ARN: Do you think Java as a technology has matured enough to be considered safe for enterprise-wide deployment?
Renouf: Supporting Java has traditionally been a moving target because of the increasing changes in the specification. With the advent of Java 2, many of these changes have come together into what we consider a stable platform. A critical mass of technology is now available for deploying enterprise-wide Java applications.
The technology has matured from Sun's initial JDK 1.0 product. The current round of Java tools support JDK 1.1 and vendors outside of Sun, such as Inprise and Symantec, have already provided support for Java 2 SDK. What will really propel Java into the next millennium is the emergence of technologies that allow you to run Java applications at speeds far greater than the previous generation of interpreters and JIT compilers.
Has Java reached the level of market acceptance that would lead to its use in the development of mission-critical apps?
There is certainly much interest in this technology that this is now going beyond a fascination and into real application software. To date, Java is the only platform that can scale from embedded software for wrist watches through to large-scale enterprise systems.
The question is whether Java applications best meet the needs of modern software development, such as platform portability, scalability, adherance to a true object-oriented model, a solid component model for current and legacy application interoperability, broad libraries and component support, large-scale third-party and development tool vendor acceptance, and a close fit with the Internet and e-commerce. To my mind, the Java platform has in place the necessary ingredients for this task and Sun, with its partners, have been laying the roadmap for coming enhancements in a relatively consistent manner.
Do you think Java is still considered a "small apps" programming language?
There are some developers that only use Java for small Applets, such as animating graphics on Web sites. As product framework developers, we would not have bothered to go down the Java route if the platform had scaling restrictions. I'm certain that the majority of the estimated 20,000 attendees and over 300 vendors at JavaOne recently would also consider Java to be a robust platform for doing more than just creating animated spinning coffee cups!
* Stability of the specification
* Third-party support for any given specification* The level of overall computer platform coverage* Execution speed