There's good news on the Java ME front, too. Recognizing the difficulties Java developers face when transitioning between the different platforms, Oracle plans to unify the Java SE and Java ME programming models and APIs. According to Kurian, while there may be a number of different runtimes for deploying Java apps, each optimized for a different class of devices, the programming model will do a better job of uniting the various deployment targets into a cohesive whole.
Another interesting revelation whipped by so fast that a casual listener might have missed it. According to Kurian, Oracle is working on getting the JVM to run natively on hypervisors. If it succeeds, developers may soon be able to run multiple Java instances on a single, virtualized server, without having to install guest operating systems to host the JVMs.
The implications of these efforts are exciting, to say the least. Java has long touted a "write once, run anywhere" philosophy, but the reality of the platform has never really lived up to the hype. Wednesday's announcements make it clear that Oracle is very interested in improving that situation, making Java an even stronger alternative to Microsoft's .Net platform.
Not redundant, but complementary
Much of the rest of the talk about Java in Wednesday's briefing was devoted to explaining how Sun's software will be integrated with Oracle's existing product line. So far, at least, Oracle plans to eliminate nothing. Where Sun's offerings complement Oracle's, the products will be maintained on separate tracks, while products with extensive overlap will be merged.
For example, Oracle plans to improve JVM performance by integrating Sun's HotSpot JVM with JRockit, the high-performance JVM developed by BEA. The combined product will also feature improved real-time monitoring and management, in keeping with Oracle's one-stop management strategy.
Netbeans fans will be relieved to hear that Oracle plans to continue to develop Netbeans as a lightweight development environment, while JDeveloper will keep its role as Oracle's strategic IDE for enterprise Java development. That doesn't mean Netbeans will lie fallow, either; Oracle is already planning to beef up its support for scripting, dynamic languages, and mobile development.
Similarly, although WebLogic will remain Oracle's strategic Java EE application server, Oracle will continue to maintain Sun's Glassfish application server as a "lightweight, rapid development and deployment environment." As with NetBeans, Oracle sees Sun's open source product as a reference implementation, with Oracle's pricier, proprietary solutions offering more value-added features.
But the really eye-opening thing about Wednesday's presentation was just how much Oracle actually had to say about Java. I expected superficial affirmations like Ellison gave at OpenWorld; what I got was almost too much to process. Doubtless we can expect to hear much, much more about Oracle's Java plans in the coming months, and that's great news. I'm not quite ready to say Java developers will be wide awake with excitement yet. But at the very least, they can rest a whole lot easier.
- Oracle's ambitious plans for integrating Sun's technology
- Oracle and Sun: The new IBM?
- Oracle hails Java but kills Sun Cloud
- The rise and fall of Sun Microsystems
- Sun's Scott McNealy: 'Thanks for a great 28 years'
- Oracle's Ellison excited about Sun technologies