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Sun Targets 'Corporate Developers' with RAD Tools

Sun hopes to find 7 million new Java developers by introducing rapid-application-development tools targeted at developers whose skill levels and business needs call for simpler technologies. At the JavaOne conference, Sun demonstrated these tools and touted the ease-of-development initiatives that it hopes will attract these developers to Java.




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an Francisco, Calif.—Sun says it plans to more than triple its developer base in the next few years. The plan is to target developers whose skill levels and development needs call for simpler tools than the complex enterprise development technologies for which Java is known. During the keynote at the 2003 JavaOne developer conference on Wednesday morning, Sun Vice President of Development Tools and Java Software Richard Green acknowledged that if Sun is to reach its goal of growing the current 3 million Java developers to 10 million, it can't expect to find that audience among the advanced technologists and enterprise architects it historically has served. "The enormous growth opportunity is in the area of the corporate developer," said Green, "it's the largest segment of all, and it's where we need to go next."

Sun defines the corporate developer as an IT professional who periodically needs to create low-complexity applications that increase productivity among a workgroup, yet prefers not to code by hand. Someone who is more concerned with assembling applications than coding is how Green described one. A corporate developer, according to Sun, generally works inside the firewall, in a single domain, and within a workgroup.

Sun used much of the keynote to tout its premier initiatives for capturing this type of user: the Java language's upcoming support for scripting languages, and the upcoming development tools, Project Rave and Project Relator.

Calling All Scriptors
To voice the importance of scripting languages, Sun had Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly and Associates, address the audience. O'Reilly, who has been a proponent of scripting languages for some time, believes they are more important than people seem to think. "[They are] underground, but an incredibly important, incredibly viable part of the computer industry," he said.

"Scripting languages lower the barrier to being a developer."
The throngs of novice developers who began as Web designers and went on to learn scripting languages to produce more advanced Web site functions are exactly the type of developers Sun is now targeting—which isn't lost on O'Reilly. "Scripting languages lower the barrier to being a developer," he explained.

A current Java Specification Request (JSR), Scripting Pages in Java Web Applications (JSR-223), describes how to write portable Java classes that can be invoked from a page written in any scripting language, with PHP serving as the reference scripting language implementation.

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