The Unexpected Newborn Adult
JavaOne is next week. Of course you know that.
The folks who do Java stuff out in the world have ranged from intrigued to fanatic about Jini and JavaSpaces, but those who set the schedule always seem to have something else to talk about. Somehow the Jini/JavaSpaces stuff is always "new". It's been "new" for over six years now. Last year it was part of the emerging technology track over five years after it emerged. This year it's apparently "unexpected". I kid you not: The track it's in is "Intruiging and Unexpected: New and Cool".
Let's get real. Jini is in mission critical web sites (this year's talk by Orbitz might get your attention, for example). Companies have been run for years on its software. Sun itself is betting its RFID strategy on Jini. Large scale systems use JavaSpaces, starting with its introduction six years ago as a show-wide demo, and including (this year) a a large grid-computing system by a major investment company to follow on from last year's talk by Freddie Mac, among others.
The one talk you must go to if you have any doubts is the overview of where the whole technology stands. Your head will spin as you are whirlwinded through a survey of what's actually happening in the marketplace, both in industry leaders and startups. Then make up your own mind.
But to Sun this stuff seems to be perpetually arriving. New. Every year it's new. Which is unexpected. You'd think Sun would have noticed by now that it isn't new, that Jini and JavaSpaces are being used in ways where, if they didn't do the job, they would be chucked out before the company failed. Intruiging, isn't it?
For many folks at Sun there are two kinds of Java: J2EE and J2ME. Everything else is just baggage. And these folks seem to control the agenda for JavaOne. The number of rejected talks by big projects using Jini, JavaSpaces, and other Java technologies is pretty amazing.
The Jini community -- inside Sun and out -- keeps sticking to it, thank goodness. This year, as in the past, we'll just make our own conference-within-a-conference. Your primary resource for this is probably Frank Sommer's summary of what's shaking with Jini and JavaSpaces at JavaOne this year. There are a lot of things going on, and more things happening informally. Keep your eye out for the Jini folks, both from Sun and otherwise. There will be many around.
Maybe it's time we started passing out "Ask Me About Jini" buttons. Start our own pyramid scheme. If Sun won't bother to make Jini and JavaSpaces visible -- even squelch them in this most public Java forum -- we'll just have to make it happen ourselves. Join in, or at least give the overview talk a listen to see whether you ought to care. I think you'll be surprised how this perpetual newborn is already a responsible (if cool) adult.