JDJ's JAVAONE 2001 SUMMARY
by Ajit Sagar
This year's JavaOne revolved around three major themes ≠ Web Services,
wireless and small devices (J2ME), and J2EE. There was an air of euphoria
around Web Services. This was similar to the atmosphere surrounding XML a
couple of years ago. There were more examples of actual prototypes in the
wireless space. It was interesting to get the perspective on this
technology from vendors ranging from application server vendors to
development environment providers to providers of software for mobile
Opinions ranged from Web Services as a panacea for all ailments to
skepticism about the business models that they could be applied to in the
near term. Much of the information presented in the sessions about Web
Services was introductory, which is not surprising, as this is a fairly
new paradigm. Under the umbrella of Web Services, UDDI, XML, SOAP, and
.NET technologies were major themes for discussion and presentation. Of
course, there was a Web Services spin around all three editions of the
Java Platform ≠ J2SE, J2ME, and J2EE.
Many of the J2ME and wireless application vendors represented the European
community. Telecom has always found more early adopters and
standardization in Europe than in the US. The mobile devices market shows
signs of taking off. Several J2ME-powered devices were displayed in the
underground corridors between Moscone North and Moscone South. These
included mobile phones, set-top boxes, and PDAs. Of course, the concepts
have been displayed as prototypes in the previous conferences. Some of
these devices have now become popular in consumer services.
The maturity of J2EE was apparent. And with it, the problems that
organizations have faced in adopting this platform. As companies become
more careful about spending, there are valid concerns about adopting a
platform that requires expensive peripherals. J2EE by itself is a spec.
The actual products are offered by third-party vendors and the complete
suite of application servers, commerce servers, personalization products,
workflow engines, and so on, adds up to quite a formidable sum. This can
put a damper on J2EE enthusiasts. However, there were many cases of real
world applications, which discussed the trade-offs and benefits of using
different aspects of J2EE. Server-side Java computing has definitely come
of age. There was a wealth of information on design patterns, tips and
tricks, J2EE battle scars, architecture, design, and more.
JDJ's POST JAVAONE REPORT: NO MICROSOFT BASHING...
Surprisingly, there was less Microsoft bashing than at previous
conferences. No Bill-Gates-Apple-in-the-face type gimmicks. To me this
indicates a couple of things. One is that the Java Platform technologies
have matured to a stage where proponents of Java donít need a target to
lash out at. Second, the emerging markets powered by XML, Web Services,
and wireless technologies level the playing field to the extent that one
camp has no choice but to acknowledge the otherís presence. In most of the
interviews that we conducted at the SYS-CON Radio booth, the vendors
indicated a neutral stance (e.g., they confirmed the fact that the
Microsoft as well as Sun and other Java supporters have substantial
presence in Web Services). Most vendors are planning to support both. Thus
we will probably see true layers of abstraction created over existing
JDJ's POST JAVAONE REPORT: THE PROGRAM...
A variety of topics was available through the seven tracks that comprised
the sessions of the conference. Monday and Tuesday's sessions contained
basic introductions to new technologies. Most of this stuff can be picked
up from white papers on the Internet. Wednesday through Friday was where
the presenters actually got into the meat of things. Thursday and Friday
were the best days for real-world examples of enterprise applications,
J2EE design and implementation, and J2EE vis a vis Web Services.
One very useful facet of the conference was that Sun actually held the
Java certification exams on site, as well as several developer
competitions. There was also a wealth of information available on the Java
JDJ's POST JAVAONE REPORT: THE PAVILLION...
The Pavilion had a wide variety of exhibitors with demos and showcased
products. My conversations with the vendors led me to believe that most of
them thought the show was a little slower than last year. Congruent with
the themes for the conference, J2EE application servers and IDEs,
messaging products, mobile communications software, and Web Service
frameworks were the norm. Sun had arranged their booth in a rectangle
around all the other vendors. This was a better arrangement than what Iíve
seen in past years.
JDJ's POST JAVAONE REPORT: IT WOES...
The slump in the economy had obviously affected the show. Though the
impact on technology was less apparent, the effect on the conference was
obvious. In 2000 attendance reached 25,000. In fact, Sunís press release
from last year claims that this limitation was only because of the Moscone
Centerís fire marshal limits. No such claims were made this year.
Tuesdayís JavaOne Today, the conferenceís daily newsletter, had the
attendance tagged at 17,000 ≠ about 32% less than last year.
JDJ's POST JAVAONE REPORT: ALL IN ALL A GREAT SHOW...
All said and done, it was a fairly good conference. Not the best JavaOne
as compared to last year, but one certainly well worth attending.. (A.S.)