Welcome!

IBM Cloud Authors: XebiaLabs Blog, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, IoT User Interface, Apache

Java IoT: Article

Why Java Is More Relevant Than Ever in the Mobile Age

Java, for all its faults, still provides what most developers need to get ahead in the world of coding

I was programming in C++ for a living when I fell in love with Java.

It was an unintended affair. At the time, I was following a trend with the limited language of C++, which didn't even have operator overloading or templates, but boasted simplicity and the ability to write the code once and run it anywhere (otherwise known as WORA).

But Java came along and changed everything. In fact, despite what most people say about Java in the mobile age, I still find it relevant, useful and an important coding tool going forward.

Java's WORA was much maligned during its early years, but people tend to forget how difficult things were before Java came along. Java was designed as a language of minimalism: There are less ways to accomplish a certain task, but that also makes it easy to go back in and make changes or corrections. With free and open tools, it made tackling the issues of platform defragmentation easier than ever.

Today, we are again experiencing defragmentation - but this time in the mobile space, with every device family moving further and further away from commonality and toward its own family of code. Java, as the most capable language used to support multiple platforms, is the closest thing to universal that developers can rely on.

Historically, tools for cross-platform mobile development in Java were in the $30,000 price range and delivered poor results. This is no longer the case. Tools from several vendors bring Java 5 functionality and native UIs without compromising on quality and ease of use. Companies and organizations such as Oracle, Codename One and XMLVM are bringing out stacks for Java developers to target some of the mobile platforms where Java hasn't been represented, and some of these solutions offer compelling UI options.

The leaders of the current crop of Java-based tools work by translating the Java bytecode to native C/Objective-C code and thus deliver fast native performance on iOS without an interpreter overhead (thus circumventing the JIT restriction on iOS). Some of the tools provide cloud build environments similar to the one provided by PhoneGap, removing the need to own a Mac to build a native iOS application. This allows casual developers who would like to get their feet wet programming to iOS/Android to get on board and leverage their existing Java skills to create native applications.

There are, of course, drawbacks to Java. Unfortunately, there is still no true alternative to it - HTML 5, which is the closest competitor, provides a vastly different programming experience and requires quite different skill sets. Android serves as a heaven of sort to Java developers in which they can easily develop using their favorite language; however, because the Android API is very specific to Android, the WORA aspect for Android only applies to other Android devices. RIM has its own flavor of Java and is working on supporting Android API in future OSs, but iOS/Windows phones don't have a proper alternative to Java developers.

There are several concurrent open source attempts to rectify this situation and restore the WORA aspect for mobile Java. Most of these attempts face an uphill battle since the platforms involved differ to such a great extent it's very hard to create a common ground that doesn't fall into the lowest common denominator approach.

For those who use these tools, make sure to check out their support forums, try out the options, evaluate their results and look through the application galleries. When building a mobile application the most important feature is the support forum - when things don't work, you need help, and in mobile development things can get pretty complicated along the way.

Developers who want simplicity and WORA capabilities in the mobile age may not have a lot of options. But Java, for all its faults, still provides what most developers need to get ahead in the world of coding. As cross-functionality becomes a greater priority for the coders, this baseline language will become the standard bearer yet again.

More Stories By Shai Almog

Shai Almog is CEO and Co-Founder of Codename One. He has been developing software professionally for over 20 years. He started specializing in Java in 1996 and most recently joined fellow veteran software developer, Chen Fishbein, to form Codename One, which allows Java developers to write mobile applications to all devices. Prior to this, Shai formed a consulting firm focused around Java development. Within this company Shai & his employees worked extensively with Sun Microsystems, IBM, Oracle, NTT DoCoMo, Sprint, Verizon, Vodafone, Nokia, Samsung, Major banks, government, institutions, startups and more.

Shai has vast experience in VM internals, UI, enterprise backend and almost every aspect of Java. He has worked on specifying and implementing Java VMs/APIs, building tools, end user applications, sites and much more.

Comments (1) View Comments

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.


Most Recent Comments
pjmlp 01/31/13 09:37:00 AM EST

I fail to see any value in the current set of tools for Java development targeting the main mobile operating systems, because they are still too immature for production code.

Oracle should make ahead of time compilation a standard choice in Java tooling and not something that always force us to look elsewhere.

On the consulting projects I take part on, C++ and C# have taken the portability role for native applications, with HTML5 for the mobile ones.

The train has left the station for mobile Java and if Google decides to offer first class support for their own languages on Android (Dart and Go), then it is really gone.

@ThingsExpo Stories
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
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, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
ReadyTalk has expanded the capabilities of the FoxDen collaboration platform announced late last year to include FoxDen Connect, an in-room video collaboration experience that launches with a single touch. With FoxDen Connect, users can now not only engage in HD video conferencing between iOS and Android mobile devices or Chrome browsers, but also set up in-person meeting rooms for video interactions. A host’s mobile device automatically recognizes the presence of a meeting room via beacon tech...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
It’s 2016: buildings are smart, connected and the IoT is fundamentally altering how control and operating systems work and speak to each other. Platforms across the enterprise are networked via inexpensive sensors to collect massive amounts of data for analytics, information management, and insights that can be used to continuously improve operations. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Chemel, Co-Founder and CTO of Digital Lumens, will explore: The benefits sensor-networked systems bring to ...
On Dice.com, the number of job postings asking for skill in Amazon Web Services increased 76 percent between June 2015 and June 2016. Salesforce.com saw its own skill mentions increase 37 percent, while DevOps and Cloud rose 35 percent and 28 percent, respectively. Even as they expand their presence in the cloud, companies are also looking for tech professionals who can manage projects, crunch data, and figure out how to make systems run more autonomously. Mentions of ‘data science’ as a skill ...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet a...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it ...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...