SAN FRANCISCO—Although simplifying Java development is a major theme for this weeks JavaOne conference, some developers want more than that.
At a BEA Systems Inc. customer event here Monday, developers said simplifying Java is one thing, but the industry needs more. In fact, the developers said BEA already has the issue of simplifying the language licked with its BEA WebLogic Workshop Java application development tool.
“There is peril staring the J2EE [Java 2 Enterprise Edition] world in the face. We need to bring simplicity to a broader group of people. We need a .Net for J2EE,” said Frank Martinez, chairman and chief technology officer at Blue Titan Software Inc., in San Francisco. Martinez spoke of .Net in the context of a framework and said that is where the value lies in the Microsoft technology—and that is what J2EE can benefit from.
“If the [J2EE] community doesnt do this, were going to get overrun,” Martinez said. “And if we get overrun, that is dangerous, very, very dangerous.”
However, Martinez also said he believes the J2EE world needs to do more with the way it connects with XML.
“I want to see XML treated as a first-class citizen with J2EE,” he said. “The community as a whole needs a path” to this, he added. This path should be vendor independent, and building on that should be support for Web services, Martinez said.
Scott Metzger, chief technology officer at Truelink Inc., of San Luis Obispo, Calif., said his company is interested in J2EE and Web services interoperability.
“Something very important to us is Web services interoperability,” Metzger said, adding that Truelink is not just looking at “code-level reuse, but reuse of the Web services interfaces.”
Jeff Pedigo, director of solutions engineering at Yahoo Inc., in Sunnyvale, Calif., said that although Yahoo has some very capable Java developers, the company also has several pre-sales engineers who have had to rely on the companys core J2EE developers to complete projects for them. Yet, using the beta of WebLogic Workshop 8.1, “they are now able to do a lot of the Java work themselves,” he said.
Kevin OConnor, senior product manager at Documentum Inc., of Pleasanton, Calif., said his companys Web development kit is based on BEAs WebLogic technology, and the companys portal solution and business object framework use WebLogics functionality.
Meanwhile, Mike Komadina, solutions director at Roundarch Inc., in San Francisco, said he believes BEAs tools like Workshop and its WebLogic platform enable developers to become more valuable. Because WebLogic Workshop enables less sophisticated developers to do more and deliver enterprise-level Java applications with less toil, “developers view this as job security,” Komadina said.
“Were giving access to people who couldnt participate in J2EE,” Martinez said. “It was either learn J2EE or not work in this environment.”
Metzger said that while traditionally a lot of design time has been put into developing components, not as much has been placed in integrating components. Yet, “with BEA youre integrating as you develop.”
Martinez said Blue Titan built its software on the WebLogic Platform. He also said some of his companys customers are standardizing on WebLogic Workshop as their Java tool of choice.
“Were helping customers migrate to service-oriented architectures focusing around Web services and Web services-based standards.”
Yet, as BEA and others continue to try to simplify Java development, some hardcore developers worry that there may be a push to “dumb down” the technology.
Martinez refutes this. “Having consistency in a programming model is very important,” he said. He noted that BEA offers tools that target all developer skill levels.
“Successful implementations still require good architecture, good design and good quality assurance. But having a single tool helps,” Komadina said. “You still need the overall discipline, but this [a single tool like Workshop] helps with overall management.”