Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Frank Lupo

Related Topics: Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Wearables

Java IoT: Article

JSR Watch: Java Mobile and Embedded Spotlight

The majority of the JSRs that have been active in the past few weeks are in the mobile space

Java ME: Not Just for Cellphones
Most people probably think of Java ME in the context of cellphones, and with over 2 billion Java-enabled phones deployed that's hardly surprising. Many are probably also aware that Java ME runs in TV set-top boxes and Blu-ray disk players. (The recent announcement by Warner Bros. that it will release its high-definition movies exclusively in Blu-ray format seems to have guaranteed the victory of Blu-ray over the competing non-Java based HD-DVD format.) However, we should not forget that the "E" in Java ME stands for Embedded, and Java can also be found in a bewildering array of devices from printers and switches to medical equipment, cars, gas station pumps, and industrial robots. But this is just the beginning.

The Developer Days conference included several talks about the Sun SPOT (Small Programmable Object Technology) devices from Sun Labs. These are tiny wireless sensor boards that can be used to develop wireless sensor and actuator applications. They're programmed in Java since they include the Squawk Virtual Machine, which runs on the "bare metal" - there's no operating system. Although still experimental, they're already being deployed in applications as diverse as water-quality monitoring in Malawi and a geographic information system and wireless sensor network in the Panama rainforest.

As the SunSpot team explains:

One day everything of value will be part of the Internet...not just computers that talk to each other and exchange data, but virtually everything - all connected, all-communicating and sharing data, all the time. Cars, bicycles, refrigerators, astronauts, toys, even trees will collect and deliver diverse data to equally diverse devices (yes, trees - embedded with sensors that detect climate changes and animal movements).

You can read more about Sun SPOTs at www.sunspotworld.com/.

The Fragmentation Problem
Whenever a group of Java ME developers gets together there's bound to be a lively discussion about "fragmentation," and the Developer Days conference was no exception. The term "fragmentation" refers to the fact that despite Java's promise of Write Once Run Anywhere, it is often difficult to develop applications that will run on a wide variety of cellphones without very careful programming and extensive testing.

Fragmentation is actually an "umbrella term" that covers at least three distinct situations:

  1. Platform fragmentation, where different APIs are present on different devices
  2. Implementation fragmentation, where implementations of the same APIs differ between devices
  3. Device-level fragmentation, where the characteristics of the devices themselves vary
The first two cases have direct relevance for the JCP. (The third is simply a consequence of the level of maturity of the small-device market and the rapid pace of change.)

Some platform fragmentation is inevitable given the enormous diversity of devices in the market and the different versions of specifications implemented on them. However, the nature and quality of the specifications is also a significant factor. The Java ME platform is not monolithic. Rather there are a large number of specifications that can be mixed and matched in a wide variety of configurations, and there are many optional or "conditionally mandatory" components such as Bluetooth or location services. Consequently it's not possible to predict which APIs will actually be present on any particular device.

This problem is not unique to Java ME - it exists in many other areas of the standards world - and the solution is well understood: an "umbrella specification" needs to be created that will define a minimum set of component APIs that must be included in compatible implementations and that will also eliminate optionality from the component specifications. In the Java ME space two such umbrella specifications have been developed: JSR 185: Java Technology for the Wireless Industry (JTWI), which was released in 2003, and the more recent JSR 248: Mobile Service Architecture specification, which was released at the end of 2006. The MSA specification (http://developers.sun.com/mobility/midp/articles/msaintro/) defines both a full stack consisting of 16 component JSRs and a subset stack consisting of eight JSRs. The first MSA-compliant phones are just beginning to reach the market.

