Java One on tap

ITworld.com –

One day after Microsoft begins its yearly TechEd developers' event in Orlando, arch- rival Sun Microsystems will kick off its annual gathering of the Java faithful at the JavaOne Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco.

The event will provide an apt meter for gauging Java's momentum, which in some ways, at least, may outpace Microsoft developer fever these days. In fact, for those who count such things, JavaOne conference organizers expect 22,000 attendees at this year's event. Microsoft, for its part, estimates that over 11,000 developers will make the trek to TechEd this year.

This year's event marks the five-year anniversary of Java itself (Java was "born" in May, 1996), and organizers seem to be pulling out all the stops. "We are testing the limits of the San Francisco fire marshal," enthused Bill Roth, group product manager for Sun's the Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition. "It's going to be huge."

According to Roth, wireless technology is a "key theme" at this year's show. "Our story at JavaOne is about how the Java platform are being used in wireless applications from cell phone to supercomputers," he says. "Expect some big announcements in the wireless space."

Among the expected announcements at this year's show is the completion of a new Java Virtual Machine for handhelds and wireless devices. Sun's Connected Limited Device Configuration (CLDC) is aimed at devices lacking the memory and processing power to run an operating system and Personal Java together. The new "Kilobyte VM" takes up only about 256KB of memory. The KVM was first demonstrated running on Palm PDAs at last year's conference.

Attendees can also expect a host of announcement about the continuing adoption of Java 2 Enterprise Edition by developers. About 40 of the technical sessions will focus on J2EE; only a handful of those sessions will be run by Sun. Sun recently announced J2EE licensing agreements with Oracle, BEA, Silverstream, and Sybase.

Conspicuously absent from the list of licensees these days is IBM, a company that had a lot to do with making J2EE possible, and which asserts that it is a "J2EE licensee," although it has apparently failed to settle disputes with Sun -- royalties and branding-rights seem to be the touchy points -- in time for this year's show. In any case, it's safe to say that there will probably be lots of talk at the conference about J2EE and Java's recent inroads into the $2 billion application server market.

This year's speaker lineup includes the obligatory conference keynote kickoff from Sun's cheeky chairman and CEO Scott McNealy, and some special mystery keynote guests, whom Roth describes as "really, really big." Sun's relatively new president of software products and platforms, Pat Sueltz, who left IBM just before Christmas to join the Team Java, will also speak.

The speakers with the star power at this year's show (mystery guests notwithstanding), are Sun fellow and Java inventor, James Gosling, and Sun chief scientist and Jini creator, Bill Joy. Both will speak on Wednesday morning. Joy gained recent notoriety for an article he wrote for Wired magazine warning of a future in which humans become an endangered species at the hands of unchecked technological development.

More than 300 sessions are scheduled for this year's event, covering new developments in all of the current incarnations of the Java 2 Platform: Standard, Enterprise, and Micro Editions, as well as Sun's Jini connection technology and Enterprise JavaBeans. Attendees can expect to find at least eight sessions on Sun's new Jiro technology, including previews of the upcoming 1.0 release. Jiro is a Java-compliant storage management platform, built round a component model and an object model. It incorporates Jini connection technology to manage remote devices-- servers, applications, and devices on networks.

In the past year, Sun has managed to turn "dot-com" into a verb with its "dot-com your business" TV and print ad campaign. It's safe to say that attendees will be seeing a lot of dots at this year's show.

Includes additional reporting by Jack Vaughan, Itworld.com.

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