Sun Beats the Drums for Java
Without much news of its own to announce, Sun Microsystems enlivens a ho-hum JavaOne with taiko drummers and scores of product demos
By Chris Preimesberger, Senior Editor
San Francisco (June 5, 2001)
—Seventeen thousand JavaOne attendees needed no java to jolt them into consciousness Tuesday as they filed into the main auditorium at Moscone Center to hear the morning's keynote by Java creator Dr. James Gosling. Sun said "good morning" via the ear-piercing thunder of the San Francisco Taiko Dojo
drum corps, a 12-person troupe who belted, bopped, and bombarded their instruments in tribal fashion for more than 30 minutes, eliciting numerous winces from attendees.
Sun must have read some of the reviews about the first day of the show. "Boring" and "lackluster" were commonly used adjectives to describe CEO Ed Zander's opening keynote.
Gosling was his usual jovial self. He demonstrated some new wireless toys (a Motorola phone that doubles as a video camera and a Nokia handheld mini-computer, complete with keyboard), told a couple of stories about the genesis of Java, and cannonaded T-shirts into the crowd. Yes, literally—with a custom-built cannon.
He actually did get into a few technical topics involving the Java Community Process, saying that the JCP's longtime, most requested feature—generics—may finally be added to the overall specification. Go to this page at Sun's Java site, register for the JCP, check out the "Adding Generics" page, and see if you agree with the master.
Phil Burt of SoftSynth.com, a company that uses Java Music Synthesizer Language (JMSL) to compose music projects over the Internet, including collaborative ones, joined Gosling onstage and demonstrated how a Java-written program can actually play "space music" online. To find out for yourself how this works, check out their site.
Major Product Announcements
Among the news announced by the largest U.S. high-tech companies:
IBM wants to save the world for the open-source community with its new open-source toolkit. Big Blue announced its new WebSphere 4.0 e-infrastructure software and boasted that it can handle twice the number of transactions as close-competitor BEA's WebLogic Server for the same cost. It says it has the benchmarks to back up its claim. In contrast to Oracle's "one size fits all" strategy, IBM says it is addressing a "fundamental shift" in the e-business market that requires individual attention—and therefore much more customization.
"We're also coming out with a set of prepackaged e-business APIs for mobile apps, business integration, and something we call 'user experience'—kind of a portal thing," said Scott Hebner, IBM's WebSphere product manager. "Our new app development toolkit, VisualAge 4.0, also is newsy in that it is now open source; developers can configure the tools any way they want to build the apps they want."
Oracle simply wants the e-business world to know that one size does indeed fit all. The Redwood Shores–based company is now offering free access to its new Oracle 9i database with J2EE support through its OTN Web site. The company is giving all the attendees at JavaOne a free copy of the 9i Application Server Java Developer's CD that also includes Oracle's JDeveloper toolkit, which the company touts as the industry's first complete Java/XML IDE. The company insists that Oracle 9i can scale from small businesses and move seamlessly into the heavy-duty corporate e-business environment without blinking one bit.
Hewlett-Packard is entering the Web services world too. HP is counting on its new Web services package, HP Core Services Framework, to bring it into the ballgame with the other companies noted above, as well as with Microsoft and myriad other companies. HP Core Services creates a standard mechanism for assembling components in Java server apps. For ISVs and other developers, this package enables modular inclusion of new services and APIs within applications that are based on the new framework.
The Palo Alto–based company also announced the availability of its new HP Internet Server, which consists of its standard HTTP server and a JSP Servlet engine. The advantage of this, the company says, is to allow developers to quickly and easily embed these services into their own applications. The Internet Server is the first one built on the Core Services Framework and will become freely available for download from the HP Web site in July. It will serve as the company's standards-based foundation for developing Web-application services and is one of the first implementations of the Java Services Framework (JSR 111) specification.
Then there's Intel. Yes, Intel. The Santa Clara–based chipmaker is marketing its own set of development tools under the Intel Architecture (IA) brand, including optimized JDK tools for the Pentium, Xeon, and Itanium processor families; application servers available on IA 32-bit and expanding to Itanium 64-bit architecture; Java Performance Services available from one of the 10 international Intel Solution Service Centers worldwide; and a Vtune Performance Analyzer.
Hot T-shirt spotted on the show floor: "C++...My Boss's Grade Point Average."