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Sun plans 'consumer-friendly' Java SE

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JavaOne Sun Microsystems is introducing changes to Java, boosting speed and improving flexibility for deployment on PCs and consumer-facing devices.

Java Standard Edition (Java SE) 7.0 will feature a special Consumer Java Runtime Environment for desktop Java applications to "start from cold very quickly", the company said Tuesday.

Sun said it's revamping the "install experience to bring a more consumer focus to the desktop". It's not clear whether the consumer runtime will supplant or exist with Java SE's existing runtime.

Also planned is modularisation of the JRE so devices can run the minimum number of applications and instructions with other code "downloaded in parallel".

"This should bring a lot of relief and excitement to the desktop," Java SE platform lead Danny Coward told Sun's annual JavaOne conference.

Changes to JavaSE will feed into GlassFish - Java SE is the basis application server from Sun and rivals. Sun promised a 100 kilobyte kernel in the upcoming GlassFish 3.0, to speed start-up and performance on devices with limited processing and memory capacity. Developers will also be able to dynamically add and remove additional packages to expand the kernel's functionality.

Developers shouldn't hold their breath for these changes appearing any time soon. Senior staff engineer Jerome Dochez said squeezing Glassfish down involved a "big reworking of the application server" and "we are not so far fully Java compliant."

Other changes to Java SE 7.0 focus on improved scripting language support and management. Sun will re-work the Java Archive (JAR) file format for clean installation, and to highlight dependencies on other libraries or code, with something it's calling a "superJAR".

The focus on Java SE comes as Sun announced JavaFX Script and JavaFX Mobile to develop and run multimedia content on mobile phones. Sun appears to believe JavaFX Script and JavaFX Mobile will exist in parallel to Java ME - the current Java platform for mobile devices.

By shrinking core Java SE elements to fit, Sun believes it can bring some more desktop-like richness and functionality to mobile computing without overloading the device's hardware. ®

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