Trying to map the current state of Java EE is not an easy task. It’s a bit like trying to map an entire continent: one that has been colonized for many years, has many well-established cities, is growing at a rapid pace and has an abundance of resources. Unfortunately, it is also a continent that still has many unexplored areas, shifting borders, changes in government and even a few places where wars have broken out.

Yet the developers and managers thinking about emigrating their companies to this vast continent still have to till the soil, plant crops, and hopefully harvest the results of their labors. They want guarantees that Java EE is not a swampland that may sink under their feet and, despite recent controversy and lawsuits, the current government (Oracle) isn’t going to abandon Java EE.

It’s safe to say, though, that Java EE is not swampland (although there are still some murky bits), and the government is not likely to pack up and leave anytime soon.

According to a recent statement by Oracle senior VP Steve Harris, “If Java is not successful, we will fail. We really want Java to be successful, so keeping Java open and having developers working in Java is really critical to our success.”

He also reemphasized that Oracle is all about profits. I read this as a good thing, particularly for Java EE developers. Java EE is where the money is.

Could this situation change? Of course. But even if Oracle did a complete about-face and abandoned Java, it likely would still survive in one form or another. There are simply too many people who know the language and the environment, and there are just too many good things about developing in Java. Add in the fact that there are so many people and companies involved with the advancement of Java, and it would be hard to imagine them simply throwing up their hands and moving to an alternative.

But that’s all speculation. What is the current state of Java EE?

Recent history
The most recent version of Java EE, version 6, was released in December 2009. It added quite a few new APIs and addressed a number of other issues.