Java EE Marked For Death

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Although the Java programming language will endure, the Java EE framework may be deader than a doornail by 2010.

There is a coffin and a headstone carved with Java EE’s name on it, and service-oriented architecture (SOA) will wield the spade while the carillon tolls.

The prediction of Java EE’s demise as a framework surfaced in a TechTarget report on the analysis of Burton Group’s Richard Monson-Haefel, who believes the latest release of Java EE is simply too complex to endure in the same world as lighter frameworks like Ruby on Rails.

“JEE5’s failure to address complexity is a harbinger of the Java EE platforms’ fall from dominance in the enterprise development platform arena. Organizations should look elsewhere when considering new enterprise development and should plan for the eventual sunset of Java EE as an enterprise solution.”

Monson-Haefel also noted the combination of web services and SOA as minimizing the significance of what runs on the back end of applications:

“(Web services and SOA) emphasize how you interface with each other, which is XML and HTTP for Web services, for instance. What’s running behind the scenes is really less important.”

Java EE can endure as a viable framework, conditionally speaking. Redmonk analyst Michael Cot looked at a possible future for Java EE and potential alternatives:

When I boil it down, Java EE programmers want two things: transactions and scalability. Every single alternative is eventually judged by those two criteria. Once an alternative has the same level of mind-share for doing transactions well and scaling, Java EE will be truly threatened.

Java EE can build on those two criteria, which Cot noted are strengths of the platform:

Java EE also needs to become a more inclusive platform, pulling in as many non-Java languages and technologies as possible.The LAMP genie is out of the bottle, but it highlights strategic thinking for Java EE in the future: it needs to become not just a container, but the entire platform for development.

Abstracting away the OS was the early dream, but the missing feature to all of that was limiting the platform to Java only. The dynamic language JSRs are key to realizing this broader platform play. As such, the nest bet for Java EE’s long-term survival is for the Java EE community to make running dynamic languages and frameworks like PHP, Rails, JavaScript, and python work as well in Java EE as they do in Linux.

Keeping Java EE a mono-language platform will be Sun’s fatal flaw, should it be superceded, according to Cot. “I don’t yet see WS-* driven SOA as any sort of panacea of the Next Great Framework, but we’re now starting to see a solid WS-* backlash that could lead to the ideal SOA we’ve been mashing out over the past few years.”

Opening the Java EE platform will be the key, he said; otherwise, Linux will win the day as the operating system and the container of choice.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Java EE Marked For Death
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