JavaOne - Day3 - Wireless World

by Sue Spielman

The letter of this year's JavaOne is "W". Web services and Wireless. The focus of all attention has been ping-ponging between these two. This morning's keynote set the tone: in the wireless market, don't think of the carrier as the ISP, think of it as the platform. There was a Blackberry demo focusing on J2ME/J2EE integration. Using a sales scenerio, there was an SAP app on the back end handling customer orders, along with other information of interest to the sales rep. Using the Blackberry running a J2ME and accessing the SAP app through the firewall, the app was pushing information (sales order status) to the device. The sales rep could then drill down and get additional information on things like back orders or customer contact info, and then s/he could dial the phone number of the customer contact right off the Blackberry. It was easy to see why people are becoming addicted to the Blackberry. This might be the same reason that the line to get the device-of-the-show, the Sharp Zaurus, has been around the corner. Until today that is. Today, the "sold out" sign went up at the booth.

I also spent some time talking the the SprintPCS folks after the keynote. If you haven't started paying attention to the Micro edition, here's why you should. Later this summer, Sprint is rolling out a full 3G data platform network. They're going for speeds of 144 Kbps this year, 288 Kbps in 2003, and 3Mbps in 2004. The need for speed has always been here; now finally the way to handle it is arriving. The Samsung A800 and N400 phones are rolling out with active matrix color screens that enable support for multimedia and 3D graphic APIs. Check out the developer's kit on the SprintPCS site. Based on MIDP, Sprint is adding additional network (HTTPS, TCP/IP, SSL) support, Muglet APIs (context handling between applications), and multimedia. The SprintPCS developer program is also getting into full swing with the Vendor Machine model. Build your J2ME apps, upload them to the Vendor Machine (check out JSR-124 for more info), set your own pricing model, and it all can be provisioned on the fly by customers. It was demonstrated this morning, and it also has a private Vault. The Vault can be used to store MIDlets that are purchased so that you don't have to have them all loaded on your phone at once. Find more developer info at

It's good to see that the J2EE/J2ME integration is really taking hold. I walked through a demo on workforce automation with the folks at Interlink who are showing an internal Web services app. Using a variety of clients and devices (J2ME, Palm, Browser, Rich client), they are offering web services that provide presentation services using a variety of application sevices (reporting, alerts, queries) to access various business services. What I really liked about this is that we aren't talking games here. We're talking honest-to-goodness live Web services applications providing useful business models and using all sorts of devices. There are some exciting times coming on the development front for all of us. If your hair isn't standing up on the back of your neck by now, you might want to think about getting another career.

The gadget mania device showcase in the Pavillon also has an array of pretty cool devices including; smartcards, video phones, PDAs, phones. There's been a constant number of techies salavating at the thumb candy behind the casing. Two new VMs (code name Project Monty) for the CLDC and CDC/Dynamic Compiler were also announced today that offer up to 10 times better performance than today's VMs on smaller footprints.

On the J2EE front, some news on upcoming JSP/Servlet happenings. Servlet 2.4 (JSR-154) is looking to be focused on extensiblilty, enhancments to the listener model, session/login managment and consolidation. 2.4 looks to be more conservative then the 2.3 release. The spec is still in the expert group but should be going into public review very soon. Some major highlights include:

  • using XML schema (instead of DTD's) to define deployment descriptors (i.e the ablility to do validation)

  • The listener model is being completed. including adding new listeners for request/response cycle events (like start, stop, change, filter), as well as listeners for scopes (application, session, full filter chnage execution)

  • Session and login management improvements, as in actually defining the relationship between the two. And a portable logout method (Hurry!).

  • Consolitation for better portability and some more semantic clarifications.

  • On the JSP 1.3 front (currently in Expert Draft), the major goal is to simplify. Key new features include Expression lanaguage (EL) support and Fragments. EL support is actually in the current JSTL, but will be moving into JSP 1.3 due to current release schedules. EL will be available to the JSP and taglibs, as well as template text. There is still talk of having functions supporting in the EL, but it hasn't been decided yet. Fragments will provide a better abstraction mechanism for custom actions (i.e custom tags). It will allow authors to take JSP code and turn it into custom actions without going through the actual process of writing custom tags. This feature should significantly simplify what it takes to make body content and custom actions. Keep an eye out for the community and public reviews for the JSP 1.3 spec and get your input heard in the JCP process.

    In the spirt of the wireless mania, OTA and out for today.