Java EE 7 Looks to the Cloud

Oracle revealed some details regarding its future release of Java Enterprise Edition 7 last week at the Jax conference in San Jose, California. Although many features were leaked, the highlight of the discussion was Java EE 7’s PaaS (platform-as-a-service) capabilities for cloud computing. Java EE 7 is slated for release sometime during the third quarter of 2012.

By giving Java EE 7 PaaS capabilities, the platform would offer the runtime environment needed to run a Java application in the cloud.  Oracle Java EE platform lead Linda Demichiel spoke of the reasoning behind developing Java EE 7’s cloud qualities during the conference: “What our main goal is, is making the Java EE platform ready for use in the cloud so that you can deploy your Java EE apps into a cloud environment." 

To make PaaS possible in Java EE 7, changes in the form of small programming models, new platform roles, and multi-tenancy support would have to be introduced.  In addition, various cloud-friendly APIs would be included in Java EE 7.  JCache, which provides temporary in-memory caching of Java objects would be one such API.  JAX-RS, which offers RESTful access to services, would be another.  DeMichiel added: "We expect applications will need to declare themselves as cloud-enabled.  This may impose additional restrictions on what application code might be able to do."

While PaaS may be the highlight of the Java EE 7 features discussion, Oracle offered a preview detailing more of what the platform will offer.  SaaS (software-as-a service) will be supported in Java EE 7 on a limited scale.  SaaS allows for the deployment of a cloud application that can service multiple customers or tenants, with each customer or tenant getting a separate instance of the application.  Cloud customer roles in the form of an application administrator or end user, plus a cloud provider look to be included as well.

Java EE 6’s Web profile and its Java deployment capabilities for web development should also get a boost in Java EE 7.  One such improvement could come via JAX-RS support.  The configuration capabilities and alignment of Managed Beans via CDI, Enterprise JavaBeans, and JavaServer Faces are also expected to receive upgrades in the upcoming release.

Looking even further into the future, Oracle also leaked some details of what Java EE 8 might have to offer.  The most obvious inclusion would be of any features that did not make the deadline for Java EE 7’s release.  Full modularity is planned, similar to that of Java SE 8.  Additional SaaS capabilities, as well as a cloud profile for Java and extra cloud-friendly APIs could also make the cut. 

One final highlight from the conference worth mentioning came from Daniel Smith, a Java language and compiler developer for Oracle.  Smith noted that Java SE 8 will come equipped with capabilities from Project Lambda.  "Our goal is to make some simple parallel libraries," he said.  Java SE 8 is set to be released towards the end of 2012.

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