There's an old joke: "It's not progress I'm against, it's just change that I loathe!" This isn't one you hear told very often in Internet technology circles!
But Sanjay Sarathy is right. As he says in his "Guest Editorial" at the front of the issue, it would be easy to feel sympathy for the poor CIOs, line-of-business executives, or even developers, who, every time they feel they've figured out how to take full advantage of one edition of Java, find themselves promptly confronted with another.
But for once, or so it seems to me from the sidelines anyway, this isn't a case of technology being dominated by two types of people - those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand...with Sun Microsystems falling into the second category. On the contrary, the general consensus among industry executives and commentators alike seems to be that Sun - for all its recent headline-making economies - is truly on to a winner with J2SE, J2EE, and J2ME.
Nearly everyone I spoke to or interviewed in the last few weeks and months of conferences and travel - from Mumbai to Seoul to San Francisco to New York to Paris to Copenhagen - has emphasized the self-evident and increasing maturity of the Java platform. Sun, they clearly feel, has been an astute and able custodian of its own technology.
Small Is Big
Everyone has been asking JDJ's editorial board members, ever since JavaOne, what was truly the biggest news? Well, to me there's little doubt that it was also the smallest news: J2ME - the small-footprint Java 2 MicroEdition.
According to Sun's own estimates, there are already 3 million mobile phones enabled with J2ME. Nokia's President, Pekka Ala-Pietila, traveled all the way from Tokyo to San Francisco to announce at JavaOne that Nokia confidently expects this total to increase to a staggering 50 million Java-enabled phones by the end of 2002 and 100 million by the end of 2003.
It's interesting to note that another mobile story has been unfolding...involving not J2ME but J2SE. A new operating system for information appliances, such as advanced PDAs, Web tablets, and so-called "smart phones" has recently been launched. It's based not on J2ME at all, but on plain vanilla Java 2, Standard Edition.
In public beta release for the first time just last month, this new OS supports the full J2SE platform. savaJe XE 0.1.1 (to give it its official name) is the first and only OS to date that allows information appliances to run full J2SE applications, but it probably won't be the last. Anyone who has used a Compaq iPAQ handheld device - reviewed in this issue of JDJ in the J2ME Section - will tell you: even without going to Japan, it's possible to sense that the next wave of wireless devices is going to embed Java firmly not just into people's minds but also into their handheld devices.
On the other hand, no matter how bright the future may seem for PDAs and for wireless Java, recent events with Psion remind us of the enormous difficulties of being involved with hardware. As the old adage goes, "We are all manufacturers. Making good, making trouble, making excuses." Java can help solve all sorts of technical problems, but those who would use it to achieve ROI still need to have a sound business model.
Conference Draws Near
The JDJEdge 2001 Conference & Expo, the largest Java conference ever held on the East Coast, is fast approaching. Opening keynote speakers include the father of Java himself, James Gosling, and Dr. Alan Baratz, formerly president of JavaSoft and of the Software Products & Platforms division at Sun Microsystems, now CEO of Zaplet, Inc.
As well as a full program of richly varied technical sessions on J2SE, J2EE, and J2ME, there will also be a high-powered SuperSession in which key industry figures will dissect for delegates and attendees the fast-emerging new Web Services Paradigm of distributed Internet applications.
It's all at the Hilton, New York, on September 23-26. I'll see you there!
Jeremy Geelan, editorial director of SYS-CON Media, speaks, writes, and broadcasts about the future of Internet technology and about the business strategies appropriate to the convergence of business, i-tech, and the future.