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Oracle backtracks from Java EE 7 cloud claims

Cloudy components 'might not be quite ready'

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In a move that's becoming all too familiar, leaders of the effort to develop Java EE 7 – the next version of Oracle's Java platform for enterprise computing – have recommended that certain planned components be deferred to a later version in the interest of keeping the project on schedule.

"Despite our best intentions, our progress has been slow on the cloud side of our agenda," Linda DeMichiel, the specification lead for Java EE 7, wrote in a blog post. She added that providing solid support for platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments and multi-tenancy would likely delay the project for another year.

"We have therefore proposed to the Java EE 7 Expert Group that we adjust our course of action — namely, stick to our current target release dates, and defer the remaining aspects of our agenda for PaaS enablement and multi-tenancy support to Java EE 8," DeMichiel wrote.

Her comments are sure to slap a lot of palms onto foreheads among the Java community, since a year ago Oracle was crowing that Java EE 7 would be "the best application server built for the cloud," and that adding cloudy features to the platform was central to its strategy.

DeMichiel admitted that the lumbering, often near-glacial pace of the Java EE development effort must take at least part of the blame for its failure to produce timely support for cloudy enterprise Java apps.

"Partially this has been due to a lack of maturity in the space for provisioning, multi-tenancy, elasticity, and the deployment of applications in the cloud," she wrote. "And partially it is due to our conservative approach in trying to get things 'right' in view of limited industry experience in the cloud area when we started this work."

Overambitious product roadmaps are becoming a pattern for Java. In July, Java SE 8 – the next version of the core Java platform – suffered a similar setback when Oracle decided to defer a much-anticipated modularization feature. At the time, Java SE 8 was already running a year behind schedule.

Even as Oracle retools its focus for Java EE 7, however, cloud vendors are already working on ways to support enterprise Java apps on their platforms. Many have chosen to support Spring, a lighter-weight framework, rather than Java EE.

But as DiMichiel points out, several vendors – including CloudBees and Red Hat – already provide support for at least portions of the current Java EE spec in their cloud environments, and as these vendors gain more experience in this area, they may be able help the Java EE 7 8 effort avoid standardizing its remaining cloudy components prematurely.

"Of course," she writes, "we continue to believe that Java EE is well-suited for use in the cloud, although such use might not be quite ready for full standardization." ®

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