JavaOne Illuminates Software Supply and Demand

 
 
By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2004-06-28
 
 
 

If youre making decisions today about how youll use Java for enterprise projects in the year to come, read on: Your 15 minutes of fame may be at hand.

With Comdex going into hibernation, JavaOne is now the trade show that generates my biggest incoming surge of requests from vendors seeking show-floor meetings. Theres got to be something good about a platform that attracts the innovative energies of IT players of every size.

I write this on my way out the door to embark on a packed agenda of JavaOne booth interviews that will tell me more about many exhibitors varied efforts: enterprise middleware, application development, developer training, software quality assurance, and software modeling concepts, along with new smart-device initiatives and mobility-focused software markets.

Ill be meeting on Tuesday, for example, with Agitar Software Inc., whose products try to put software development under the kind of systematic measurement and control that I took for granted as a project engineer at Exxon. Systematic testing of code, with test efforts focused at identified points of high risk, seems like a pretty straightforward idea: The hard part is getting people to agree that theres a problem. Agitars suggested list of Top 10 Signs of Need for Testing might be a useful jump-start device for your own conversation along those lines.

Java is the only language, so far, thats inspired me to write a book-length tutorial (adopted, ahem, by more than one college class). What appeals to me most is that the language demonstrates the power of good design—not just in what was included to make things possible, but also in what was deliberately left out to make it stronger overall.

I spoke about this selective approach to language features with Javas designer, James Gosling—a Fellow at Sun Microsystems—before the JavaOne conference two years ago. Some of Goslings concerns about other platforms have since been addressed, but he made a key point thats still valid when he talked about what to exclude from tomorrows tools.

"It has to do with issues of what you can prove, from a security point of view," he said. For example, he continued, "There are good reasons not to try to support C and C++. Supporting them drives you to support unrestricted pointer operations. The security story goes out the window; the reliability story is trashed as well, and that backs you into the security problem from another direction."

Java programs, without those unrestricted semantics, can be understood by Java programming environments; the security implications of a piece of Java code can be identified and rapidly addressed by automated aids. This is one of the features I most appreciated, for example, in Oracles JDeveloper 10g development environment, which Ill review as part of a major Labs package on the Oracle 10g platform in the July 5 issue of eWEEK.

That brings us to the subject of your 15 minutes of fame. On July 19, Ill be looking in another eWEEK Labs package at the issues of greatest interest to the Java development community, along with developers plans for exploring the opportunities and addressing the concerns surrounding Java in enterprise settings. If youd like to help focus that package, and get your own opinions and requirements into that report, send me an e-mail soon—and tell me, please, if you can be quoted and how you prefer to be identified if your comments are used.

The vendors get their say at JavaOne; you get your say at peter_coffee@ziffdavis.com.

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