Java at 20 Still Helps Developers Push Tech Innovation Boundaries

1 - Java at 20 Still Helps Developers Push Tech Innovation Boundaries
2 - 1995: The Launch
3 - 1996: First JavaOne Conference
4 - 1997: No. 2 With a Bullet
5 - 1998: Java Ring
6 - 1999: Java SE, EE, ME
7 - 2000: Mac OS X Support
8 - 2002: Real-Time
9 - 2004: The Open-Source Debate
10 - 2005: Java's 10th Anniversary
11 - 2006: Sun Open-Sourced Java
12 - 2007: JavaFX
13 - 2009: Oracle Announced Intent to Acquire Sun
14 - 2010: Oracle Closed Sun Acquisition Deal
15 - 2011: Moving Java Forward
16 - 2013: Java EE 7 Shipped
17 - 2014: Java SE 8 Launched
18 - 2015: Java Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary
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Java at 20 Still Helps Developers Push Tech Innovation Boundaries

by Darryl K. Taft

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1995: The Launch

Sun Microsystems introduced Java to the world in 1995. As early as 1991, a "stealth project" brainstorming session was held with Sun's Bill Joy, Andy Bechtolsheim, Wayne Rosing, Mike Sheridan, James Gosling and Patrick Naughton. Sun formed the Green Project to explore opportunities in consumer electronics. James Gosling, Patrick Naughton, Mike Sheridan and other engineers moved to an offsite office and broke off most communication with Sun. James Gosling also began work on the Oak programming language, later renamed Java.

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1996: First JavaOne Conference

At the first-ever JavaOne developer conference, more than 6,000 attendees gathered to learn more about Java technology and hear a slate of speakers that included Tim Berners-Lee, director, World Wide Web Consortium; James Gosling, vice president and Sun Fellow; Dr. Alan Baratz, president of JavaSoft; Dr. Eric Schmidt, Sun CTO and corporate executive officer; and Scott McNealy, Sun chairman, president and CEO. Also, the Java 1.0 programming environment became available for download. Sun licensed Java to operating system vendors, including Microsoft, Apple and IBM. And the first JavaBeans spec was released.

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1997: No. 2 With a Bullet

With 400,000 developers working in Java, it was now the No. 2 programming language in the world. More than 10,000 developers flocked to the second annual JavaOne developer conference, where Sun announced improved security and compatibility for Java and a range of licensees who planned to take Java beyond the desktop in futuristic devices such as smartcards. Also, Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) was announced.

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1998: Java Ring

The 15,000 attendees at the JavaOne developer conference that year sported a Java Ring, a mobile security device and data carrier disguised as a personal fashion accessory. The ring supported multiple Java applets that could be loaded dynamically to accomplish a range of tasks—like logging onto a PC, getting cash from an ATM, starting a car or exchanging contact data with a business acquaintance—and provided a personal demonstration of the potential for Java technology. Also, Visa launched the world's first smartcard based on Java Card technology. The Embedded Java spec was released. And EJB 1.0 was released. In this image, Sun's Miko Matsumura displayed a Java ring as he explained the technology behind it.

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1999: Java SE, EE, ME

Sun announced a redefined architecture for the Java platform that made it simpler for software developers, service providers and device manufacturers to target specific markets. With the introduction of Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE) for desktop and workstation devices; Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) for heavy-duty server systems; and Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME) for consumer devices, it became easier to capitalize on the Java platform for a growing range of opportunities. In the image, Sun Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy delivered a keynote at JavaOne 1999.

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2000: Mac OS X Support

At the JavaOne developer conference, Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs joined Sun Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy onstage to announce that Apple would bundle Java 2, Standard Edition with every version of its new Mac OS X operating system.

