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Oracle seeks Java cloud closure help

Work needed on Java EE plan

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Oracle has outlined a plan for the next version of Java used in application servers that makes it clear that, for once, the giant needs other peoples' help.

The database giant has published Java Specification Request (JSR) 342, intended to convert Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) 7 into a building block of cloud services.

Java EE is used in app servers such as WebSphere, WebLogic, and JBoss - multi-million-dollar businesses owned by IBM, Oracle, and Red Hat.

Details of the published JSR confirm details obtained by The Reg about Java EE 7 and revealed exclusively in our story here last week.

As reported, Java EE 7 will focus on HTML5, web sockets, and REST - Oracle's promised "first-class support" - along with JSON. Contexts and Dependency Injection will be updated and Java caching its getting re-worked with delivery of Java EE 7 due in the third quarter of 2012.

But the JSR reveals that Java EE 7 is not a finished proposal - unlike the earlier Java Standard Edition (Java SE) 7 and Java SE 8 from Oracle. It also shows the giant's dependent on the technical know-how and support from others in Java community to get the plan completed and deliver Java EE 7.

Oracle's said it would "like to solicit community contributions" on Web Sockets and JSON "with an eye on including these technologies in Java EE 7 should their schedule allow it."

The tone is interesting given that Oracle has done plenty to alienate fellow members of the Java community lately, thanks to its handling of the Apache Software Foundation, its U-turn on potential reforms to the Java Community Process (JCP), and its decision to bully its proposed roadmap for Java SE 7 and Java SE 8 through the JCP no matter what people wanted.

While Oracle has the official backing of JCP members the Eclipse Foundation, Ericsson, IBM, Red Hat, and SAP on the two Java SEs, the big names are missing on JSR 342. Instead, Oracle is supported by the Savior Technologies chief technology officer Jeff Genender and Java author and expert Antonio Goncalves.

The JSRs for Java SE 7 and 8 contain no references to soliciting contributions from the community should they have the time. Oracle presented a detailed and comprehensive set of features for the two planned specs and that was it.

The plan for Java EE 7 also leaves a massive door open for Java EE 8 and raises a major question over just how much Oracle can accomplish in Java EE 7.

In an almost throwaway line, Oracle says "this JSR will investigate providing modularity and versioning capabilities". But the company continues: "This work will need to be coordinated with the upcoming modularity JSR for Java SE so as to provide alignment across the SE and EE platforms."

Java SE is the foundation of Java EE, and Java SE 7 is scheduled for completion this coming May. However, it's the follow-on Java SE 8 that is going modular with the inclusion of Project Jigsaw, and that's due for completion in October 2012.

Parsing the JSR, it seems Oracle accepts cloud cannot be delivered in Java EE 7 and the heavy lifting to float Java EE will come in Java EE 8, which we reported is planned for the end of 2013.

Aside from the "investigation" of modularity in Java EE 7, updated Java caching with JSR 107 will be a "candidate for inclusion" in Java EE 7.

Oracle says "several" of the technologies already included in the Java EE platform will be simply updated for latest web standards in Java EE 7.

These will include JAX RS for Restful web services, JMS, and servlets, dependency injection, and common annotations. How far Java EE 7 can or will go in support of Web Sockets and HTML5 is also unclear, as Oracle is far from definitive saying: "it expects" to add first class support.

Oracle will also consider making EJB Entity Beans, JAX-RPC 1.1, JAXR 1.0, and JSR-88 1.2 optional features of Java EE as part of a plan to streamline the spec. ®

You can read what Oracle's got planned in the JSR here. ®

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