While Oracle OpenWorld was abuzz about the release of Oracle 12c, Java developers found their big news at this year’s JavaOne, which was essentially the same as last year’s big news. Mark Reinhold, chief architect for the Java Platform at Oracle, gave a keynote address at JavaOne where he further detailed the changes coming for OpenJDK 8, which includes closures and a merging of many of the APIs in Java ME and Java SE.

Those changes to Java ME are intended to make development easier. Java ME and SE will use the same APIs within the OpenJDK and Java SE 8 releases. The move should eliminate many of the differences between the two platforms.

These changes are also designed to expand the appeal of Java to embedded developers. Reinhold demonstrated a chess-playing robotic arm on stage, which he said was controlled by Java, end to end.

But aside from the planned changes in the next version of Java, which is expected to be released by March 2014, most of the big news at the show came from third-party vendors.

For Java developers, a great many options for distributed applications, development environments and cloud-based deployment were shown on the JavaOne expo floor.

Azul Systems discussed Zing 7, the latest version of its highly scalable JVM. Zing 7 includes faster lock-handling operations, performance improvements for Hadoop and Cassandra users, and extended support for in-memory data structures larger than 250GB.

CloudBees was on hand to demonstrate new PaaS support for iOS, as well as integration points for externally hosted enterprise SaaS applications. Sacha Labourey, CEO of CloudBees, said that these new features were added in response to customer demand.

“One of the things we announced this week is app-centric integration,” he said. “A lot of the time, you get a requirement that says, ‘Each time there is a new Salesforce account is created, I want to do something.’ The amount of code you need to do a lot of that is large. Now, we have libraries to make it easy to connect in the JVM. You can get whatever you need in Salesforce. It’s just JSON called on your object.”