Wednesday, May 07, 2008

JavaOne: Wednesday Keynote

Thomas Kurian Oracle's SVP for Server Software, to talk about Oracle's efforts related to Java. In his intro he warmly welcomes the BEA team to the Oracle family.

Oracle sees developers wanting standards based toolset and single integrated design time tool. Their view obviously is that JDeveloper is the realization of these goals. The JDeveloper demo is mildly compelling. They take an existing web application that tracks sales and update a boring table display with a dynamic chart. It's all wsywig/drag and drop. They really have some nice tooling for JSF. The graph can be rendered using different technologies depending on the actual destination. The default is Flash but for a mobile device like the iPhone the graph would be delivered as PNG or JPEG which was demonstrated. The funny thing about the demo is you have to decide that this change actually makes the application better not just sexier. Oracle is giving away a plugin pack for Eclipse developers to give them a lot of the JDeveloper experience demonstrated in Eclipse. Not much detail about where to get it, nor how much functionality of JDeveloper is represented in the plugin set, but it is completely free.

Kurian also demonstrated integrating forums, discussion groups, and document repositories into their web portal application that pulls in other information regarding the orders processed in the app above. It then allows drilling down to forum posts about the order, to documents, and social network data to allow you to communicate with anyone related to the order. This communication can happen via IM or VOIP all integrated to the portal environment. Again kind of neat and it makes for a great demo. The technology to do this is pretty simple.

Some of the underlying technology is Oracles SCA SOA infrastructure. It is quite buzzword compliant and the demo shows how you can drill down from the running application, to an individual order being processed to see where in the workflow the order is stuck. The workfow is built using a graphical tool. However this is Oracle's tools not BEA Aqualogic. BEA's tools (formerly Fuego) are in my opinion simpler to use but at this point they are not integrated. No surprise since the merger is so new. It will mean an interesting state of flux for both BEA and Oracle customers in the mean time. Part of the demo integrated Aqualogic via a web services interface.

A surprise for me is Kurian's demo of Oracle's grid computing products. They are showing is BEA technology to run JRocket on a Hypervisor eliminating the OS altogether. This is certainly some of the more interesting WLS technology. They are showing some Oracle technologies, App Server and Coherence Data Grid, as well as WLS server running on top of a virtualized JRocket JVM grid. They also demoed the management console for the grid which was web based, allowed for dynamically starting/stopping nodes, and full monitoring of performance in the Grid. The console also plugs directly into the JRocket JVM which would allow you to tune garbage collection, etc. However they also have the ability to use a real-time version of JRocket to make GCs more deterministic. They demoed the ability to change GC on the fly in JRocket. Pretty sweet but I wonder what all of this would cost a customer? My guess is that it's not cheap. It's also difficult to see how most customers would have the technical wherewithal to actually perform this level of tuning. Still it is really cool technology.

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