At Summit this year I was able to meet with a number of our key customers and partners. I was also there to give a presentation with Dimitris on the future of enterprise Java, which was based a bit on an earlier DevNation Live session I gave. Now at the time I submitted the session I had no idea which customers would be there in San Francisco but it's always interesting to see how these things turn out because they came together very fortuitously. During the presentation we spoke about Jakarra EE and how it should bring together the Java communities to drive the evolution of enterprise Java towards cloud native. There was a lot of interest in the audience but it was afterwards that I probably had my most beneficial engagements with customers and analysts on the topic. The common thread with all of these meetings was that they had so-called monoliths and worried that they were being left behind by their competitors who were moving to microservices. Or so they believed.
If you are a student of history you may know about the early cold war where the US thought the USSR had huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons and used that belief to drive their own weapons plans, when in reality the USSR had very few and were just as ill informed as the Americans. I see the same with microservices: everyone believes they understand them, everyone worries their competitors are using them to get ahead and everyone wants them, when in reality they are fine with what they have or they don't need to move quite so quickly towards a new microservices architecture. But how does this play with the future of enterprise Java and specifically Jakarta EE? Well the aim with this industry wide effort is to allow developers to evolve their implementations (monoliths) towards more cloud native, agile implementations using microservices just as we have been doing with Eclipse MicroProfile based on Java EE. At their own pace. Using the skills their teams have built up over nearly two decades. Not throwing away experience but building upon it! Making data driven decisions based upon the needs to customers and their own developers. And if we can do this through the power of open source then let's add another benefit: collaboratively.
This was a key thing that the audience came away with and which our customers latched onto: don't throw away all you have learned and which works but build on it, evolve it. Evolve the people and processes as much as the software. That can give you the advantage over your competition if they are having to adopt entirely new stacks or frameworks or languages. Your advantage isn't in the software but in the people who developed it and know how your business works and why! Retaining them and their skills are key. They are the assets which cannot be obtained by contractors or consultants.
Another thing which may not be immediately apparent is that Jakarta EE is a prime example of what Hamming was taking about in his Turing Award speech by building on the shoulders of giants rather than reinventing the wheel: so much real world experience has defined the landscape of enterprise Java, of which Java EE plays a key part, and we don't want to lose that experience or the mature implementations based upon it. We want new systems to be as stable and reliable as old and to accomplish that we need many of the skilled developers and a lot of the software! Jakarta EE offers the best path forward for both!
Now while no Jakarta EE implementations yet exist we do have some work that is relevant. There's WildFly Swarm for a start and then of course there's EAP. Both available through RHOAR.