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The time for Java 3

Posted by daniel on January 7, 2004 at 8:32 AM PST

While others left Steve Jobs' MacWorld keynote yesterday thinking about the new mini iPods and GarageBand application, I thought a bit about Java 3.

I always walk out of a Steve Jobs' keynote glad that someone is driving the bus at Apple. I don't agree with all of his decisions, but the market gets a clear picture of Apple's direction from Jobs' public addresses. For example, with Mac OS X, Apple drew a line in the sand and said "here's our strategy going forward" and they maintained their so-called "Classic" OS so that existing users had several years to safely migrate. Not much later, Jobs made it clear to developers that Apple's strategy was to move everything to OS X - he even held a mock memorial service for Mac OS 9.

For Java developers, Apple has drawn similar lines in the sand. When they debuted Mac OS X with J2SE 1.3 in the box, they announced that Java 2 would never be supported on Classic. When they brought J2SE 1.4.1 to Jaguar, they made it clear that this version would not be made available on 10.0 and 10.1. Apple has been willing to tell customers that their machine will continue to work fine the way it is, but if they want the newest features, they will have to move to a more modern machine or operating system.

Can't we do that with Java? There are enough changes coming in J2SE 1.5 to the language and the way developers will be able to program, that this might be the right time to think about moving to Java 3. Declare J2SE 1.6 to be the first release of the Java 3 platform. Take a fresh look at where we are. What is the bloat that needs to go? Redefine the core - what is essential in the language and APIs. Draw a line in the sand and decide what needs to be removed or changed or added.

Can we consider the implications of speed, memory, and connectivity in our devices and ask whether some of the (mostly future anticipating) decisions about the Java platform still apply. Or - is it too late. Are we going to be forced to carry everything forward with us as Java continues to grow and expand. What about a transition plan? To help spur this discussion, I've linked to Elliotte Rusty Harold's summer 2002 ONJava article on the 10 Reasons we need Java 3.0 in Also in Java Today. Use the feedback to this blog entry to share your thoughts on whether or not Java 3 is a good idea.

In their latest "Eye on performance" article Micro performance benchmarking , Jack Shirazi and Kirk Pepperdine note that "The Java runtime's ability to dynamically optimize running code [...] has resulted in our needing to take much more care when we use " micro-performance benchmarking. They warn that "Just-in-time (JIT) Compiler optimizations and variations overwhelm any detectable differences in underlying performance"


In Projects and Communities the Java Desktop community wants you to take a survey asking you to help shape the J2SE desktop content for JavaONE. You are invited to rate various proposed topics and to comment on what sessions would be most useful for you. Also the JavaPedia page on individuals presents "a list of people associated with Java & related technologies" . Add to the list or participate in the meta discussion below the line about the list.

Two bloggers take a look at Apple's mini iPod offerings. Bill Day asks Will Cell Phones Render iPods Obselete. He asks "Will cellpods drive the iPod mini and other dedicated digital music players increasingly up market the same way they are putting pressure on dedicated digital cameras? Or will Apple deliver on rumors that have been floating around for months that they might be working on an iPhone, one upping the cellpod makers at their own game? " Meanwhile, John Mitchell looks around MacWorld and also comments on the mini iPod. In Apple Flashers
he writes " It's tiny and very slick. Even better, the control felt pretty nice. Alas, in all too typical Apple style, the $249 price tag is just plain silly -- they should have hit the $199 price point."


In today's Weblogs , Chris Melissinos takes assesses the current and anticipated state of gaming in 2004: New Blog Resolution, Holiday Gaming, and Other Bits . He also reports that the "focus of the Game Technologies Group on client side development will pay off for the game development community in a big way. With the ability to focus on a specific set of game related APIs, it will be much easier to guarantee cross platform portability with performance across a wider range of platforms than any other technology currently in the market. Add in the ability to target a variety of devices (cell phones, portals, set top box) for additional game play features and you start building a very compelling, network centric revenue and game play 'platform' for developers to utilize. "


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