|By Peter Varhol||
|September 1, 2000 12:00 AM EDT||
In just a few years the Java language and platform has become the technical approach of choice for building complex, distributed and Web-enabled applications across the enterprise. Thanks to its cross-platform runtime environment, object-oriented development model, and facilities for working with object request brokers and other code components, Java is well equipped for building such applications.
Java enables software developers to provide seamless communication and application access to the rapidly growing world of Internet computers and communications devices, from UNIX servers and PCs to cell phones and beyond. IDC Research estimates that the Java products market will grow by 85% annually through 2004.
Java applications - especially those designed to work with other applications and components (often written in other languages) in a distributed environment - have different development requirements than traditional applications. For example, Java's execution model virtually eliminates traditional memory errors, but can introduce performance problems stemming from poor resource utilization. For those used to addressing traditional programming errors and other issues, Java's unique execution model and language characteristics may make building error-free and efficient applications more difficult.
The distributed nature of many Java applications can also make it difficult to pinpoint performance issues or diagnose programming errors. As a result, Java developers need software development tools and techniques for viewing and analyzing code execution on multiple systems on the network and from multiple code bases.
Issues Surrounding the Development of Distributed Java
Java is unique - it's a mainstream programming language that works like no other. Its rules aren't well understood yet by many application developers. Part of the reason for this is that its capabilities and limitations haven't been fully explored.
As a result, while many of the problems may be similar, recognizing them and knowing what to do when you find them remains challenging, even to experienced Java developers. What follows are just a few of the development issues and what they mean for Java.
Performance is a concern of applications written in any language. Most programmers are familiar with common performance issues using a conventional language such as C with a stand-alone or even a client/server application. Such issues often involve improper allocation, deallocation of memory and poor use of system APIs.
These aren't even characteristics of the Java language. For example, relating Java code to how the JVM manages memory is difficult and error-prone. However, it's vital to improve Java performance because its execution model has additional overhead that tends to degrade performance more than native applications do.
In addition to typical performance requirements and issues surrounding traditional stand-alone applications, distributed Java applications must contend with problems surrounding the interactions between components running on different systems. Performance problems may manifest themselves in unexpected ways or appear to be caused by different parts of the code other than the actual problem area. Identifying and locating performance bottlenecks rapidly is a significant challenge in distributed application development.
Enterprise Java applications, especially distributed ones, are often mission-critical in nature: all aspects of the application must work perfectly at all times. Developers and development managers must be able to gauge the reliability of their applications accurately. While the characteristics of the language tend to make Java applications less error-prone, there are still plenty of ways to introduce runtime errors.
With distributed Java applications the reliability equation is even more difficult. It means assessing not only the individual applications but also the components as they interact. Java also makes it possible to write highly threaded applications that make sense in a distributed environment. But using threads means that problems with resource contention and deadlock are much greater.
Java applications face the same testing problems as traditional ones. They must be tested as thoroughly as possible before fielded, and developers should have a good idea of the extent of the test coverage before certifying an application. Distributed software systems written in Java, however, are extraordinarily difficult to test and debug. Because components reside on different computers and must work together perfectly for the application to work properly, all components must be tested simultaneously.
Since JVMs perform all the memory management tasks for applications, understanding the memory usage of the underlying platform and influencing memory allocation and use to affect performance is difficult to do and not intuitive. That's especially true because developers have no easy way of determining the relationship between code and the underlying memory use. Analyzing underlying memory use is a key component of building efficient applications (see Figure 1).
Software Tools Can Make Java Transparent
Several of the integrated development environments for Java are quite good, combining visual development, context-sensitive editing, JIT compilation and runtime debugging. What they lack, however, is the ability to determine the efficiency and reliability of the application, especially if it's distributed across several servers.
Most developers do without such tools, due in part to the relatively poor selection. There are many different Java-oriented development environments, but few tools to move code beyond the development stage. A few tools, such as the Compuware DevPartner for Java suite, combine components that evaluate performance issues, examine memory usage, analyze threads and track testing progress (see Figure 2).
Many Java developers fail to recognize that it's not enough for Java applications to be debugged within the development environment because of several myths regarding the use of Java as a development language and environment. One myth is that the VM eliminates programming errors and bugs. While direct memory errors aren't usually possible in Java development, it's still possible for Java applications to contain serious errors that affect the proper operation of the program.
Another myth is that the application developer has no control over the performance of the software since the VM manages the low-level details that determine how fast the code runs. How developers use specific language instructions can have a significant impact on application performance. Often a few simple changes can greatly improve performance if developers know their underlying effect in advance.
Java development tools assist and accelerate the development of reliable, high-performance applications, especially distributed ones. They go beyond the traditional development environments to include components that help make applications more reliable and efficient. When choosing a set of tools to supplement those found in development environments and improve the reliability and performance of Java applications, developers and development teams should take the following characteristics into account.
