Sun Set to Win Developer Battle

Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz says Sun has more to offer developers than others.

SAN FRANCISCO-Sun Microsystems is poised to win the next big battle for developers.

Already in many studies on developer platform choice, the battle typically is drawn between the Microsoft .Net camp and the Java camp. But with the emergence of a new set of qualifications around developer/designer workflow and the advent of RIAs (rich Internet applications), the battleground is becoming more cluttered with new entrants and different models. Sun hopes to be in that fray.

At the JavaOne conference here on May 6, Sun President and CEO Jonathan Schwartz said he is very passionate about developers.

Without yelling, "Web developers, Web developers, Web developers!" like Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer did at the Microsoft MIX08 conference in early March in Las Vegas, Schwartz conveyed his passion for developers.

And further, "to bring this back to an overarching context, there's a battle for that next great developer platform," Schwartz said.

He said there are four fundamental technologies or parts of the equation as far as Sun is concerned.

"First, our intent is to reach the most devices on the planet full stop," Schwartz said. "Second, we understand by making it ubiquitous that's not enough; we have to make it compelling and accessible to developers and consumers."

The third part of the equation is "we're placing a stake in the ground," Schwartz said. "The Java platform will give you more insight. We will allow developers to instrument what they build so they can see how people use their stuff."

And four: "This is all going to be free ... so it can travel wherever the market should go."

Schwartz said Sun's overall open-source play with its run-time software is all about developers and empowering developers to build compelling applications.

Meanwhile, Rich Green, Sun's executive vice president for software, said usage of the NetBeans IDE (integrated development environment), the core Sun open-source development platform, has grown 44 percent year over year since last year based on the number of users developing with NetBeans.