Welcome!

Cognitive Computing Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui

Related Topics: Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, Machine Learning , 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.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
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 IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...