Oracle’s intentions for the future of Java EE have been cloudy, to say the least.
Rumored to have put the project on the back burner, Oracle has weathered a storm of complaints over its stewardship of enterprise Java, with two separate organizations considering plans to move Java EE forward without Oracle. Rather than let Java EE wither, Oracle is instead looking to reboot the platform to better accommodate where enterprises are headed, particularly to the cloud, said a high-ranking Oracle official in response to recent criticism.
In an exclusive interview this week, Oracle’s Thomas Kurian, president of product development, emphasized ambitious intentions to modernize the server-side platform, for which Oracle is gathering feedback now.
“A lot of our goals with Java EE 8 have come from a very simple premise: Where does the next generation of applications run?” Kurian said. Oracle wants Java developers to be “viable in the new world,” given the continued evolution of computing toward cloud deployments, Kurian added.
This modernizing agenda comes amid allegations of Oracle’s disinterest in Java EE, specifically the planned Version 8 release, which is slated for arrival next year but could be delayed. The situation has prompted both Java EE Guardians and MicroProfile.io to consider developing Java EE improvements on their own sans Oracle.
If Oracle’s proposed plans for modernizing the platform go forward, as outlined by Kurian, Java EE Version 8 may provide much-needed benefits for enterprise organizations targeting containers and the cloud.
Modernizing Java EE for the cloud
While Oracle plans to publicly introduce its updated Java EE strategy at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco in late September, Kurian offered several significant details about where Java EE is headed.
“Oracle has a very clear plan for Java EE 8,” Kurian said. This plan, Kurian explained, will move Java EE into modern computing realms, specifically the cloud.
Java EE was written many years ago to help enterprises build websites and applications on top of application servers, Kurian said. Applications have since shifted from that application-server-based model to a cloud-based model, a very different paradigm with distinct requirements for composing applications for reliability and scale. This shift in how infrastructure runs underneath enterprise applications requires a significant evolution of Java EE 8, he said.
Within cloud-based environments, infrastructure no longer relies on application servers running on dedicated hardware. Moreover, an enormous volume of transactions must be handled, requiring a different model for state and transaction management than what has been offered in Java EE for scaling applications, Kurian said. Meanwhile, container technologies such as Docker have emerged, with requirements for externalizing configuration management, deployment of applications, and packaging. Oracle wants to make accommodations for these paradigm changes.
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