J2ME fragmentation "thing of the past" says JCP. (Wireless News Review).Fragmentation of Java--it's possible on mobile devices, but will be ultimately defeated once a proposed specification is finalized by the Sun Microsystems Inc-backed Java Community Process Sun's system for allowing third parties to submit requests for new features to Java. JCP is a formal process that must be adhered to, and fees are involved. In 1999, Sun submitted Java to the ECMA standards body, but withdrew its J2SE specification later in the year. (JCP See Java Community Process.
JCP - Java Community Process ).
That's the conclusion of JCP members at a round table this week, who accepted Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME (Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition) A version of Java 2 for cellphones, PDAs and consumer appliances. J2ME uses the K Virtual Machine (KVM), a specialized Java interpreter for devices with limited memory. ) has seen too many competing implementations but feel it will end with the forthcoming Java Technology for the Wireless Industry (JTWI JTWI Java Technology for the Wireless Industry ).
Members responded following a Borland Software Corp panel discussion at Sun's JavaOne 2003 last week, at which a consensus emerged that Java is fragmenting and that the JCP is both too big and responding too slowly to effectively change Java.
Borland panelists included systems integrators, consultants, analysts and vendor Tibco Software Inc, all knowledgeable in the areas of Java, web services and integration.
The present state of J2ME was singled out by Borland's group as proof fragmentation exists. The explosion in the different types of low-power, small-footprint devices in recent years has meant J2ME can is used on a variety of devices from settop boxes to cell phones, each with different requirements.
Carriers and cell phone manufacturers, meanwhile, often implement specific J2ME APIs according to their own needs, a fact that ensures developers are challenged when building applications across multiple carrier services or manufacturers' devices. The ultimate result is
J2ME an adoption challenge, despite frequent cheer leading by Sun.
Speaking this week, Symbian Ltd strategic product manager for Java and JCP executive committee member, Jonathan Allen, said JTWI would resolve J2ME's growing fragmentation. "We have had fragmentation, but that will be less as we go forward," Allen said.
JTWI includes Sun's Connected Limited Device Configuration The Connected Limited Device Configuration (CLDC) is a specification of a framework for Java ME applications targeted at devices with very limited resources such as pagers and mobile phones. The CLDC was developed under the Java Community Process as JSR 30 (CLDC 1. (CLDC See J2ME. ) 1.0, Mobile Information Device Profile Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) is a specification published for the use of Java on embedded devices such as mobile phones and PDAs. MIDP is part of the Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME) framework and sits on top of Connected Limited Device Configuration, a set (MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) A programming interface (API) for cellphones and pagers for the Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME). It provides support for a graphical interface, networking and storage of persistent data for "MID Profile" applications, ) 2.0 and Wireless Messaging API (WMI) and Mobile Media API (MMPI MMPI
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
MMPI Child psychiatry A personality assessment tool widely used in making psychologic evaluations, which is normally given at age 16 and older. Personality testing ).
Texas Instruments Inc research director Marion Lineberry, also a JCP J2ME executive committee member, said fragmentation occurred because operators had implemented different J2ME as-and-when they became available. "We have been playing catch-up to get a full Java platform in the mobile space," Lineberry said.
Timing, though, could be a critical factor in JTWI's success. Fifty million J2ME devices already exist, according to Sun who claims mobile devices will this year out ship PCs. That's a lot of noncompliant devices running multiple J2ME implementations.
JTWI has entered its final ballot phase, due to conclude by July 1. Subject to approval, JTWI's uptake will then depend on the people who make the products.
Don Deutsch, Oracle vice president of standards, strategy and architecture and a JCP executive committee member for desktop and server-side Java, admitted some Java Specification Requests (JSRs) do stick, but overall he believes the JCP moves fast.
"If you have a [software] stack and consensus, you can proceed quickly," said Deustch
Allen said the JCP's pace helps ensure that JSRs, and resulting changes to Java, are properly reviewed, creating a secure platform. "It's a painful process getting those standards established, but we have to make sure we have the same goals. There's no quick fix. We have to make sure we get them right," Allen said.
Concerns, remain though, about whether the JCP's size, roughly 700 members, and the bureaucracy are not just slowing it down but also dampening innovation. IBM Corp, for example, is using Eclipse to build its own community around tools while a number of popular industry alternatives are emerging to JCP technologies, such as Log 4 J instead of Java 1.4 logging API from the JCP.
JCP members believe rather than innovation stopping, the shape of innovation is changing, requiring less JSRs that tackle the basic infrastructure. Java's early days saw JSRs and APIs submitted to help establish basic functionality while today's JSRs tackle refinements and advancements around scalability, availability and stability, according to JCP program management office director Onno Kluyt.
BEA Systems Inc, for example, is backing JSRs 181 and 207 for web services and process definition based on Sun's JSR 175 for metadata.
Ed Cobb, BEA's vice president of architecture and standards and also an executive committee member for Java 2 Standard Edition See Java 2. (J2SE (Java 2 platform, Standard Edition) See Java 2.
J2SE - Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition ) and Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) A platform from Sun for building distributed enterprise applications. J2EE services are performed in the middle tier between the user's machine and the enterprise's databases and legacy information systems. ), said such refinements are important to help the community hit the frequently touted target of Visual Basic and corporate developers, inexperienced in Java.
"You see JSRs attract that level of developer who are focussed on meta data," Cobb said.