Java symposium extends to other technologies

Do SOA, AJAX, enterprise service buses and dynamic script languages have a place at a Java conference?

Is TheServerSide Java Symposium de-emphasizing Java?

A look at the agenda of the Las Vegas-based conference this week finds sessions on SOA, AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), enterprise service buses, and dynamic script languages. Meanwhile, the usual session on the future of Java has been replaced by an open source panel featuring Java-based companies. AJAX sessions have replaced those that used to be held on the Swing desktop Java platform.

A show producer acknowledged on Thursday that the event was covering other areas besides Java, but stressed that Java is still the focus.

"I think it's still very much Java," said Nitin Bharti, editorial director for "We're trying to address larger enterprise issues," such as SOA and grid, he said.

"These are all sort of concerns that Java architects have today, including AJAX," Bharti said.

"We're trying to address the entire gamut of technologies and topics," said Bharti said. "The reality is, it's a heterogeneous environment out there."

Speakers at the show are pioneers in enterprise Java, he said.

The lunchtime presentation on Wednesday, for its part, was given by Karen Tegan-Pedir, vice president of the Enterprise Java Platforms Group at Sun Microsystems. She said Java has generated a US$120 billion industry.

"The Java community is more vibrant than ever," she said.

At last year's conference, AJAX and scripting languages emerged as topics of interest.

Elsewhere at the symposium, a panel on SOA featured a mockery of the WS-* (pronounced WS-star) specifications for Web services standardization. An IT consultant, Neal Ford of ThoughtWorks , called them "ws death star."

Ford argued that the WS-* specifications were being overused and that there are too many of them. Some of the WS-* specifications include specifications such as WS-Security. WS-* efforts have been led by companies such as Microsoft.

"A lot of the standards that ws death star is trying to implement are for communication outside your firewall," said Ford, who is an application architect at ThoughtWorks. But users are implementing these inside their firewall, creating overhead, Ford said in an interview after the panel session.

REST and "plain old XML" can be used inside the firewall, he said.

"You don't need federated security inside your own firewall. If you do, you have the slowest SOA ever conceived by man," he said.

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