What are they going to announce?

by Tim O'Brien

In the absence of info, I'll make some predictions. Make your own predictions in the comments.

I'm going to guess that the keynote is going to talk about Project Caroline. If it is ready, Sun is going to want to position this as the big announcement for this year's JavaOne. I've already blogged about how I see the momentum with Amazon EC2 (utility) and Salesforce.com (apps) in this space. Google has arrived a bit late to the party, they already have an offering in SaaS via Google Apps, and everyone seems to assume that whatever solution they come up with in the PaaS area is going to ultimately succeed for the obvious reasons... they have the culture, people, and scale to make something like this work. Few dare to doubt Google.

...which brings us to a company which is familiar with making big announcements greeted by a symphony of silent doubt (Sun and JavaFx). The Register broke this story back in February. If those PDF slides (in the Register story, I don't deeplink), are accurate we're looking at utility computing a step above EC2. Instead of expecting people to interact with a series of web services, it appears that there is some sort of Java API. Caroline is going to be met with a chorus of doubt, but there are some interesting things from those slides. I think Sun has the ability to come out of the gate with some features that EC2 is just adding to the offering, and I also think that Sun has this "full-stack" of technology products that span the entire spectrum.... if anyone can pull it off, I think Sun can. But, they are late to the party and they have a lot of catching up to do.

Something Big About JavaFx?

I'm predicting that Danny Coward formally introduces some ultra-fast Java Plugin and that we'll see a big upgrade to the JavaFx product.

We should expect to see some real meat behind JavaFx at this year's JavaOne. If we don't see something big about JavaFx, then it is going to make it tough for Sun to remain credible. And by "big", I don't mean tighter NetBeans integration. JavaFx was the big announcement last year, they established an open source project "openjfx" on java.net, but take a look at the developer and user mailing list traffic over the last year.

Month Dev List Messages User List Messages
Mar 20082192
Feb 20081132
Jan 2008081
Dec 2008082
Nov 20073152
Oct 20070140
Sep 20075414
Aug 20077100
Jul 20073233
Jun 200713226
May 2007119481

There's some activity in the user list. It looks like there is something of a healthy community in the openjfx site, but openjfx appears to be nothing more than a Wiki and a series of sample applications. The "codebase" hasn't changed substantially in about 5 months, and most of the dev list activity is commits to the web site. Openjfx looks like a ghost town.

Clearly, development of the compiler happens somewhere else, and because I see so many JavaFx sessions this year one has to imagine that there is a whole chunk of new code wrt JavaFx that is going to be announced at JavaOne. Sun is also going to have to do something about the speed with which Java starts in the browser to answer all the nagging questions from last year. I'm guessing that Chris Oliver is chained to a desk working on some impressive demonstration right now? He wasn't a very frequent blogger, but it isn't a good sign that he hasn't blogged since December 2007. (Maybe it is a good sign, maybe it means he's focused on JavaFx?)

Consumer JRE

Danny Coward announced an early release of the Consumer JRE last October. I'd be surprised if this hasn't really matured by this year's JavaOne. Danny Coward's blog is like Chris Oliver's blog in that there are huge gaps. I think he blogged once in Nov 2007 and then once again last month. If we see anything about JavaFx at this years JavaOne it is going to have to be closely followed by a demonstration of a Java Plugin in a browser that loads so fast you don't even notice that you are looking at an applet.


David Herron
2008-04-18 13:14:54
"ultra-fast Java Plugin"? Have you taken a look at 6u10? That's where your ultra-fast Java Plugin is, it's already been announced, and you can download it today to try out. "Openjfx looks like a ghost town" .. Well, inside Sun JavaFX is not a ghost town and I have no idea why there isn't more public dev-list activity. "Clearly, development of the compiler happens somewhere else" is a big 10-4. If you scrolled down to the bottom of https://openjfx.dev.java.net/ you'd see a link to https://openjfx-compiler.dev.java.net/ which is the project for the compiler. "Consumer JRE" .. that has morphed its name into 6u10.
Josh Marinacci
2008-04-19 08:27:42
We are indeed heads down in our pre-JavaOne cruch. In fact, I just spent a few days in LA with Chris and another developer working on some seriously awesome demos. Only two more weeks...