The opening keynote presentation for JavaOne, the world’s largest gathering of software developers who use the Java language, celebrated the 20th anniversary of Java and its extraordinary growth during those two decades, while emphasizing upcoming additions to the Java language and ecosystem.
Oracle executives and representatives from other technology companies described the nature of Java’s unique success: 20 years after its release it remains No. 1 in popularity according to the TIOBE index and is in use by more than 10 million developers.
George Saab, Vice President of Software Development, Java Platform Group at Oracle, noted that in addition to Java’s broad usage, its success is attributable to a vibrant community of developers, Java user groups (JUGs), and contributors to the language via the Java Community Process (JCP). Statistics presented during the keynote revealed 104 per cent growth in JUGs since 2010 and a parallel rise of participation in the development of Java via contributions to the open-source reference implementation and via the JCP.
Driving its enduring appeal is Java’s ability to run in a wide variety of contexts: Java EE in the enterprise for large business applications; Java SE for desktop use; and Java ME, which is embedded in devices such as printers, copiers and consumer technology.
Java ME’s biggest uptake is in devices that make up the Internet of Things (IoT). Due to Java’s already large presence in IoT devices, it is safe to expect that billions of devices will run Java.
Java runs in the cloud. Shaun Smith, Senior Principal Product Manager at Oracle, pointed out two Oracle cloud services of special interest to developers: Java SE Cloud Service and the Oracle Developer Cloud Service. The latter facilitates the creation of an automated DevOps suite by integrating tools for source-code management, continuous integration, defect tracking, packaging, and deployment.
The keynote emphasized Oracle plans to develop new features to appear in Java 9 in 2016, as well as features to appear in later releases.
Mark Reinhold, Chief Architect of the Java Platform Group at Oracle, provided a demonstration of the need for the biggest innovation in Java 9—modularity. Among its primary benefits will be the ability to more easily manage large-scale software that depends on many components and libraries.
Brian Goetz, Java Language Architect at Oracle, described key innovations slated for releases after Java 9: Project Valhalla, which will provide value types—a way of storing variables in memory that uses less memory and provides quicker access; and Project Panama, which facilitates interaction between Java programs and those written in native languages, such as C and C++.
The presentation included a videotaped talk from Scott McNealy, former CEO of Sun Microsystems, the company where Java was originally developed. McNealy recounted the origins of Java as a programming platform originally intended for developing consumer technology.
He said the broad community involvement drove the language’s popularity to the dominant position it enjoys today. McNealy referred to the creation of the JCP as the “the greatest invention ever.”