One of the good things about difficult economic times is that IT organizations tend to get a lot more practical. In many instances that practicality tends to reduce the temptation to reinvent the wheel. And in the case of Java it seems to be manifesting itself in increased usage all the way from mobile computing devices on one end of the spectrum to mainframes on the other.
That doesn't mean there isn't a lot of innovation taking place in terms of the development of new dynamic application development languages, but it does mean that the usage of those languages is being pretty much confined to developing applications that could not easily be done in an existing language. More importantly, notes Mark Little, senior director of engineering for Red Hat's JBoss Group, those languages are not being used to develop new middleware.
Of course, there's been a lot of drama surrounding Java lately in the wake of the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle. While Oracle took great pains to make sure that the next version of Java had a lot of input from the Java community, the company at the same time reshuffled the steering committee that manages Java in a way that gave Oracle and IBM a lot more control at the expense of companies such as Red Hat. Little says Oracle has assured Red Hat that there was no power grab intended, but, nevertheless, Little says Red Hat is continuing to monitor the situation.
In the meantime, Little says that in the months ahead, Red Hat will concentrate on making its JBoss middleware more accessible to not just more developers, but also to business analysts that increasingly want to be able to integrate various modules of code to facilitate the creation of a new business process without having to get a developer involved in every change to that process.
Ultimately, Little says improvements in Java virtual machine performance, coupled with the rise of cloud computing and less-complex interfaces such as REST that make integration more accessible to a broader number of IT organizations, should mean that Java is on the cusp of truly being ubiquitous.