Impact of GPL'd Java on XML

by Kurt Cagle

The recent announcement that Sun would be GPL'ing Java has caused an immediate (and well deserved) reaction among the technical blogosphere. It's another one of those titanic shifts that occur periodically as large software companies jocky for position, one that causes all of the pebbles on the Go board to suddenly shift into a different alignment. I'm sure that these pages will be analyzing this move for months, but I thought I'd get my two cents in now while the topic's still germane.

Java and XML have long had a significant, albeit somewhat uneasy, relationship. Most of the early XML tools were written in Java, and even today, many of the major ones, from Saxon to a number of the Apache technologies, appear first in Java form before showing up in other languages. Eclipse, the open source editor that is rapidly becoming one of the major development platforms for XML work, is of course fundamentally a Java application, and it is fair to say that Java likely has near as many (if not more) developers in its fold as C++.

That being said, it took XML to accomplish what Java couldn't. Most communication that goes over TCP/IP nowadays is not done via either Corba or RMI - instead, its marshalled XML as either SOAP or REST-like messages (with a growing proportion of JSON added into the mix). AJAX has largely replaced Java applets as the mechanism for providing functionality on the web, and on the server Java's role is increasingly a supporting one to host either XML based services or XML oriented server frameworks.


Charles Foster
2008-02-20 09:16:20