The recent release of the OpenJDK and Java SE 7 gave JavaOne attendees plenty to talk about this year. Hosted alongside Oracle’s OpenWorld, JavaOne was packed with details about the recent releases and the future of Java as a platform.

Adam Messinger, vice president of development for Oracle Fusion Middleware group, laid out the future of the language in a keynote speech at Oracle OpenWorld yesterday morning, and he also announced the release of JavaFX 2.0 for Windows and its related tooling in NetBeans 7.1. JavaFX will also be pushed into the OpenJDK 8 release, and the rest of the JavaFX code will be ready for open-source release.

Project Avatar (also attached to OpenJDK 8) is aimed at blending HTML5 front ends with Java back ends, regardless of platform. Cameron Purdy, vice president of development at Oracle, said that it is imperative for HTML5 and Java to work well together.

“The industry is coming to a point where there’s going to be a lot of investment in HTML5 technologies,” he said. “I would bet on that being aggressively and widely adopted around the industry, and we are betting on that. We’re making very specific investments to both modernize and make it relevant to the next generation of applications.”

Java EE evolving
The OpenJDK is not the only thing in focus for Oracle’s Java developers. Purdy also detailed some of the goals for the Java EE 7 release. In a word, the theme of this release will be “cloud.”

Purdy also said that there are already seven implementations of the Java EE 6 application server. “This is the fastest uptake we’ve had from an implementation point of a specification. Java EE 6 is alive and well,” he said.

“What we’re looking to do in Java EE 7 is to build on that and continue on these themes. We’re looking at cloud computing. How do we create the next generation of the EE platform? That is really geared for the style of application represented by cloud compute environments. We’re looking at being able to create application containers that run on anything from EC2 to virtualization technologies, and down to real hardware.”

To that end, Java EE 7 may add some provisioning features, said Purdy. Thus, Java EE 7 applications could conceivably handle their own autoscaling in cloud-hosted environments, and could provision extra servers for time with a high volume of workloads.

Further changes to EE are aimed at the way the project will be handled internally at Oracle, said Purdy. “Java EE is being developed in the open. While we’re behind the curve on cloud, that’s the best place to be standardizing from. You can see what works and what doesn’t work,” he said.

Java ME comes home
Messinger also had big news for the future of Java ME. Rather than announcing new features or platform expansions, he announced that the entire project will be coming back to Java SE. Rather than keeping Java ME as an entirely separate branch of Java, it will become a subset of the OpenJDK’s many projects, enabled through the Java modularization project in OpenJDK 8, known as Project Jigsaw.

About Alex Handy