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JavaOne 2007 June 15, 2007

Posted by Sacha in JBoss, Moved from JBoss.org.
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I know, I certainly look a bit “has-been” to only blog about JavaOne now, but guess what, I had the choice between i) being one of the 2’000 guys blogging about JavaOne *during* JavaOne or ii) being the only one blogging about it one month after. I’ve opted for differentiation on that one.

I was positively surprised by JavaOne this year. Attendance was good, show-floor was busy, some very good technical sessions and, more importantly, the spirit was high. What’s more, the JBoss booth was very busy, and not only because we gave away very nice T-Shirts (congrats to the JBoss.org team!). Many users showed up at the booth and spoke about their existing and future projects and migrations. While it is always difficult to estimate the proportion of JBoss users vs. customers and what that proportion will be tomorrow, there is clearly much much more to come. We are just at the beginning of this massive OSS-led market disruption. Much like for global warming, the sea level of software market consolidation is slowly but surely rising.

There was also loads of interest in EJB3/EE5 and how to migrate legacy applications (either based on EE1.4 or Spring) to EE5. Many companies that thought EE1.4 was too complex opted for some non-standard “helper” tools/frameworks/wrappers to achieve their IT goal more efficiently. However, I haven’t met a single user or customer who wanted to keep this situation in the mid- or long-run. That’s good. It means the market is increasingly and inevitably attracted by Open Standards. Today, companies are more conscious than ever of the cost of locking themselves into a non-standardized API/product, i.e., disastrous. We call that “the cost of exit”. When companies perform TCO studies, they take into account a large number of parameters, including migration cost, team education, new licenses, support, etc. but they very rarely take this “cost of exit” into account. Big mistake. In many cases, this cost might be prohibitive and put a halt to new projects or to integrations with new systems, which means you’ll have to live with your locked-in solution until you decide to drop it altogether, which might not be possible before a very looooong time.

On the JBoss project front, Seam and Web Beans (JSR-299) generated a lot of interest, sessions were very busy and people loved its simplicity (integration with Google Guice was also very positively perceived – bye bye XML configuration hell). In fact, the Seam book ended-up being a JavaOne best seller AND the “best stolen” book at JavaOne. BTW, Seam integration with Web Services and JBoss ESB are on their way, so stay tuned.

Also a special mention to “Hibernate Search”. The problem with this project is its name – it is too “shy”. When you hear about “Hibernate Search” for the first time you probably think “well, yeah, it is just a way to populate an index file based on you Hibernate CRUD actions…no big deal.” What a mistake! When you actually look at what it does, how flexible it is, how simple it is to configure it and how smoothly it integrates with the EJB3/Seam programming model, you’ll quickly realize how powerful it really is. After all, “Hibernate Search” is in fact a pretty good name, it is just just too “simple” (I am convinced “Hibernate FreeParisHilton” would have generated more interest). Go Emmanuel, go!

Last but not least, the Open Sourcing of Java is some kind of recurring party. We partied when SUN announced they’d do it, we partied when they actually OSSed the JVM, then they OSSed the JDK minus some classes, etc. SUNW’s PR team must have never been so busy than in the last 12 months. Anyway, the reason I am so excited about all of this is that what SUNW has built is a *very impressive* multi-billion dollar ecosystem that has gathered almost all top software vendors and this, for more than 10 years! But all ecosystems have cycles and >10 years is a long time. Something big had to take place to rejuvenate it and this is exactly what just happened. Now that a quality JVM+JDK is available in OSS, I predict you’ll start seeing a new batch of innovations in the Java space. In fact, it already started, talk to Bela Ban if you want to share some ideas on the standardization of byte-code enhancement at the JVM-level. We just started a new 10-year cycle, so tighten your seat belt.

Onward,

Sacha

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