by Jack Vaughan
Java was one of the major sea changes in the history of application development. It brought some ease of use to objects as well as a usable set of standards for distributed computing. With word last week that the European Union had okayed Oracle’s purchase of Sun Microsystems, the possibility of another sea change must be considered.
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Oracle did not enter the Java era as a middleware leader. At the time, the company was still built around its flagship data base offering–“middleware” was anything that glued your application more tightly to the Oracle DB, thank you. After missteps, Oracle came to embrace Java and J2EE. Its purchase of BEA (for $8.5 billion in January 2008) gave it much more sway in the Java space. Middleware has become a bigger part of Oracle’s planning as the years have gone by, and the Sun purchase may accelerate that.
Java was never just Sun’s–IBM, Oracle, BEA and others had influence on Java direction. But there is no question that Sun had the greatest influence on Java direction. There are more fissures in the Java community now than there were in the past–stripped-down componentized frameworks like Spring are on the rise. It will be interesting to see how Oracle responds, and how fervently it develops and markets Sun’s open-source componentized Glassfish V.3 platform, rolled out just as the lights were going off on Sun’s independent future late in 2009.
This week, Oracle is expected to disclose a more detailed roadmap for its Sun acquisition; look for coverage on SearchSOA.com, and – as always – let us know what you want to know.