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Oracle Unveils Plan to Revamp Java EE 8 for the Cloud

| by Abraham Marín Pérez Follow 9 Followers on Aug 15, 2016. Estimated reading time: 3 minutes |

In a recent interview with InfoWorld, Thomas Kurian, president of product development at Oracle, announced an array of potential improvements being planned for Java EE 8. The move is believed to be designed to appease recent critics (like those coming from the Java EE Guardians) and divergent efforts (like the MicroProfile). Although the current statement seems a mere declaration of intentions, further details are to be unveiled at JavaOne 2016.

The Java development community has been increasingly concerned about the future of Java EE, up to the point that, in May this year, the JCP Executive Committee considered issuing a formal motion to Oracle requesting a public response on its commitment and plans for Java EE. The motion didn't go through, although it was recorded at the minutes of the meeting, which effectively turned it into an unofficial motion. Roughly a month after that, a change.org petition was filed by the Java EE Guardians to encourage Oracle not to drop the ball on Java EE, with 3,300 signatories so far.

One may be tempted to interpret these initiatives as isolated cases from unhappy users; admittedly, several of the Java EE Guardians are former Oracle employees. However, more and more members of the community seem to be adding to the critics: on top of the signatures in the change.org petition, a panel called "To EE or not to EE" was held at Devoxx UK on 8th June, where many developers asked questions and expressed their concern about the future of Java EE, both in situ and over Twitter. Also, library authors have indicated that functionalities in Java EE 8 may be insufficient to provide a viable alternative to the libraries they produce, like Tatu Saloranta, lead developer of Jackson, said when asked about the new JSON-B.

It is in this climate that Oracle has released their promise of further functionality being packed in Java EE 8. While the current JSR for Java EE 8 only includes three new major libraries (JCache, JSON-B and MVC), Kurian has now mentioned all the following:

  • Databases: support for persisting data in a key-value store, based on NoSQL, and a transaction model for eventual consistency and relaxed transactions.
  • Security: support for both OpenID and OAuth.
  • Deployment management: a specification for multi-tenancy application services and support for Docker.
  • Asynchrony: a new model for reactive programming and support for asynchronous communication in HTTP/2.

With this announcement, Kurian emphasised that “Oracle has a very clear plan for Java EE 8". However, there aren't any JSRs for the features mentioned, which means either that work still is to be started, which will imply significant delays in Java EE 8, or that Oracle is privately working on these, which would go against the transparency advocated by the JCP. At this point it may be worth to highlight an email allegedly sent by a high-ranking employee at Oracle and that included the following excerpts:

Oracle is not interested in empowering its competitors and doesn't want to share innovation.

The company is slimming down Java EE (Enterprise Edition), but it also doesn't want anyone else to work on Java or Java EE and is sidelining the JCP (Java Community Process). “They have a winner-takes-all mentality and they are not interested in collaborating.”

The email suggests that JCP members publish open letters to Oracle customers to warn them of what is being done to Java. Oracle will never cooperate with any "Java Foundation" and will not release its IP.

Given that these changes are meant to adapt Java EE to the cloud, and taking into account the fierce competition that Oracle faces as a cloud provider (IBM, Amazon, Microsoft, or CloudBees, to name a few, are also targeting that market), it would make sense for Oracle to try and leverage on Java EE so as to increase its market share, even though this would probably come at the expense of antagonising the Java development community. We will have to wait for further announcements in September during JavaOne to understand what the future will hold for Java EE.

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Wait and see by Will Hartung

That's all we can do. Is wait and see.

But I don't think this will be the JEE 8 that we've been looking at for sometime. I think it's going to be a weak publishing of an internal Oracle effort to empower their cloud infrastructure for Java applications, but still offer little to average developers outside of their infrastructure, and even then will likely not be compelling and competitive enough for other providers to want to try and adopt it for their systems.

So, we'll wait and see. Then the community will rally, and likely just go in another direction.

Re: Wait and see by Ryan McDonough

I 100% agree. It's the only thing that makes sense at this point. Oracle is so desperate to monetize Java and get actual users to their cloud. Maybe JavaEE 8 is the magic carrot/stick that'll get paying customers there. Who knows.

It's been too late anyway. Most developers are using Spring. which arguably does use bits of JavaEE, but Pivotal has been adding new capabilities for sometime now. Put it this way, I haven't been pining for a new JavaEE spec. The days of awaiting next spec-compliant sever died in about 2008.

"Trust us" by Thomas Vestergaard Trolle

If you are a company with a good track-record of doing right by your community, then that would probably work - and might even generate some hype about good things to come.

But this is Oracle.

The problem with Java EE is that nothing is happening by William Smith

There’s been no discernible progress for almost a year.

I doubt they’ll have anything to ship until 2018 - getting on for 5 years after 7 shipped. And at one point 7 was going to be all about the cloud as well.

Re: The problem with Java EE is that nothing is happening by Will Hartung

Nonsense! Of course it will ship in '17. It's basically already done, or deep in design internally. They're just back documenting and stamping it with "Java EE", toss out some worthless jar files with meaningless interfaces and stale PDFs and call it a day.

Re: The problem with Java EE is that nothing is happening by William Smith

I admire your optimism!

Seriously though I wonder if this is the beginnings of a more proprietary play for Enterprise Java - i.e. Oracle builds what they feel they need to support their own business model and ignores the needs of the rest of the community. JavaOne could be interesting this year.

Java EE 8 by Tibor Digana

To people who say "Oracle ignores the needs of the rest of the community".
Are you really part of the community? Maybe you are users of Java.
Are you pushing open source code, are you part of JCP and API designers?

Oracle for certain wants to earn some money from Cloud business and that's maybe the reason they got Jelastic in JCP. Nothing against this, I would say very good decision.

I don't need NoSQL or OpenID in Java EE API. And why so?
This would overload Oracle.
I can always download such technologies but what I need from Java/EE is language, API, extension ability and JVM. That's all, no concrete technologies but extensions where the technologies can integrate with application servers and developer can touch and that's the purpose of Java EE but no concrete technologies which just come and go as they always in the history.

I think the Oracle, if they have resources, have to start private activities in their interest of NoSQL or OpenID or Docker and whatever else. The reason is that JCP is conservative and that's the purpose of JCP. If JCP was not conservative, the API would not be generic and would not be useful for all companies nothing but only one company means Oracle. Therefore Oracle has to start private activities, so because Java EE is not framework like Docker. It has an ambition to stay several decades and longer.

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