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JavaOne 2012 kicks off

As JavaOne 2012 kicks off in San Francisco Sept 30, industry experts and practitioners gather to learn about the newest in Java standards, best practices and developments.  New this year are a larger keynote location at the Masonic Auditorium and an expanded schedule that includes hundreds of technical sessions, hands-on labs, and BOFs.

Issues confronting the JavaOne throng are many. The community is looking for Java updates that were held off going back to the tumult that ensued as Java originator Sun Microsystems  was courted by IBM and eventually acquired by database giant Oracle. Java on the server is under some stress, as mobile computing moves to the fore, pushing JavaScript, Java’s faux language cousin, higher in the pecking order.  That has led some to question the future of Java.

Meanwhile, a host of new languages are being fielded on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) platform, giving developers much to digest. Finally, OSGi  has edged into production as a means for modular Java app making – but it is challenged, some would say, by Jigsaw, a newer modularization scheme that apparently will not make the next Java rev. One thing is clear: Oracle is now firmly established as chief Java overseer.

For Java consultant, trainer and JavaOne presenter Venkat Subramaniam,  founder of Agile Developer, Inc.,  JavaOne is a chance to reach developers who need new ways to be effective on the JVM platform. Among key concerns he cites are concurrency. New multicore chips, he says require new programmatic ways of working with Java, whether the target platforms are conventional or new cloud varieties.

On multicore chips, [software] multithreads are on steroids, Subramaniam said. That brings out problems in Java coding that have not been uncovered in familiar single-core implementations. Multicore chips bring multiple levels of caches, he added.  “Programs that pretend to work correctly get broken. This is not a problem we invited,” he said.

For those worried about Java’s future, Subramaniam has relief. “It will continue. It is powerful. But the way we use it is going to change in the future,” he said.

How will it change?  Subramanian suggests Scala, Groovy and JRuby will appear on the JVM with greater frequency to help deal with a new architecture paradigm that places Web applications in juxtaposition to enterprise apps.

As has been seen in  other recent JavaOne events, JVM and Java as a platform are becoming as important as – or more important than – Java, the language.

“I think Java is very strong and healthy but you have to look at all the different languages that are available,” said Kirk Knoernschild, software developer. He points to Groovy, Scala and Clojure, as well as other languages as examples of the new “Java platform” landscape.

“You really need to focus more on the separation of Java as a runtime platform. More and more, we will see organizations using the right language on top of the platform,” said Knoernschild, author of “Java Application Architecture: Modularity Patterns with Examples Using OSGi” [Prentice Hall, 2012]. “This language could be Java. It could be Groovy. It could be Grails.”

Emerging languages on the JVM are covered in various sessions at JavaOne. Under consideration will be improvements in the JDK, and support for dynamically typed languages on the JVM.  A conference track covers some of the most popular dynamic languages  now appearing on the JVM, such as Groovy, JavaScript, JRuby, Kotlin, and Scala.

In fact, the JavaOne event offers over 500 wide-ranging sessions. Some notable choices include “Rapid Robot Programming,” “Building Mobile Apps with HTML5 and Java,” “Going Real-Time: How to Build a Streaming API,” and “How RESTful is Your REST?”

Among the nearly 540 speakers at this year’s JavaOne are the so-called “Java Champions,” a selection of community-nominated technology leaders who will run a series of technical talks and community-building activities at the conference.

Stephen Colebourne, project lead at, is one member of that group. His talk, “From Instants to Eras, the Future of Time in Java,” will look ahead to the inclusion of an easy-to-use, expressive API for times and dates in Java SE 8. “Java Champion” Bruno Souza will talk about “101 Ways to Improve Java: Why Developer Participation Matters.” He will lead a community brainstorming session about how developer participation can influence the development of Java technologies. -Stephanie Mann and Jack Vaughan

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