JavaOne: Rich Internet Applications steal the show
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Late spring in San Francisco signals the beginning of the summer fog but for Java developers there is a more significant annual milestone: JavaOne rolls into town. Since its inception in 1996, the conference has been the focal point for showcasing the latest and greatest in Java development. ILOG has maintained a presence here for the last decade and this year the focus is on the JViews graphical component suite.
Rich internet applications
"There is a particularly strong interest in thin client development, giving us ample opportunity to show off our Ajax components", says Ed Kiraly from ILOG's visualization product marketing team. "The whole Rich Internet Application (RIA) space is hot right now" explains the JavaOne veteran. Large enterprise players from Cisco to Tibco are showing a strong interest in smart thin clients and rich web interfaces. ILOG, as
ILOG's Elixir offering built atop Adobe's Flex framework is also interesting in this respect. Although how exactly do you hook up Java applications to this interface? Duane Nickull from Adobe answered this question for me, explaining how Adobe's service oriented Lifecyle ES (Enterprise Suite), a J2EE server, forms the vital bridge between data and display.
Internalizing Google Map Mashups
On the subject of data and display, Ed drew my attention to a particularly interesting application of a Google Maps mashup that the JViews development team have produced. Blinking lights and bright green pipes over the map of San Francisco showed specific traffic movement across San Francisco's highways. This in itself is nothing new and there are countless examples of these kinds of applications across the web. Where this gets interesting is when you realize the data overlayed on top of Google Maps is internal - something not possible with a generic implementation of Google's API. Possible applications? How about an organization mapping out movements of its sales team for internal monitoring.
A global feel
So, where is most prospective interest coming from? According to ILOG sales rep Mark Steidel, booth visitors aren't restricted to North America. There is interest from Canada and Europe and further afield Asia as well. Mark states JavaOne is by far the most important event for ILOG's visualization product line.
The human face of Java
With the proliferation of enterprise-level development platforms over the last few years, Sun Microsystems really has its work cut out staying on top of the game.
'Java + You' is the JavaOne theme this year. This roughly translates as offering you (the consumer) the services you want, whether it be consumer-level or enterprise-level software. Sun is there, slap-bang in the middle. More human, nay more sexy, as Sun proved with the center-stage placement of that music god of the old-school Silicon Valley set: Neil Young. The approach has worked, if the front pages of the tech dailies are anything to go by.
Meanwhile, on the pavilion floor Project Wonderland takes pride of place among the sprawling Java booth space. This toolkit allows developers to build 3D virtual worlds
ILOG Technical Account Manager (TAM) Dan Jeffrey recommended Albert-Laszlo Barabasi's treatise on the behaviour of networks: Linked. Especially pertinent in these times when the conception, construction and management of online social networks is all the rage.