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A recently completed Java.net poll indicates that, excepting one big forecasting mistake, 2013 turned out pretty much aps Java/JVM developers expected, when it came to their own work. This past January, a poll asked developers to predict which category of new Java/JVM technology developments will affect their own work most in 2013. The just-completed poll tested the accuracy of those predictions.

A total of 226 votes were cast in the year-end poll. The exact polling prompt and results were:

My work in 2013 was affected most by new developments related to...

  • 6% (13 votes) - The non-Java-EE Cloud
  • 20% (46 votes) - Java EE (in or out of the Cloud)
  • 20% (46 votes) - Java SE / OpenJDK
  • 9% (21 votes) - JavaFX
  • 13% (29 votes) - Java Mobile (including Android)
  • 1% (3 votes) - Java Embedded
  • 7% (16 votes) - Non-Java JVM languages
  • 6% (13 votes) - Java Tools (IDEs, CI, etc.)
  • 4% (8 votes) - Other
  • 14% (31 votes) - My work wasn't much affected by new developments in 2013

Looking at this, there is no single predominate area that most affected Java/JVM developers' work this past year. But, you can say that developments related to Java EE, Java SE, and Java Mobile had the greatest impact (53% combined) on what developers were working on. I think this is good news for Java EE in particular: in part it suggests that the release of Java EE 7 back in June is looking like a success.

So, this is the data for what actually affected developer's work. Now let's compare this with what the developers predicted would affect their work back in January 2013. That poll asked developers to respond to: "In 2013, my own work will be most affected by new developments related to...". Here are the comparative results:

                                                           
TechnologyJanuary
Forecast
December
Result
The non-Java-EE Cloud53%6%
Java EE (in or out of the Cloud)8%20%
Java SE / OpenJDK10%20%
JavaFX4%9%
Java Mobile (including Android)10%13%
Java Embedded1%1%
Non-Java JVM languages2%7%
Java Tools (IDEs, CI, etc.)2%6%
Other1%4%

At first glance, the match-up doesn't look that great. This is due to a clear mistake in the January forecast: back then, a majority of developers expected their work in 2013 to be affected most by the non-Java-EE cloud. Yet, as we bring 2013 to a close, this actually happened for only 1 in every 17 Java/JVM developers[standard caveat: Java.net polls are not scientific polls!].

If we set this forecasting "mistake" aside, a different picture emerges. Back in January, after the non-Java-EE cloud, developers expected new developments in Java EE, Java SE, and Java Mobile to have the greatest effect on their work in 2013. Lo and behold, in December they reported that, indeed, new developments in Java EE, Java SE, and Java Mobile did indeed have the greatest effect on their 2013 work. Not a bad job of forecasting, in my opinion!

In fact, if we apply an ordinals system of looking at the results (the Olympics are coming up soon!), the January forecast looks incredibly perfect, if you eliminate the "non-Java-EE Cloud" mistake. Here are the ordinal results for all of the technology categories except the "non-Java-EE Cloud" and "Other":

                                               
TechnologyJanuary
Forecast
Ordinal
December
Result
Ordinal
Java SE / OpenJDK1 (tie)1 (tie)
Java Mobile (including Android)1 (tie)3
Java EE (in or out of the Cloud)31 (tie)
JavaFX44
Non-Java JVM languages5 (tie)5
Java Tools (IDEs, CI, etc.)5 (tie)6
Java Embedded77

Now do you see what I mean in saying that Java/JVM developers did quite well in their January forecast of what new technology developments would most affect their work in 2013?

New poll: conferences and post-conference online materials

Our current poll asks Does the eventual availability of technical conference materials online affect the value of attending the conferences in person?. Voting will be open until Friday, January 10.


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-- Kevin Farnham (@kevin_farnham)

It's the end of the year, and many are writing blogs and articles highlighting the top news of the year. I thought about that for a while, then decided that in a sense the most important present day news for Java/JVM developers is actually the current state of Java, compared with where we worried we might have been just a few years ago.

It's close to five years now that I've been Java.net editor. I vividly remember, when I first started out, wondering how long this position could possibly last, given Sun's fortunes. People wondered about Java's future. I don't think there was any doubt about Java's "survival" -- COBOL "survived" but developers moved on to new languages, and virtually all legacy COBOL code was turned into a black box wrapped by modern code. That was the worst that could have happened to Java.

