Joe Keller is vice president of marketing for Java Web Services and Tools at Sun Microsystems, responsible for driving the company’s product direction in these areas. Previously, he was involved in the company’s iPlanet division, where he minded integration and commerce application technologies. Before joining Sun, he managed the sale of artificial intelligence products at Texas Instruments. InfoWorld Editor at Large Paul Krill spoke with Keller at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco last week about where Java is today and where it is headed, along with touching on the progress of Web services and ongoing questions about whether Sun might join the Eclipse Foundation.
InfoWorld: There was a lot of talk this morning about the NetBeans open source tools platform. I think it could be argued that NetBeans doesn’t really have the reception in the market that Eclipse does, although some would disagree with that. So where is NetBeans headed?
Keller: We’re going to continue to invest in NetBeans. We think there is room for choice in development tools and we’ll continue to drive that. We’ll continue to be, if you will, supportive of Java communities, like Eclipse and others. We support Java communities and will continue to do that. We think there is room for a development tool that provides functionality for those who are developing for all of the Java platforms and provides a set of good choices out there. So we’ll continue to invest in NetBeans and I think you saw a number of demonstrations of that technology supporting development of applications for the Java Micro Edition platform. Earlier in the week you saw continuing support for developers who are looking for an easy-to-develop tool set in Java Studio Creator. And you saw the movement forward [of] our enterprise developers in a number of different projects.
IW: Are there any discussions anymore about Sun joining Eclipse?
Keller: Not currently. It’s something that we went through and evaluated, but we decided that it wasn’t something that was appropriate for Sun to do and that we would continue investing in excellent tools.
IW: Is Java truly portable? Haven’t there been some extensions specific to particular vendors’ technologies?
Keller: Well, Java’s truly portable. And the notion of people building additional Java classes is part of every application that you do. It’s when people require those in a platform sense that they build a dependency that people have to be aware of. And the issue for most developers is not being aware of that dependency when they build on top of extra classes. That’s usually the issue for folks. That is a piece of information a developer needs to know when choosing to write to those extra classes.
IW: Last night I was at a presentation where there were audience members who were pretty frustrated with Web services and WSDL in particular. Do you think Web Services has been overhyped?