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Java to run like the wind

Robert Brewin eluding to the increased performance of the Java Runtime Engine

Sun Microsystems

At JavaOne Conference last month, Robert Brewin, Sun Microsystem's chief technical officer for software, dropped a hint that the Java Runtime Engine would be considerably more sprightly in future editions. At one point during his keynote presentation, a slide even appeared on the screen beside him stating "Faster! Faster! Faster!"

Pity he didn't explain how this would be done.

I think the collective heart of the developer-heavy audience leaped a bit at that. After all, performance has been one of Java's main problem areas when it comes to desktop performance. Who among us doesn't cringe when we hit some Web site with an embedded Java applet, one that will slow the whole computer down until the JRE is loaded? Let's face it, Java may have been the early leader in Web applications, but Macromedia stole the market with Flash, which also extends browser capabilities but without the drag on the user's computer.

But with the cascade of other announcements he had to make, Brewin didn't go into greater detail of how the JRE would be goosed, other than to mention that future versions of the JRE would be modular. Only components of the JRE that would be needed by the desktop would be downloaded. And only those components needed the execute the applet could be called up. This could be a time-saver.

In a podcast from the show, the Java Posse crew cornered Brewin to talk a bit more about this claim. He admitted that up until recently a lot of Sun's focus has been in improving performance for Java Enterprise Edition. With the release of JavaFX though, Sun will be looking more at the desktop experience, he said.

"It's really critical that the consumer desktop experience has been optimized to the same degree that we've tried to optimize the enterprise," he said. "The success of JavaFX is completely intertwined with fixing ... the user experience."

Still, it sounded like much of the work to make this happen remains to be done. And that Sun may be relying on outside participants in the Java Community Process to do at least some of the work.

In any case, for those in the Washington D.C. Area, you can peg Brewin yourself about this topic. For the remainder of this week, Sun will be holding its annual Tech Days event for the region, which is a bit like a traveling JavaOne roadshow. Brewin, along with Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz and others will be speaking. Let us know if you hear any more details about how Java will one day run faster.

Posted by Joab Jackson on Jun 05, 2007 at 9:39 AM


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