support customers who are managing Java applications with enterprise-class requirements. This demo showed how IT staff can do better failure analysis or find performance issues in Java applications. The fact that Thomas specifically pointed out that the Java VM will in the future better support dynamic languages is really important. Java is a great language, but domain-specific languages are often more productive to address certain application areas. For example, SAP Streamwork, is built in the Ruby language on top of the JRuby runtime.
We welcome these investments in the Java platform, as they will help the entire Java community to support their customers better. However, there were a couple of things that were less welcome, in light of Oracle’s promise to build their solutions on open standards that allow others to innovate.
There are many great innovations in the Java Community. In his keynote, Thomas however made a reference to “proprietary 3rd party dependency-injection frameworks”. This made me pause. Did he mean the Spring Framework? Does a community-driven, widely used innovation such as Spring suddenly become irrelevant because Oracle does not include it into the Java platform? At another point in his speech, Thomas said that nobody will need another tool other than NetBeans for developing JavaFX applications. If NetBeans is Oracle’s choice of development tool, that is their prerogative. However, I did not hear the word “Eclipse” mentioned once in his keynote. Did I miss it? We hope that Oracle will stay committed to equally support Java developers using Eclipse.
The Java ecosystem needs open solutions. It is terrific that Oracle has reiterated its commitment for OpenJDK, but in the end, the ultimate goal is that Java must become an open standard. That way, independent implementations of the Java platform are possible, even in open source. For that to happen, the best way forward is for the JCP to become an open, independently managed organization.
Bloggers last year have criticized me for saying that Oracle needs to open up. I believe Oracle has every right to build solutions that are tightly integrated with Java, but through the support of open standards also needs to allow others to do so. Java is bigger than Sun and it is bigger than Oracle. We are all the future of Java!