15 Ways Oracle Can Make Java Better (and Improve Its Stance with Developers)

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15 Ways Oracle Can Make Java Better (and Improve Its Stance with Developers)

by Darryl K. Taft

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Preserve JavaOne as a Separate Developer Event

Bring back a community-focused Java conference. Oracle has committed to sponsoring a JavaOne 2010 conference, but how community-focused will it be? JavaOne 2010 will be held in the shadows of Oracle Open World in September. JavaOne should continue to be its own conference, at its own time, by, for and about Java developers. It should be brought back to its proper place in the spring/summer timeframe.

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Give Apache a Java TCK

Give Apache its Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) with no field of use restrictions. A TCK is a suite of tests, tools and documentation that determines whether or not a product complies with a particular Java technology specification. The battle over whether or not Apache should get a Java TCK has gone on too long. It held up progress on Java EE 6 and is a blight on the community. Let it go.

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Use OSGi to Make Java a Great Cloud Platform

Embrace the Open Services Gateway initiative (OSGi) as the modularity standard and use that to drive Java as a great platform for the cloud.

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Reexamine the JavaFX Strategy

Either open-source JavaFX or kill it. It is DOA as a proprietary technology, competing with the likes of Flash and the upstart Silverlight.

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Extend Dynamic Language Support on the JVM

Improve support for other dynamic languages on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Like Microsoft has with Python and Ruby on the Common Language Runtime (CLR), Sun has provided support for Python and Ruby on the JVM. Get busy on the Da Vinci Machine.

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Set the JCP Free

Set the Java Community Process (JCP) free. Establish it as a truly vendor-neutral organization like the Eclipse Foundation.

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Talk to Google about JavaME

Reach out to Google and make Android the new story for JavaME, which is a crusty, legacy platform in the mobile world. With mobile as the future of Internet connectivity for most of the world, something has to be done to make Java shine once again in mobile. Make nice with Google.

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Rethink the Oracle Java IDE Strategy

Merge NetBeans and Eclipse as the open source integrated development environment (IDE) for the Java platform. Java needs an open-source IDE to rapidly support new platform features. JDeveloper is not that IDE.

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Open the Doors to the OpenJDK Project

Make OpenJDK a real open development project. Allow non-Oracle employees easy access for contributions.

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Offer a Friendly OpenJDK License

Make the OpenJDK available under a commercially friendly license such as the Eclipse Public License (EPL) or Apache 2.0.

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Appoint Java Creator James Gosling Java Czar

Who other than the avuncular Gosling deserves to be the face behind Oracle's push to rally the Java community?

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Java Needs a Standard Parallelism Solution

Tackle the issue of parallelism/concurrency in Java. Parallelism is perhaps the next big thing for developers. Java needs a standard solution. Sun had some success with its Project Fortress.

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Java Needs a Data-Driven Development Scheme

Provide a data-driven development scenario for Java a la Microsoft's Language Integrated Query (LINQ) technology. With LINQ, Microsoft has added data querying capability for C#. Will Java get the same treatment?

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Do Something About the Java Store

Put forth the resources to make the Java Store real or admit it was just a dream and move on. Sun announced the Java Store at JavaOne 2009, and we haven't heard very much about it since.

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Really Treat Java as One of the Crown Jewels

Overall, make up your mind and communicate clearly about your strategy for Java's future. For good or bad, Oracle did not do much to prune anything significant from Sun's many software strategies (some of which were flawed). The notion of supporting three IDEs is confusing. It didn't really work for BEA and while it sort of sounds good here, it's messy. It's not possible to focus equally on every one of the many initiatives, which means that some things will get starved and perhaps die in a year anyway. As Oracle EVP Thomas Kurian said, "Java is one of the crown jewels" Oracle got in the Sun acquisition. Treat it as such.

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