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'Silent majority' is content with elderly Java, says startup

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Oracle might be looking at Java 7 and 8 to float clouds, but tech vendors are only just adopting Java 6 as a serious prop for web-based computing.

Platform-as-a-service startup CloudBees has become the latest Java supporter to embrace a part of the Java Enterprise Edition 6 spec from two years ago for web development.

CloudBees this week announced it is adding full support for development and deployment of Java EE Web Profile.

The Web Profile was introduced with Java EE in December 2009 to make programming Java apps for web easier by delivering a kind of template that stripped out superfluous EE features.

You can see the Web Profile's contents here.

The Web Profile was devised as an answer to those who believed, rightly, that Java EE had become a bloated and monolithic programming stack. Others had already tackled this, most notably Spring Source's Spring Framework – Spring Source is now owned by VMWare.

CloudBees isn't the only one spinning up the industry's commitment to Java EE 6.

IBM delivered its WebSphere Application Server 8 in June with Web Profile included in its support for Java EE 6. Resin, the Java application server from Caucho Technology, is also certified as compliant with Java EE 6 Web Profile.

WebSphere and Resin follow Red Hat's JBoss 6.0 application server, which was released in December 2010 with support for the Web Profile spec, and GlassFish 3.0.1, Oracle's offering in June 2010.

It is not unusual these days for Java vendors to lag behind the latest version of Java when it comes to certification, although it wasn't always thus. In the white-hot days of Java 2 Enterprise Edition 1.3, who could certify first was a serious business, as the middleware makers were in land grab for customers.

Oracle's chief executive Larry Ellison publicly bet his database giant could beat smaller BEA Systems to J2EE 1.3 certification during his June 2001 JavaOne keynote, but it was BEA who came first. Oracle was the ultimate victor, buying BEA and snuffing out one of its toughest rivals.

The number of suppliers may have contracted and developer tastes changed in favor of smaller, more modular containers, but companies clearly think there's a large number of enterprise Java customers out there ready for web programming based on the Web Profile.

These include CloudBees. You can now use Web Profile's developer PaaS to work with application servers other than Tomcat, based on the Java EE 6 spec.

Sacha Labourey, CloudBees chief executive and founder, told us Java EE has taken a bashing for being big, sometimes with good reason. But: "There's a big silent majority working with Java EE and using application servers. If you listened to the hype, everybody would be doing Ruby on Rails and Spring." ®

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