For most people the term Java brings to mind a wealth of different things. The majority of the population might think it’s an overpriced latte in a white cup with your name terribly misspelled on the sleeve. However, to the members of the IT industry, it’s not only the thing that gets our eyes open at 8 AM, but also the language we utilized to create a wealth of applications the general public uses every day. Since 1995 Java has been a hot button topic in our circles, and furthermore, if you are one of the diminishing numbers of individuals who have mastered Java you are likely a hot commodity as well
Java can range from any bundle of architecture, libraries, platforms, programming languages, or even a virtual machine. Hard to believe something technology-based created over 20 years ago is still very relevant and furthermore, is poised to remain in the limelight. Yes, it was quite the feat back in the day when Java hit the market with features like ability to move software between Windows and early Mac OS’s, providing users with a built-in Graphical User Interface, and providing security and performance standards previously thought of as impossible by industry standards. That was just the beginning. From that point on Java has continued to be an innovator in the IT and software development world.
Over the last two decades, as noted by Cameron Laird in his article “Unfinished Business” Java has shown us that GUI elements can be programmed portably, we also know a portable implemented language can be swift and agile making Java adaptable, and most important, serious organizations have been, and will continue to be depending on software that they have not paid for because it was developed in-house. It should also be noted that given the innovative and versatile nature of Java it does do one thing that other programming languages and other software development platforms have not been able to do. That is uniting programmers and becoming the universal standard for programming that’s globally relevant and now being taught to the next generation of software developers.
Twenty years later Java has proven it’s no flash in the pan, and I’m here to echo the sentiment: it’s got some real staying power. Unlike Google+, or Windows Vista, Java is taking hold with the next generation of software developers and programmers alike, making sure it will be here until the Internet and computing as we know it is for all intents and purposes unrecognizable. The reason? Outside industry influence. Due to the mass of programs and software currently operating on the Java platform, the IT community has recognized the need to maintain and update these applications. Due to this epiphany, we have seen a major fiscal investment for institutions and school systems to allocate resources worldwide to teaching the newest generation of computer programmers Java-based programming and development techniques. It’s in place at multiple schools and institutions ensuring the language is maintained to support all the aforementioned production systems that can speak to the functionality of Java, which, mind you, are in the range of hundreds of thousands. The fact that the “digital torch” being passed from one generation to another is being created using Java code is important especially considering what is on the horizon.
IOT or Internet of Things: What is it? What does it mean for the future of technology? How is it going to be created? What if I told you Java is a part of every one of these answers, and that it’s going to keep the program relevant way longer than any other program that’s been around since 95… (does Windows still have a DOS mode?) The IOT is what Samsung would call “The Next Big Thing” if they were in the business of web development. Whether or not it merits all of the hype and critical acclaim it is getting remains to be seen. However, we can be certain that the way our devices interact is about to change, and it will hardly be subtle. Don’t just imagine an app that can change the temperature in your fridge. You need to think of applications interacting in a way that your refrigerator alerts you as you enter the grocery store as to what items you have and what items you still need complete a recipe you have selected. Better yet already ordering the items you need at a predetermined location and the extent of your involvement is going to pick them up. That is the world of interaction we are cyber surfing towards and Java is the board we are using to get there. The basic principle behind the Internet of Things is going to be a network of items that work together to make everyday life more hassle free.
This will all be accomplished by things called embedded systems. Perfectly defined in the article “Java: The Once and Future King of Internet Programing” An Embedded system is a computer system (mobile programmed by Java ME Embedded or Java Me 8) whose function resides in a larger mechanical or electrical system. These are typically found in industrial and consumer applications. These systems are stepping into the spotlight as the potential for them to all interact in an intelligent manner is becoming a reality. The IOT relies on the coordination of multiple devices collecting, processing, and communicating data to one another via a wireless connection and formulating appropriate responses.
Still with me? Seem like science fiction? It is far from it. As you read this article old and new hardware platforms, big data, cloud computing software, and machine to machine computing are all working together to form one cohesive system and API’s like Java are the glue. In fact, according to the article mentioned above, the tried and true programming and coding software is the motor already driving most of the emerging IOT technologies. Not to mention that Oracle, one of the major players in the new IOT arena, has committed to making Java one of, if not the “Go To” platform. As previously mentioned smaller devices will be feeding off Java’s ME 8 and other small device platform technologies in the company’s product line.
Moral of the story? Java will be the life blood that fuels the development and advancement of the IOT, which is the future of software interaction. If your company does not have an experienced Java professional, or even a great off-site Java support staff, you could be caught napping. My advice… Get some Java, perk up, and get behind the IOT movement before it passes your company by.