Instead, today the Java/JVM ecosystem is incredibly vital. Java EE 7 is a major step forward, Java 8's Lambda Expressions facilitate Java's capability as a platform that's well-tuned for modern multi-core computers, Java's potential as the ideal platform for embedded platforms and the Internet of Things is well-recognized...

And the marketplace itself is stating its opinion of Java as well: Twitter and many other companies have migrated their software from other platforms to Java, because of Java's solid, tested capability as a reliable, scalable platform for high volume data processing and servicing of web applications.

Indeed, five years into my Java.net editorship, Java and the JVM are in a position I'd never expected to see when I first started out. To me, that's a big story!


Subscriptions and Archives: You can subscribe to this blog using the java.net Editor's Blog Feed. You can also subscribe to the Java Today RSS feedand the java.net blogs feed. To follow Java.net net on Twitter, follow @javanetbuzz.

-- Kevin Farnham (@kevin_farnham)

In the most recently completed Java.net poll, developers suggested that, yes, they're aware of "Big Data" and its implications, but overall they're not all that surprised at what they're seeing in that area. A plurality of votes went to "It was bound to happen, given today's powerful computers, it's no big surprise"...

A total of 135 votes were cast in the poll. The exact question and results were:

What's so big about 'Big Data'?

  • 16% (21 votes) - It's revolutionary technology that will fundamentally alter our world
  • 19% (26 votes) - It's one among many important new technologies
  • 26% (35 votes) - It was bound to happen, given today's powerful computers, it's no big surprise
  • 7% (9 votes) - I've heard the term, I think it might be important
  • 17% (23 votes) - Nothing, really, it's just a gimmick
  • 16% (21 votes) - I have no idea

From this spread of votes, really what can you deduce other than a feeling that most developers consider Big Data an important but natural development. Yes, it's important, but it couldn't happen until hardware and software advanced such that Big Data analysis could be supported, and we've reached that point in time today, so it's happening.

On the other hand, it's kind of interesting that 44% of developers think "Big Data" either is a gimmick, or they have no idea why it might be "so big" today; and only 16% think Big Data is "revolutionary technology that will fundamentally alter our world."

So, in a sense, developers haven't yet come to a consensus verdict on "Big Data." I myself consider today's "Big Data" as a continuation of a decades-long trend wherein we measure ever greater amounts of information and apply computational analysis to that data to reach conclusions that can then be applied strategically or scientifically or otherwise.

Small bits of data are analyzed by algorithms to yield conclusions that can be useful -- but only if correct conclusions are drawn from the data. That is, you still need an intelligent human being in the loop, someone who can apply judgment to determine what in the patterns outlined by the algorithms is significant, and what's just an aspect of noise.

New poll: What new developments affected your work in 2013

Our current poll asks you to respond to the prompt My work in 2013 was affected most by new developments related to.... Voting will be open until Friday, December 27.


Subscriptions and Archives: You can subscribe to this blog using the java.net Editor's Blog Feed. You can also subscribe to the Java Today RSS feedand the java.net blogs feed. To follow Java.net net on Twitter, follow @javanetbuzz.

-- Kevin Farnham (@kevin_farnham)

I was very pleased to see the JFrog team take me up on my suggestion early this year that "Maybe the JFrog team will consider giving a presentation on how they put all this together at JavaOne this September". Unfortunately for me, the session (Building a Massively Scalable Cloud Service from the Ground Up) was already filled to capacity as I walked up to the door, so I was unable to attend.

The session, presented by JFrog founder Yoav Landman (@yoavlandman), described the infrastructure behind JFrog's Bintray platform. Bintray also won a Duke's Choice Award at JavaOne 2013.

If you're not familiar with Bintray, it's a distribution system for software binaries that's framed within a set of modern social networking tools. The social networking tools facilitate the building of communities centered on specific binaries, repositories, types of software, companies... Since the communities are self-forming, there's really no limit on the categories around which a community could be formed.

Getting all this to work wasn't trivial, according to the description of Yoav's session:

Serving developer binaries isn

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