A year ago, Steve Jobs appeared onstage at the annual JavaOne conference in San Francisco and vowed to make the Mac the “best Java delivery vehicle on the planet.” A lot’s changed since then — namely, the arrival of Mac OS X with built-in support for the Java 2 programming language — and you can see the results at this year’s JavaOne event, taking place this week.
Reflecting OS X’s total compatibility with Java, Apple finds itself front and center on the JavaOne show floor in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. And the interest among JavaOne attendees is noticeable, Apple executives say.
“We’ve been getting a lot of traffic from our booth placement,” says Apple Java Technology manager Alan Samuel.
Rather than relying on Mac Runtime for Java (MRJ) as previous versions of the Mac OS did, OS X sports full compatibility with Java 2 Standard Edition version 1.3 (J2SE 1.3) compatibility. For that reason, Samuel says, the Mac has suddenly become a much more attractive solution for Java developers. Mac OS X’s full J2SE 1.3 compatibility means that Java applications will run more reliably on the Mac than ever before. More important, OS X will work better as a development environment for those who want to write Java applications.
“The thing is not to get [Macworld and MacCentral] readers, because they already know about it. It’s to show everyone else,” Samuel says. “When I show people the new Operating system I say, ‘Okay, give me your .jars,’ and then I just take them, [run them on OS X] and show them how simple it is. You can compile for Solaris, or whatever, and it will work.”
Other Mac-oriented companies were also making their presence felt at JavaOne. Zero G Software, whose founder and CEO Eric Shapiro appeared at one of the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference keynotes last month, was showing off its Java-based InstallAnywhere and PowerUpdate software on a couple of 733MHz Power Mac G4s running OS X.
InstallAnywhere allows users to write Java-based Aqua installation programs in OS X that will work on any platform. PowerUpdate allows users to create Java-based automatic software updates. Both should ship this summer.
Meanwhile, Borland was showing off its own Java solution, JBuilder for Mac OS X, which also debuted at WWDC. JBuilder is a visual development environment for creating Java 2 Standard Edition (J2SE) applications that take advantage of the Aqua user interface.
As word of OS X spreads, expect the Mac to have an ever-larger presence in the Java community. The days of searching for Apple on the JavaOne show floor are, literally and metaphorically, over.