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Is Java Becoming an 'Emerging Technology'? Ask O'Reilly

Posted by editor on July 9, 2011 at 11:43 AM PDT

While Thursday's Java 7 Celebration Webcast, broadcast from Oracle's offices in Redwood Shores, California, was the signature Java 7 event that took place on 7/7/11, Java was also receiving significant attention at another location not too far up the California coast. On that day, the O'Reilly Radar site featured three new Java-related posts by Ed Dumbill:

Add to this James Turner's recent interview with Stuart Sierra about Clojure (Clojure: Lisp meets Java, with a side of Erlang) and this month's OSCON Java Conference (check out Why OSCON Java? by Mike Loukides) -- and it's quite clear that there is an upswell in the the energy Tim O'Reilly and his crew are devoting to Java these days.

Of course, it can't be claimed that O'Reilly ever stopped covering Java. Java.net itself was the joint creation of O'Reilly and Sun. And as late as May of last year, my java.net editorship contract was with O'Reilly. As with many things, the java.net boat rocked a bit when Oracle acquired Sun -- java.net is no longer formally associated with O'Reilly -- but, without O'Reilly, I doubt there ever would have been a java.net that functions both as a Java community entity and gathering place, and as a provider of infrastructure for Java open source projects.

The new Java-centric energy emanating from O'Reilly should be readily apparent to anyone who follows O'Reilly, via Radar and the company's other endeavors. So, why is this happening? And why now?

If you look at the banner that heads all Radar pages, you'll see this description of what O'Reilly Radar is about, what it intends to provide:

 

Insight, analysis, and research about emerging technologies

So now, the question becomes: does the fact that O'Reilly is giving renewed and significant attention to Java mean that they consider today's Java, and where Java is headed, to be representative of an emergent technology? Where the legacy foundation technology was Java as it existed several years ago, when progress in the language ground to a near halt due to Sun's collapse? Do Java 7 (and moreso Java 8 -- see our latest java.net poll), Java EE 6 and 7, the new JVM languages, platforms like Groovy and NetBeans and Android, projects like GlassFish, Hudson/Jenkins, the global growth of local Java communities as represented by Java User Groups and a host of new, smaller, local conferences and gatherings... Does all this put together represent a Java that is today a genuinely emergent technology?

Another O'Reilly person, Mike Hendrickson, analyzing the 2010 State of the Computer Book Market, Post 4 - The Languages, noted:

Java experienced the biggest gain in units, at 28,633 more units in 2010 than 2009... In 2008, we reported that C# surpassed Java as the number one language. But hold on, Java proved to be resilient in 2009 and experienced a resurgence in 2010 and is now the number one language from a book sales perspective.

[Note: in the chart above, that tallest bar is Java, with C#, Objective C, and Javascript being the next best sellers. Here's a fully readable, expanded view.]

In other words, the data from O'Reilly's own core business (producing and selling computer books) told them that, even through the uncertainty of the Sun acquisition, Java was holding its own among developers who buy books; and that 2010, the year when Java's future (including if it realistically had one) became clearer, saw a resurgence in developer interest in Java. And book sales, I think, are indeed a good indicator, since that's a "vote" that is registered using financial currency.

So, in conclusion (though, really, having written this, it feels like my thinking in this direction has just begun) -- anyway, from where we stand now, where we're headed: does everything that's new in today's Java make it an emerging technology? The folks at O'Reilly, who've historically done a pretty good job of sensing where technology is heading (their radar has been typically sharp), seem to think so.


java.net Weblogs

Since my last blog post, java.net Community Manager Sonya Barry and Frans Thamura posted new java.net blogs:


Poll

Our current java.net poll asks "What impact will Java 7 ultimately have on Java's future?" Voting will be open until Friday, July 22.


Articles

Our latest java.net article is Michael Huettermann's Agile Application Lifecycle Management (ALM).


Java News

Here are the stories we've recently featured in our Java news section:


Spotlights

Our latest java.net Spotlight is Tori Wieldt's post, Java 7 Celebration Begins:

It was a glorious global gathering of the Java community today (on July 7), when Oracle hosted multiple events and a Webcast to celebrate Java 7. With contributions from Java users around the world, Java 7 is a testament to the vibrancy of the Java community and to Oracle’s ongoing commitment to the language and technology...

We're also featuring Java Spotlight Episode 37: Michelle Kovac on the Java 7 Launch:

Interview with Michelle Kovac, Java Brand Manager, on the Java 7 Launch and surrounding events...


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-- Kevin Farnham
Twitter: @kevin_farnham

 
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Comments

<p>i remember a few years back when O'reilly was pushing RoR ...

i remember a few years back when O'reilly was pushing RoR so strongly and basically pissing off a lot of Java developers. Well, i haven't bought an Oreilly book since then, so I find it ironic that they're sucking up to java again now that the RoR hype died a sad death.