Friday, August 12, 2005

Here Come the Java Guys

We threw a small party last night to celebrate the ActiveGrid 1.0 release, which was a fun time. We really pushed it to the limit getting this release out, and I was worried that it was going to be a trophy wife release (definition: looks good but does not work), but the 1.0 is actually very stable and applications like our pilot at Pfizer are running well. Kudos to the OpenCrowd guys for getting the Pfizer app done in record time.

The party was one of those unfortunately few and far between times when you get the former CTO/architects of WebLogic, Kiva, and NetDynamics together. This of course led to some good natured ribbing about how scripting languages suck and that I had better see the light about Java. It was pointed out that even the SpikeSource and SourceLabs guys now have Java stacks!

I shared the questions I ask the audience nowadays whenever I give talks, like the last couple of weeks at OSCON and LinuxWorld:

Q: Does anyone remember back in 1996 and 1997 why everyone started running Java on the server? What was the big compelling thing about Java that Sun had up on its home page?

A: WORA (Write Once Run Anywhere)!

Q: What operating system and processor type are the vast majority of new applications deployed on today?

A: Linux/x86!

Q: So do we still need a big abstraction layer above the operating system?

A: Hmmm...

When I was at Sun there was a guy who had this great way to evaluate technology. He said, if it was invented today, would it win? So today's requirements for an application platform are: "Linux/x86 application platform that processes HTML and XML text efficiently and handles unstructured data well." If J2EE came out today would it win this market?

In other news, I was blown away by a demo of Zimbra (formerly Liquid Systems). This is the nicest AJAX application I have seen yet. Yes, yes, the backend is in Java... :)

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