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2002: Real-Time

During a keynote at the JavaOne developer conference, a sumo battle between two Java-powered robots highlighted the usefulness of real-time Java. With one robot controlled by embedded devices integrated with wireless Java phones in an end-to-end Web services architecture and the other controlled by James Gosling, vice president and Sun Fellow, the battles ended in a draw. The demo illustrated that Java could be applied end-to-end—from the database through an application server, Web services, wireless connectivity and down to J2ME real-time Java, and interfacing to the real world while accommodating diverse clients.

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2004: The Open-Source Debate

This year marked the beginnings of the beginnings of the calls for Sun to open-source Java. During a panel discussion at JavaOne, representatives from IBM and the Apache Software Foundation endorsed an open-source model for Java, while Java creator and Sun Fellow James Gosling, along with Sun Vice President and Fellow Rob Gingell and RedMonk Analyst James Governor opposed the move. Also in 2004, in a $1.6 billion settlement, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems ended six years of litigation and pledged to cooperate on a broad basis, including in the area of Web-based programs and user-identity management. Sun had sued Microsoft in 1997 for allegedly violating the Java license agreement by creating its own version of Java, making it less universal.

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2005: Java's 10th Anniversary

Java marked its 10th anniversary with huge celebrations at the JavaOne developer conference and at Sun headquarters. Sun estimated Java now drove more than $100 billion of business annually. It counted more than 4.5 million Java developers, 2.5 billion Java-enabled devices and 1 billion Java technology-enabled smart cards. Sun also launches the GlassFish Project, an application server project for the Java EE platform.

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2006: Sun Open-Sourced Java

Sun released Java to open-source development in a move to drive further adoption of the technology. It became available under the GNU General Public License, the same contract that governs use and development of the Linux operating system. Sun offered for free all three versions of Java under the GPL: J2SE, J2EE and J2ME.

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2007: JavaFX

At the JavaOne developer conference, Sun announced JavaFX, a new family of Java technology-based products designed to make it easier to build rich Websites and Java applications across a broad range of devices. Also, Sun released the complete source code of the Java Class library under GPL (except for limited components licensed to Sun by third parties).

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2009: Oracle Announced Intent to Acquire Sun

Oracle announced its plans to buy Sun. With the announced acquisition, the opening session of the JavaOne developer conference featured Sun Chairman Scott McNealy and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison on stage together. Also, Project Coin launched to enhance the Java programming language with an assortment of small changes. And Java EE 6 came out with a simplified development and deployment model, RESTful Web services and the Java EE Web Profile.

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2010: Oracle Closed Sun Acquisition Deal

Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, and with that, the Oracle Technology Network became the world's largest community of application developers, database administrators, system administrators/developers and architects using industry-standard technologies in combination with Oracle products. Also, the Java Community Process (JCP) approved Java 7 and Java 8 roadmaps.

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2011: Moving Java Forward

With the theme of "Moving Java Forward," in July 2011, Oracle announced the availability of Java Platform, Standard Edition 7 (Java SE 7), the first release of the Java platform under Oracle stewardship. Java 7 included language changes to help increase developer productivity and simplify common programming tasks by reducing the amount of code needed, clarifying syntax and making code easier to read. It also improved support for dynamic languages, including Ruby, Python and JavaScript, resulting in substantial performance increases on the JVM. And a new multicore-ready API enabled developers to more easily decompose problems into tasks that could then be executed in parallel across arbitrary numbers of processor cores.

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2013: Java EE 7 Shipped

Java EE 7 featured a scalable infrastructure that facilitated building HTML5 applications by reducing response times through low-latency, bi-directional communication with WebSockets; simplifying data parsing and exchange using industry-standard JSON processing; and supporting many more concurrent users through asynchronous RESTful Web Services with JAX-RS 2.0.

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2014: Java SE 8 Launched

Significant top-to-bottom changes to the Java language appeared in 2014, including the addition of functional programming features, such as lambdas, new ways of doing parallel processing using streams, and improved integration with JavaScript, among many key features.

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2015: Java Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

May 23 marks 20 years since the first version of Java was released for public use.

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