Sun seeks to grow Java developer base to 10 million

Sun Microsystems wants to increase the number of Java developers from 3 million today to as many as 10 million, company officials said during a teleconference with the media on Wednesday.

Java has to add new audiences, said Rich Green, vice president of tools at Sun. "The number of Java developers continues to grow, but we really [need] to take the next significant step to double or triple the number of Java developers."

Attracting new developers will require work on Sun's part, Green said. While Java tools from vendors such as Rational have focused on sophisticated programmers, Sun wants to expand the reach of Java, he added. Along these lines, the company plans to hold presentations at its JavaOne conference in San Francisco June 10 through June 13 that are geared toward easier development.

"At many presentations, we'll focus on enhancements to the Java platform that cater to simpler development paradigms," Green said. "Ease of development is a theme at all levels, not just tools, but APIs, platform definitions, etc. are all trending to support this notion in a more focused sense."

"I think certainly, you would agree that there (are) millions of folks out there who are not necessarily creating J2EE-scalable applications. They're creating lightweight applications," Green continued. "That's a group of individuals that have been slower to come to the Java platform than others."

James Gosling, Sun vice president and a fellow at Sun Laboratories, attempted to refute the notion that Java is complex. "There isn't a question of, is Java simple. Java is very easy to learn," and is popular in schools, Gosling said.

Green added that Sun will be targeting developers of two-tiered applications. "Sun, and by and large the Java community, have ignored this space," he said.

At JavaOne, the company will focus on three main themes: mobility, Web services, and Java in the enterprise, according to Ingrid Van Den Hoogen, director of software strategic marketing at Sun. Without providing specifics, Van Den Hoogen promised that Sun would "showcase some new thinking" around mobility. The company also plans to showcase Java performance gains, she said.

Van Den Hoogen reiterated Sun's intentions to have a beta release of the next major version of J2EE, version 1.4, available at the show, featuring compliance with the Basic Profile of the WS-I (Web Services Interoperability Organization). The Basic Profile, which still is in development, is intended as an open implementation of Web services.

Sun also plans to add more Java-based content via JavaOne Online, which will give those who cannot make it to the show access to Java information every day, she said.

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