It's been about 1000 days since the Java platform was introduced. By all measures, we've come a long way since then. The magazine you're holding, Java Developer's Journal, is proof of that.
Since the introduction of the Java platform, Sun's goals have been to provide platform completeness, platform ubiquity, business profitability and successful applications. These four criteria have been part of our game plan for making the Java platform successful and we're pursuing them for the long term.
From the start, we have singlemindedly focused on providing a comprehensive platform for developers, a broad environment to enable them to create rich applications. We have achieved this. And we didn't do it alone.
In the last 1,000 days, engineers at Sun, along with our partners and the Java community on the World Wide Web have been at work building the Java platform. JavaBeans™ was built by Sun with help from Borland, IBM, Lotus, Symantec and many others. The Java Foundation Classes, the graphical user interface tool for the Java platform, was built with help from Netscape, IBM, Apple and others. There are many other examples of successful APIs: Remote Method Invocation, Java Database Connectivity and Enterprise JavaBeans are just a few.
There is tremendous intellectual property invested in the Java platform not only by Sun, but also by countless other companies and independent developers. The Java platform was grown and evolved by a global community of developers on the World Wide Web. And this community insists on open standards and technical excellence. The Java platform is a product of this unique, open, industry-participative development process.
We remain committed to this open process.
As we move forward, we're finding that the developer community, which first asked us for functionality, is now finding the Java platform is solidifying and becoming complete. And the Java platform is providing opportunities for developers to create applications for a wide spectrum of opportunities.
In the enterprise, developers can cash in on the Java platform's value proposition by writing new middle-tier business logic using the Java platform and Enterprise JavaBeans. The Java platform lets developers use enterprise Java application programming interfaces for accessing existing middleware services and applications. These applications can then be deployed on any server, running any operating system, with any installed base of middleware. So the APIs and runtime libraries that support these interfaces allow the new applications to access existing databases, TP monitors and directory servers. The Java platform gives developers a whole new level of flexibility and interactivity.
The Java platform provides a wide range of opportunities for developers in the consumer space as well. There is enormous market potential for Java developers to build applications for devices as small as smart cards. Projections by UBS Global Research show that this year there will be 500 million smart cards on the market with microchips embedded in them; by 2000, the number of smart cards which run Java applications will skyrocket to more than 1.2 billion. The story is the same in personal and embedded devices with an explosion of potential Java devices being forecast by all the major research houses.
This explosion provides a business opportunity for developers, fueled by the Java platform's ability to provide a standard development environment that allows devices to connect to the network.
Developers who are building network-ready enterprise applications need a consistent deployment environment upon which their applications will run. We have a technology code named Project Java Activator to help ensure a consistent deployment environment. This technology lets developers take full advantage of the latest Java platform capabilities on either Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator by allowing the browser to utilize a fully compatible, up-to-date implementation of the Java platform rather than the one bundled with the browser. IS organizations, developers and end-users no longer need to worry about multiple Java platforms on each system. One can install a single Java Virtual Machine that is utilized by all the browsers. Project Java Activator even allows new, up-to-date implementation of the Java platform on old browsers.
So now developers have a rich platform and a consistent deployment environment. Our next focus is on providing developers with the performance they need to be successful.
An recent article published in February on the Web cites independent tests which show that performance of the Java platform is as fast as C++. The study tested the Java platform with a Symantec JIT against C++ with a JIT and found that the performance gap is closing. But JITs are not the whole performance story. We're working on a technology, code named HotSpot, which is a performance turbocharger. While these tests examined just loops, not complete applications, we expect that HotSpot will provide performance equal to natively compiled C++ code and close the performance gap entirely.
The Java platform presents enormous opportunities for developers. With our commitment to equipping developers for success "by providing a rich platform, a consistent deployment environment and a renewed commitment to performance, stability, completeness and ubiquity" we're laying the foundation for a new era of computing.
About the Author
George Paolini is Director of Corporate Marketing at JavaSoft, a Sun Microsystems Inc. business unit devoted to developing Java.