Looking Back And Thinking Forward (2012)


The past year 2012 has been a very turbulent year for Java indeed. There were certainly a few setbacks to be dealt with, but overall Java insiders still seem to be very positive about the prospects regarding Java and all its related developments for the coming year 2013.

The Good

As early as the beginning of 2011, some analysts foresaw a rather dark future for Java, mainly due to some negative consequences flowing out of  Sun Microsystems being taken over by Oracle. The main fear was that this could eventually lead to the end of Java as an open source platform. Despite these predictions, the Java community as a whole rather thrived during most of 2012. Java developer groups continued to grow, as did the interest in Java themed conferences and workshops. Some groups and individual developers won awards to honor their contributions.

At the end of the year in December, Oracle announced and released a developer preview version of Java SE 8

The Bad

The fact that the new owner of the Java technology, Oracle, lost their high profile lawsuit against Google over alleged copyright infringement casted somewhat of a shadow over Java. Although Google's victory was considered a victory for Java as an open source tool, Oracle's monopolizing intentions were seen as potentially harmful for Java and its users in the long run.

2012 has also been deemed 'the year of Java vulnerabilities'. And indeed, there were some serious security issues with Java 7. This led to the rising popularity of Java among hackers and cyber criminals. Half of all cyber attacks were related to Java and its security holes. Everyday users of Java software were even advised to de-install their latest Java plug-ins and switch back to an older version until a security patch would be released. It was suggested that Oracle was well aware of the vulnerabilities within the released software, but had been too slow in counteracting them.

The Ugl...uh, Future

But the community at large sees enough reasons to stay excited about Java in 2013 and beyond. A big prospect is the release of Java 8 by the end of the year, most likely in September. This will be fresh and improved material for developers to work with in the realms of the world wide web and mobile devices.

Besides that, it is predicted that Java will remain the biggest programming language out there, defeating alternatives like Scala and Clojure. These will only be of interest to developments in small niche markets, not really a match for the mainstream attractions of Java. That will likely still be the biggest player on the field in 2013, both in relative as well as in absolute terms.

Sources used for this article: