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From JavaOne to JavaTen

Duke was originally designed by Sun's Joe Palrang

Technology birthdays come and go, but Internet technologies, by their very nature, aren't old enough to allow yet for centenaries, or even diamond anniversaries. So it is fascinating to see how people are reacting to the fact that popular technologies like Java, ColdFusion, and Flash have now finally reached - or are about to reach - the ripe old age of 10.

Java was "born" on May 23, 1995. But people forget that RealAudio, too, which allowed us to hear across the Net in real time, dates back to 1995. It was also the year that traditional online dial-up systems like CompuServe, America Online, and Prodigy first began to provide Internet access, and the year that Netscape went public with what was at the time the third largest ever IPO share value on the NASDAQ.

In 1995, The Vatican came online for the first time (www.vatican.va/) as did the government of Canada (http://canada.gc.ca/). The first official Internet wiretap was successful in helping the Secret Service and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) apprehend three individuals who were illegally manufacturing and selling cellphone cloning equipment and electronic devices, and Chris Lamprecht (a.k.a. "Minor Threat") became the first person ever banned from accessing the Internet - by a U.S. District Court judge in Texas.

So when May 23 came this year it was a time for reflecting not just on Java's birth; it was a time for remembering other aspects of its first 10 years too, such the closing keynote at JavaOne in 1999 by Douglas Adams of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame - who as JDJ's Calvin Austin remembers in this issue "gave a great perspective on things and not just Java."

As Ajit Sagar says in his editorial this month, "A lot has happened since the language that was trademarked with dancing Dukes made its appearance into the world of computing. In its current incarnation, the Java platform is undoubtedly the backbone of distributed enterprise applications in today's IT." But future possibilities abound. For example, as JBoss's Marc Fleury - whom we are delighted to say has also written for this month's issue - asks: "Why don't we take the underlying concept of EJB 3.0 and apply it to simplify other Java middleware products?"

It is the energies of Java pioneers like Fleury, outside of Sun, that will characterize the next 10 years of Java, just as those of James Gosling, Tim Lindholm and company, within Sun, have helped shape the first 10 years.

May 23 was marked in relatively low-key fashion by Sun, though there was a symbolic birthday cake with 10 candles, which stood in front of the inevitable life-size Duke in a ceremony presided over on the Sun campus by Gosling and Sun's president and COO, Jonathan Schwartz.

Duke was originally designed by Sun's Joe Palrang, who was doing artwork for the UI, and Gosling has explained Duke's appearance - the big hands, the pointed head - as not only representing the personality of Java but also having precise functionality: "We wanted something that could show up on the screen in a relatively small area and yet still be recognizable and comprehensible, something you could put a lot of emotion and gestural activity into, and still be about the size of a postage stamp."

There will be a much more public celebration at JavaOne; those of you picking up this issue of JDJ at the show will experience this for yourselves. Meantime, keep an eye out and see what kind of hijinks will be devised to celebrate the upcoming 10th birthdays, respectively, of ColdFusion ("born" July 1995, just two months after Java) and Flash (1996).

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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