- Support for multiple, unmodified VMs: Different operating systems often use different JVMs with different performance and behavior characteristics. In addition, some Java tools require the use of specially modified VMs that may not represent the characteristics of production systems.
To obtain accurate information to improve the performance and reliability of distributed Java and mixed-language applications, developers should select tools that run in the actual deployment environment. This way they can be certain that the behavior observed and analyzed during development and testing will be the same once the application is deployed.
- Minimal impact on Java runtime resources: During application testing and analysis, the Java development tools that are used can often be intrusive - their presence may influence the test results. If developers attempt to deploy the tools for further testing and tuning in the production environment, they may also encounter unacceptable performance degradation due to high resource utilization.
If developers need accurate information on resource utilization, performance and system load, they should consider software tools that don't use large amounts of Java runtime resources. Tools with minimal Java and computing resource impact are more likely to provide the accurate information needed to improve the performance and reliability of distributed applications.
Application developers need tools that work with whatever software technologies they're using. Multilanguage tools, especially those that support industry-standard Web languages, provide the range of capabilities needed to find performance and reliability problems anywhere in the application (see Figure 3).
- Ability to track Java memory utilization to the function and line level: Knowing you have a performance or reliability problem isn't any good unless you're able to pinpoint the source rapidly and easily. The more precise the diagnosis and analysis, the faster application developers can address the problem.
Java application development tools should focus as specifically as possible on the exact location of a performance bottleneck or software error, especially for large, distributed applications. Developers working on deadlines need the most exacting information possible from their tools.
- Ability to find thrashing and starvation conditions graphically: Some of the toughest software problems to find are those that involve resource starvation and code thrashing. These error conditions don't prevent the application from running; however, they cause severe performance bottlenecks and may even cause the application to hang while running.
The problems are especially prevalent in Java applications in which multiple running threads contend for limited virtual machine resources. To ensure the reliability of deployed applications, Java developers require software tools that enable them to identify and locate the complex combination of conditions that can cause resource starvation and thrashing.
- Ability to measure code base stability: Rapidly changing code during debugging and testing usually means that the application may be unreliable or needs additional testing before deployment. Conversely, an application with few changes to the code base during debugging and testing will more likely be fully tested and stable.
It's important, therefore, for application developers to understand how much and how rapidly their application code is changing during the latter stages of the development process. An application development tool should measure the stability of the code base to enable both the development team and the managers to determine when the application can be used reliably in production.
- Support for multiple operating systems: Mixed operating environments are the rule rather than the exception. Even if developers code on one platform, it's increasingly likely that the application will be deployed across several different types of systems. This is especially true of Java-based applications, which are designed to run unmodified on multiple operating systems.
Application development tools have to support multiple development and runtime environments to eliminate the expense of purchasing different tool sets for different platforms, and to reduce the need for developer training on multiple tool sets and platforms.
Delivering Higher Quality Java Applications
Today's Web-enabled, distributed applications combine many different technologies and are prone to performance and reliability problems. Software developers using Java technology can spend a substantial amount of time trying to resolve these problems, leading to schedule delays and applications with ongoing problems.
Most of the Java development environments available are excellent for writing small to medium-sized stand-alone applications. It's growing increasingly difficult to write applications that are large or distributed, and to work with legacy components or databases. Performance and reliability issues overshadow the advantages of rapid, object-oriented development.
Visualizing these types of problems is an important aspect of debugging, tuning and testing applications because developers can quickly identify and localize the code responsible. If the developer can see where the deadlocked thread is, it's easier to pinpoint the resource that's deadlocked and its cause.
The kinds of problems that don't arise or are trivial in smaller applications take on critical importance in distributed processing. By using performance analyzers, memory profilers and thread inspectors such as those found in DevPartner Java Edition, distributed application developers can be sure their applications will run as expected.
Large-scale Java and distributed applications are easy to write but difficult to write well. To bridge the gap between mediocre or poorly performing applications and highly efficient ones, developers need to leverage software tools that help build reliable high-performance applications and components with Java technology. Such tools would allow Java developers to quickly and easily identify problems in key areas like runtime performance, memory utilization and multithreading.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
May. 31, 2016 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,746
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
May. 31, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,034
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
May. 31, 2016 05:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,194
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
May. 31, 2016 05:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,371
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
May. 31, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,374
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
May. 31, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,585
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
May. 31, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,073
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
May. 31, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,117
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
May. 31, 2016 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,438
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
May. 31, 2016 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,537
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
May. 31, 2016 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,572
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
May. 31, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,468
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
May. 30, 2016 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,484
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...
May. 30, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,648
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
May. 30, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,114
SYS-CON Events announced today the How to Create Angular 2 Clients for the Cloud Workshop, being held June 7, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified. Now it’s a component-based well-performing framework. The immersive one-day workshop led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and...
May. 30, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,138
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
May. 30, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,372
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
May. 30, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,603
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
May. 30, 2016 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,097
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
May. 30, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,414