Java now shares limelight with other platforms

Will Java Platform survive? Should end-users be enabled to design their own apps?

Will Java Platform survive? Should end-users be enabled to design their own apps? Paul Patrick, chief architect of BEA, has some interesting views on these topics.

A few weeks back at BEA World, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Paul, who, in his words, is responsible for every technology BEA covers, from SCA to SOA to open source.

BEA, needless to say, has been a big booster of Java, but lately has also been looking at offering robust support for other types of frameworks -- even .NET someday. (This interview took place before all the Oracle hubbub.)

Q: Is BEA moving away from Java?

Paul Patrick: J2EE is the heart of WebLogic server, so it's a fundamental piece of our business; a ton of our customers run on it. But I would be remiss if I said we are suppotting other programming paradigms. Spring is a very classic one. We're not divorcing ourselves from J2EE and Java. But we are expanding our field of view. We realize that there's going to be more than Java in the world.

There are also a number of people doing PHP, Perl, and Ruby on Rails. But none of those existing environments have a rock-solid foundation yet. That's what BEA did for Java. I wouldn't even be surprised if we eventually support .NET. We can tie it all together.

Q: The main criticism of J2EE/Java Enterprise Edition is that its too complex.

Paul Patrick: What has changed is that there are more and more people now forced to write code. The whole point of this thing is to make application development simple. The people who are now using J2EE are looking for simple things -- they want to move things faster.

Q: BEA is articulating a vision that business users should be allowed to build their own applications.

Paul Patrick: What we're seeing is the bulk of our customer base has a need to go faster, and be more agile. The reality is people are already building their own apps in the consumer world. But they're not leveraging enterprise assets. There is no reason why you can't do that. The Web becomes the directory of discovery. Imagine where the directory of discovery is in your enterprise. And it's not just Websites anymore. It's business services. It's business processes.

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