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JavaOne as Indicator on Java's Future, Part 1: the Keynotes

Posted by editor on August 31, 2013 at 2:27 PM PDT

One of the most interesting things about JavaOne is the announcements. Some years, there isn't a single big announcement, while other years something of enduring significance is announced or released during JavaOne. While we won't know what surprise announcements or releases this year's conference will include, a look at the conference agenda, the keynotes, the tracks, and the sessions, can give us a pretty good sense of where the conference's overall focus lies.

For example, the Java Strategy / Technical Keynotes are described as follows:

The future course for modern-day living--in both the enterprise business world and the consumer arena--is being positively influenced by the ongoing innovation and value of Java. From enterprise application development to cloud computing to embedded machine-to-machine systems, Java continues to drive the applications and devices that enrich our interactivity with the world around us.

So, what does this tell us? We start out with "modern-day living" and end with "applications and devices that enrich our interactivity with the world around us." The topic is Java as a tool that applies to every day living -- rather than Java as a platform for running corporate data centers. It's Java on a small scale, in devices many people own; yet, there's also cloud computing, which enables interactivity between people and communities of people who are using these devices. Then there's also machine-to-machine systems.

Yes, enterprise application development is included in the keynotes description, but there is no content in the description related to Java in the corporate enterprise after that. So, the focus really does seem to be on devices and the interactivity they and the cloud provide to people.

Next is the IBM Keynote, which is titled "Java Flies in Blue Skies and Open Clouds." In this keynote, John Duimovich, IBM's Java CTO, "will talk about open cloud stacks, emerging PaaS environments, and the growing cloud ecosystem." All cloud, really, since PaaS is normally instantiated in the cloud.

The Java Community Keynote is a bit different, yet even the description of that provides some insight:

This year we ... look at inspirational uses of Java beyond the ISV... Come see how Java is used to gain knowledge that helps reduce energy consumption by terrawatts. Learn how highways are being made safer thanks to Java.

I'll guess that highways are being made safer through the use of networks of sensors that monitor traffic, feed the information back to a central application (running in a data center or in the cloud), and some algorithm is applied that ultimately controls traffic signals? That's one possibility, perhaps. Anyway, I'll guess that small devices are involved, which would mean embedded Java.

Reducing energy consumption by terrawatts... I know that a lot of work is being done on smart meters, that collect data from homes or perhaps also from large buildings, send the information to a central application, then (potentially) some type of controls are commanded to take action... This could be what they'll be talking about. If so, again, it's a network of small devices running embedded Java, sending data back to what could easily be an application in the cloud.

Finally, there is the Freescale keynote. There's no description for this as of yet. However, the speaker, Geoff Lees, is Freescale's General Manager for microcontrollers. Embedded Java again...

From all this, it certainly appears that small devices and the cloud will be central aspects of JavaOne 2013. So right now my expectation is that, if any big announcements and/or releases are made at the conference, at least some of them will be related to embedded Java and/or the cloud.

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-- Kevin Farnham (@kevin_farnham)

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