Implementation fragmentation is a different problem, and it has two distinct causes. The first is again specification-derived. Many Java ME specs either deliberately or inadvertently contain ambiguities and omissions that lead to differences in implementations. This problem too is addressed by the MSA umbrella specification, which clarifies and tightens up the language, eliminates ambiguities, and adds requirements to the component specifications. The second cause of implementation fragmentation is bugs in the implementations, and this can only be addressed by more extensive testing. The test coverage provided by the relevant Technology Compatibility Kits (TCKs) needs to be increased, and since the TCKs by their nature do not cover all areas that could be tested (only what is specified), additional testing needs to be performed, ideally through a formal industry-wide certification program. The Java Verified Program (www.javaverified.com/about_uti.jsp) and the associated Unified Testing Initiative have begun to address this problem but much more remains to be done.

Java ME JSRs
A total of 77 Java ME JSRs have made some progress through the JCP since its inception and 42 have been completed. Twenty Java ME JSRs were active in 2007 (getting started, publishing drafts, going to ballot, or making final or maintenance releases).

A quick review of the active JSRs gives a clear picture of the breadth of technologies covered in the ME space: speech APIs (JSR 113), data synchronization (JSR 230), user interface customization (JSR 258), broadcast services (JSR 272), vector graphics (JSR 287), automotive telematics (JSR 298), event tracking (JSR 190), digital TV (JSR 242), and XML (JSR 280).

As I mentioned earlier, a number of additional Java ME JSRs made progress during the past month. The most significant is JSR 271: Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) 3 (http://jcp.org/en/jsr/detail?id=271), led by Motorola, which entered its Public Review period in December. This is a major revision of the "base" Java ME platform for cellphones. (MIDP is typically implemented on top of CLDC, which provides the low-level virtual machine, Java language, and utility and IO classes.) MIDP defines the higher-level APIs that make Java-enabled cellphones possible: networking, security, user interface, graphics, sound, and provisioning. The review period runs through March, so there's still time for you to comment on this important JSR. Other Java ME JSRs that made progress last month include:

  • JSR 307: Network Mobility and Mobile Data API (led by Motorola), which is in Early Draft Review
  • JSR 279: Service Connection API (led by Nokia & Sun) and JSR 293: Location API 2.0 (led by Nokia), which are in Public Review
  • JSR 232: Mobile Operational Management (led by Motorola), which made a Maintenance Release
We should also not forget that those billions of cellphones would be nothing more than paperweights without the sophisticated back-end infrastructure that handles the switching, billing, subscriber management, service provision, and so on. Of course, these services are also run on Java. Last month there were three additional Java EE JSRs that made progress in this area. Two were from the indefatigable and prolific OSS/J Initiative (www.tmforum.org/OSSJ): JSR 254: OSS Discovery API (led by Nakina Systems) entered its Final Approval Ballot and JSR 210: OSS Service Quality Management API (led by Vallent Corporation) issued a Proposed Final Draft. The third, JSR 289: SIP Servlet v1.1 (led by BEA) passed its Public Review Ballot. This is an update to JSR 116, which defined a container-based approach to developing communication applications utilizing the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) (defined by RFC 3621 [http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3261]). SIP is used to establish and manage IP-based sessions for applications such as Internet telephone calls and multimedia distribution and conferencing.

As you can see, Java ME is alive and well. For more details about the JSRs mentioned in this column and about the other activities of the JCP, please visit our Website (http://jcp.org/en/home/index).

Until next month...

More Stories By Patrick Curran

Patrick Curran is chair of the JCP and director of the JCP Program at Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, will discuss how given the magnitude of today's applicati...
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere Systems was created by file systems experts determined to reinvent storage by changing the way enterprises thought about and bought storage resources. With decades of experience behind the company’s founders, Avere got its ...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, will discuss how by using...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CAST Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CAST was founded more than 25 years ago to make the invisible visible. Built around the idea that even the best analytics on the market still leave blind spots for technical teams looking to deliver better software and prevent outages, CAST provides the software intelligence that matter ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japanese Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ruby Development Inc. builds new services in short period of time and provides a continuous support of those services based on Ruby on Rails. For more information, please visit https://github.com/RubyDevInc.
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SourceForge has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SourceForge is the largest, most trusted destination for Open Source Software development, collaboration, discovery and download on the web serving over 32 million viewers, 150 million downloads and over 460,000 active development projects each and every month.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...