This year’s JavaOne conference -- the first to be held under Oracle tutelage -- had a lot to prove. Nine million Java programmers worldwide wanted to see a firm roadmap for Java, and they were given one at the event. 

Three Java Initiatives 

Thomas Kurian, executive vice president for software development at Oracle summarized various items from that roadmap during his keynote. Java, he said, is being optimized for new applications models and new hardware configurations. “We are enhancing productivity for Java developers and integrating modularity into Java Virtual Machines (VMs),” said Kurian.

These Java changes are being carried out through three Java initiatives. Projects Coin and Lambda contain a large collection of features to improve developer productivity with more concise code. Project Jigsaw, on the other hand, is aimed at making the Java Platform more modular.

The Product Roadmap

The product roadmap includes two new OpenJDK releases due in 2011 and 12, the creation of the best VMs on the market, as well as the best HTML 5 and native application experience (Kurian believes that HTML 5 is the future of browser development). He laid out some of the elements involved in achieving these goals.

“The programming model is to combine the power of Java with the ease of JavaFX,” he said. “Another aim is to eliminate anything that would prevent native interoperability between Java, JavaScript and HTML5.”

An improved graphics engine known as Prism is in the works which will eventually lead to a high-performance 2D and 3D engine. For now, the 2D features are being released along with basic 3D capabilities. A fully functional 3D graphics engine will be released in the near future, said Kurian.

JavaFX is being given new APIs to enable smoother UI controls so that developers can easily embed HTML content into Java applications and make them fully interoperable. Further, a standard library of UI controls will be made available in open source.

For those using the Glassfish open source application server platform, Oracle has published a complete list of features to be releases in 2011. The list is published on the Oracle website.

Finally, Kurian addressed mobile applications. The company already dominates the cell phone space and has now set its site on delivering Java and web applications to all consumer devices. That requires the modernization of Java for the mobile world.

“We are committed to making Java the world’s best programming language, the world’s most popular deployment platform with great graphics and other features embedded in Java,” said Kurian.