The stewards of Java, the JCP (Java Community Process) PMO (Program Management Office) and Executive Committees, on Tuesday announced a new version of the JCP, JCP 2.6.
The new version features enhancements to the process that enable more developers to get involved in the creation of JSRs (Java Specification Requests) earlier in the process, said officials at JCP, based in Santa Clara, Calif.
Aaron Williams, JCP executive relations manager and specification lead for JSR 215, which is the JSR in charge of JCP 2.6, said, "The next generation of the process is more transparent and more participatory than the process has ever been."
Williams added, "Were really focused on making the community more transparent, and were asking [specification] leads to provide a transparency plan—to make it possible for the community to get more involved in the spec. The more people aware of a JSR, the more widely it is likely to be accepted."
Williams said JCP 2.6 encourages more involvement from developers earlier in the process by opening up the first draft review of specifications to the public. Prior to JCP 2.6, the first draft reviews for specifications were open only to a small group, Williams said. Now, both the first and second review periods are open to the public. In addition, Williams said the JCP is moving the balloting process from occurring after the first review period to after the second period.
"This will encourage spec leads to go to the ballot with more open issues," Williams said. "We believe with these changes we can move review first periods down to four to five months, from about nine now."
Williams said the longest period is between the start of a specification and the first review period. Therefore, with JCP 2.6, "We should see JSRs complete sooner," he said.
In addition, Williams said the new version of the JCP will feature more documentation and more tools, such as a community page, and each JSR will have a home page on JCP.org.
Also, JCP 2.6 allows for more flexibility in terms of JSRs, by enabling some JSRs to stand across different Java platforms, such as J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition), J2SE (Java 2 Standard Edition) and J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition), Williams said.
"As of Tuesday, we flip the switch from JCP 2.5 to JCP 2.6, and all the JSRs that exist under JCP 2.5 will be moved right under JCP 2.6," he said.
Geir Magnusson Jr., vice president of Java Community Process for the Apache Software Foundation, based in Forest Hill, Md., said in a statement, "The changes found in JCP 2.6 represent another step forward … to a more open and collaborative specification process."
Also in a statement, David Yach, vice president of software at Research In Motion Ltd., based in Waterloo, Ontario, said, "JCP 2.6 is helping to fuel the proliferation of Java technology and create an even more robust process by encouraging developers to become involved early on."
Meanwhile, Sun Microsystems Inc. announced that Java momentum continues to grow, as evidenced by the growth in participation in Java User Groups throughout the world. The company said membership in Java user groups grew by more than 150 percent since the beginning of last year, and the number of groups overall increased by 100 percent, to 600, over the same time period.
John Zukowski, a Java developer, author and president of JZ Ventures Inc., in Boston, said he enjoys the networking at Java user groups and the opportunity to keep abreast of Java news and movements in the community.
"I founded the Mid-Atlantic Java User Group [MAJUG] back in 1995 in [Washington] D.C. and now am the vice chairman of the ACM [Association for Computing Machinery] WebTech chapter in Boston," Zukowski said. "I like the smaller size of the WebTech meetings—typically about 35—though the free pizza at the NEJUG meetings at Sun [where some meetings are upwards of 200, if not more] are a nice draw. I do like the publishers that seem to go out of their way to give books to the different user groups."
Mike Bellisimo, senior director of Sun Developer Outreach, said in a statement, "User groups provide an added layer of support for our customers through peer interactions that involve sharing best practices, code tips and even successful business models."