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JavaOne 2008

I attended JavaOne in San Francisco on May 6 - 9, 2008. Community One was held the day before (May 5) at the same location, so I attended that as well. Both were extremely informative and well conducted events.

Event Notes

Following are my notes and thoughts on the event–some are terse, others are verbose. YMMV.


I had a little bit of time for sight seeing before and after the event. Here are some photos taken with my low-res cell phone camera.

The Howard Street Party. Otherwise known as the “How Weird” Party. A street festival complete with live music and good food. A chance for those with alternative lifestyles to meet in public. It was like Halloween in May.
The obligatory San Francisco trolley car. You haven't been to San Francisco until you've ridden one of these. Some of the trolleys are as old as the city itself. It costs $5/ride, or buy a weekly/monthly pass. You can't appreciate the trolley until you walk up Nob Hill yourself. Been there, done that.
Standing on the shore of Ghirardelli Square looking out at the pier and Alcatraz Island. (Cool toy: you can control the webcam on top of Ghirardelli Square)
Alcatraz Island. This is as close as I could get without taking a tour. I'm standing on the Ghirardelli Pier; the sun has set, the wind is blowing, and the temperature is dropping. Snap the picture and get off the pier! (Cool toy: listen to the first podcast of Radio Free Alcatraz)
A shot of Ghirardelli Square. Its in a protected bay created by the rounded pier that I'm standing on, plus one other that form a protective barrier for the ships in the harbor.
The Golden Gate Bridge. I'm several miles from it, at a high vantage point next to Ghirardelli Square. The shot was taken right at sunset and would have been fantastic if taken with a better camera. :-) Given more time, I would have rented a bike and ridden across the bridge.
ASCII���My CommentPier 39 at night. Its a marketplace built on a pier. A side attraction is the sea lions that have made the moorings their home. I took some photos but they were too dark.
A photo of China Town. Its interesting how China Town just begins on a certain block…no formal boundaries. Within the 5×12 block area, traditional Chinese life exists, including food markets, shops, and restaurants. Many locals don't speak English there. FYI the Floating Sushi Boat Restaurant gets mixed reviews, but my experience eating there was a great one.
Another view of China Town. This one is more residential. Notice how clean the residents keep the street and sidewalk.

Thoughts on Apple's Java 6 Release

Sun released Java 6 on December 11, 2006. It had plenty of new features (full summary here) so developers were excited to download it. To make things even better, Sun updated NetBeans to provide tooling support for these new features.

Unfortunately Apple did not release its version of Java 6 in a timely manner. Many observers believe Apple's development staff was focused on the iPhone (introduced June '07) and Leopard (October '07). That makes perfect sense for part of the time, but Apple didn't produce Java for Mac OS X 10.5, Update 1 until April 29, 2008–over a year1) after Sun introduced Java 6, and over 6 months after Leopard's release.

It seems ironic that Java 6 for the Mac was released just 5 days before JavaOne 2008. Imagine all the bad PR that would have been generated if Apple hadn't released its Java 6 update in time for Java One. There would have been hundreds of very disappointed, very well-connected developers ready to spread the bad news about Apple. Fortunately it didn't happen, but it does call into question Apple's commitment to Java.

I can see Apple becoming more involved or less involved with java, but I can't see the company staying in the position its in today. It is recognized as an innovator in technology and design, yet it hasn't kept up-to-date on Java (one of the most widely used web technology platforms). I predict that one of two significant things will happen:

  • Apple will contribute its Java assets (build process, OS-specific enhancements, etc…) to the OpenJDK Project and will transition its JVM development and support staff to Sun. After that, it will fully divorce itself from any involvement with Java. This makes sense for Apple because its business model is built around proprietary SDKs and the delivery of content through the iTunes store. Apple doesn't use Java for competitive advantage, and would not be materially hurt by eliminating it. It also makes sense for Sun to own the OSX build process because it currently owns them for the other JDK distributions (Solaris, Linux, and Windows). Good for Apple, good for Sun, good for the community.
  • Apple will recognize that it can't stand alone. The emerging Rich Internet Application space is evolving quickly. Apple doesn't have a desktop offering in that space, so it needs help. Sun has a technology that allows applications to be dragged out of the browser and onto a desktop, and it works on mobile devices, desktops, and media centers–all of which Apple sells. All Apple needs to do is license that technology from Sun and compete head-to-head with Adobe and Microsoft. Not to mention bringing the force of millions 2) of Java developers to bear on the Mac, the Apple TV, and the iPhone. Good for Apple, good for Sun, good for the community.

I can't predict which choice will happen–its anyone's guess right now. The worst thing that could happen would be for Apple to do nothing–especially since Java 7 will be introduced in late 2008. Developers won't wait as long for their Java next time around.

1) 445 days, to be exact
2) a very rough number–I haven't found a statistic that accurately estimates the number of java developers world-wide
/home/cfreyer/public_html/data/pages/technology/java/javaone2008.txt · Last modified: 2008/06/06 13:56 by Chris Freyer