Danny Coward, chief architect of the Client Software Group at Sun Microsystems, discusses Java Standard Edition 6 Update 10 and the future of the Java Platform with eWEEK.
Microsystems released Java Standard Edition 6 Update 10 on Oct. 21 and
Danny Coward, chief architect of Sun's Client Software Group, checked in for an
interview with eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft to talk about the future of
the Java platform.
How is the role of Java changing and
what are we seeing for the future of the Java platform?
I think what we are seeing in general is a rapid rise in the number of rich
client applications focused on consumers. Businesses and consumers alike are
looking for attractive and intuitive ways to interact and Java originated as a
platform to enable that. Now that Java is deployed so widely, I think Java's
role has broadened significantly as a platform for consumer content. Many of
the drivers for continued evolution of the platform come from developers who
want to create this new generation of rich content focused on consumers. This
rich content consists of applications that are attractive,
"self-guiding" and self-explanatory, as well as applications that
visually entertain and present information to allow interactions in a playful
and enriching manner.
We have seen Sun focus and do well
with the enterprise side of Java and now it appears Sun is shifting to the
client side. Can you tell me more about that?
We spent many years building out the core Java platform both as a base for
server-side technology, and focused on enterprise GUIs. In the last three or
four years, the number of applications being created for consumers has
overtaken the number of applications being created for use within the
enterprise. Thus, we have focused our development efforts on reshaping Java for
rich client application development and deployment. For development, we've
added a whole new language and programming environment called JavaFX. For
deployment on the desktop, we've really worked hard to make the underlying JRE
(Java Runtime Environment)
much more lightweight, nimble, and better able to
run visually intensive applications-all things needed by consumer-facing rich
You just released Java SE 6 Update 10-how
does this announcement fit in with Sun's overall Java strategy?
Click here to read more about Sun's Java Standard Edition 6 Update 10.
Java SE 6 Update 10 is a release of the highly popular Java Runtime for the
desktop and browser and is a product of how we are reshaping Java for rich
client application development and deployment. This release has those
deployment and runtime attributes I just described: quick to download, quick and
easy to install, quick to update from an older version, quick to start
applications running on it, much faster graphical performance, and a new look
and feel for cross-platform applications.
What are some of the new key features
and changes in the release, including what you can do now that you couldn't do
There are several, but the key highlight features are:
JavaKernel: This shrinks the initial download of the JRE from 14.5MB to
4.5MB-a huge savings in download time and time spent unpacking the run-time.
The initial 'kernel' download contains just enough of the run-time to run
typical GUI applications-i.e. typical consumer applications on the desktop or
browser-and then in parallel the rest of the platform is installed once that
initial application is up and running. This results in a much quicker download
and a much quicker start to get the application up and running.