To be honest, the one thing I was wondering about before the opening session was the number of people attending [tag]JavaOne[/tag] this year. And even though the [tag]Opening Session[/tag] looked busy, I was convinced that the numbers were down from last year, which is only natural in the economic climate that we’re in. However this didn’t prevent the opening and then the day being a very enjoyable. On the contrary, the queues were much more bearable and I could find a free seat in all of the sessions.
Just like last year, Chris Mellissinos (Chief Evangalist and Chief Gaming Officer, Sun) was hosting the Opening Session. People from 85 different countries came to attend the 14th JavaOne. Throughout this biggest Java event, they’re going to attend more than 300 sessions presented by more than 600 speakers. Additionally, it’s reported that 60% of the attendees are attending JavaOne for the first time this year.
After presenting these stats, Mellissinos talked about Sun’s new community building tool called DarkChat. DarkChat is built using JavaFX and is running on Project Darkstar. DarkChat looked like a nicely animated tool where the user can join various chat rooms/groups (represented graphically almost like cells and proteins) and can create affinity with other users. By using DarkChat (I haven’t used it yet), it is possible to see what’s going on in other parts of the JavaOne as one can have a look at various categories such as mobility, Java EE etc.
Mellissinos invited Jonathan Schwartz first. Schwartz told us about the power of a simple idea. He quickly mentioned that Java SE 7 JDK and Java EE 6 SDK were out. His first guest was eBay’s James Barrese (Vice President of Architecture, Platforms and Systems). You can imagine that the figures that Barrese showed us were impressive. eBay is the world’s largest commerce platform with 150 million live items and 25 million sellers. The items sold on eBay topped $60 billion last year. Their system currently handles 60 billion database transactions every day and during peak times, it handles 1.6 million transactions per second. Wow! I mean Wow!
Moving to the mobile world, with more than 3 billion Java-enabled devices, Schwartz started to talk about smart phones. He said that RIM is the number 1 smartphone. I guess he implicitly said: “if you think it’s iPhone then you’re wrong, it is RIM’s Blackberry!”
His second guest was Alan Brenner (Senior VP Blackberry Platforms). Brenner looked very enthusiastic about Blackberry’s development potential. He said that RIM currently has 25 million devices. They work with 400 carrier networks and they have more than 300 servers behind firewalls accessing and serving enterprise data. He, then, demoed a contact/address book management application. The thing that made this application special was its reach in contact lookup. Brenner started to write an e-mail and he typed the name of the receiver. As one would expect from a good e-mail client, Blackberry’s e-mail client tried to resolve the name but it couldn’t because there was no such a contact in the address book. The demoed application (if somebody remembers its name please leave a quick comment) went through the e-mails and brought/aggregated results from social networking and similar sites. It used our personal data on the Internet as a passive address book. Brilliant idea… and scary when you see how easily personal data can be used.
The fact that RIM is the number 1 smartphone maker is great for us because RIM exposes a Java API that can be used in building native apps. So Schwartz seemed very happy when he repeated again “Number 1 Smartphone is a Java phone”.
After briefly talking about consumer electronics (Kindle, GPS receivers, TV, Blu-ray etc), Schwartz invited Don Eklund (Executive VP, Advanced technologies, Sony Pictures, Home Entertainement). Of course, the topic of conversation was Blu-ray. With its 50GB capacity and 40Mb/sec transfer rate, it is a great Java-based technology. Eklund quickly showed us a demo using a PSP3 as a Blu-ray reader. He said that they’ve sold 3 million set top players and 7 million PSP3s.
The following guest was Lowell McAdam (President and CEO of Verizon Wireless). Verizon, which is 45% owned by Vodafone, is the biggest carrier in the US with 86 million customers. The open developer initiative that they started last year was focused on hardware. Now they’re having a similar initiative for application developers, which would translate to: “Write Once, Get To 1 billion Handsets!” The open developer initiative for application developers will be officially launched on the 7th of July.
Intel’s Executive VP Diane Bryant was the following guest. This part of the talk was about various processors (Atom, Core, etc.) and how Intel and Sun worked together to take Java into consideration during processor design. Instead of a demo, she invited Paul Ciciora (Department Head, Object-Oriented Infrastructure Developments, Chicago Board Options Exchange) for a testimonial. Ciciora said that their Java/Intel based system is handling 300k messages/sec and 2.5 billion transactions per day with Inter processors that can be overclocked on demand (as long as the data center can keep them cool enough).
Then, Ronan McBrien demoed a LG HDTV running JavaFX. He first brought a live menu/ribbon that allowed the user to interact with a movie database, see trailers, ratings etc. It also allowed the user to rate movies. It also kept animated bookmarks just like chapter selectors. It was pretty cool! As he said, the users want to access the content with the favourite screen of their lives.
Another JavaFX demo was shown by Sun’s Nadidi Ramani (Director of Engineering, JavaFX Platform). She said that JavaFX is a “Cross-Screen” technology. The tool that she presented looked great. It was a content creation tool that allowed her to drag and drop components from a visual library while creating a movie trailer application for multiple screens. The disappointing part was the release date of the demoed tools: End of 2009.
Following the tradition, James Gosling was the next to be on the stage. And came one of the biggest topics of this year’s JavaOne: The Java Store. The idea of launching an application store seems very popular these days and Sun is hoping to repeat Apple’s success. For now, the applications that are on the Java App Store have to be free because they haven’t come up with a remuneration mechanism yet. It sounds like they have various options (I think they said 6) including some PayPal-based ones but they said they want to do it right therefore they want to take their time to think about it without rushing things. I understand where they’re coming from however I seriously believe that for the [tag]Java App Store[/tag] to be taken seriously, they need to make it available to commercial apps. Gosling said that they’ve built the first app store prototype last year and he hesitated in bring it up on last year’s JavaOne.
One very popular application that is already on the Java App Store is the multi player online game called RuneScape. Mark Gerhard (CEO, Jagex) was invited to talk about RuneScape and to receive their Duke’s Choice Award Winner award. RuneScape is a free multiplayer online adventure game that is actively played by more than 10 million gamers, 20% of those being paying customers.
The session’s surprise guest was Larry Ellison in person. He got on stage just after Scott McNealy. The duo talked about Oracle’s acquisition of Sun and what that meant for Java and the Java community. As McNealy put it “It’s all good news!” Sun is #43 in the worldwide R&D budget list. With Oracle and Sun together, MyNealy believes that they’re going to move up to #10-20, which means more R&D for Java and more innovation.
I’m not sure how serious he was but Ellison mentioned Android-based devices and the fusion of Oracle and Sun being capable of producing Java+JavaFX notebooks and devices. Are they getting into this business? I guess time will tell.
All in all it was a great opening session. I’m going to blog about the remaining of the day’s events later. I just need some sleep now (less then 6 hours left on my alarm clock).
Just a quick comment about the organization as well: I’m grateful that there’s coffee offered every now and then. It’s free and people appreciate it. However I don’t understand why there’s no decaf coffee. Today, I was not the only one looking for decaf coffee and returning disappointed…
– Yagiz –