Jakarta EE marks a new era

Photo of Mike Croft by Mike Croft

It is highly likely that most people involved in the Java EE community are already aware of the open sourcing of Java EE and the move to the Eclipse Foundation. For those unaware, however, here's a quick primer:


Back in 2017, Oracle announced their intention to "open up" Java EE. For many, this was very unexpected, but also very welcome. The implications at the time were huge and, since that time, Oracle chose to donate Java EE to the Eclipse Foundation to manage the transition and future of Java EE. Since Oracle retained Java SE and the trademark to the brand "Java", the new open project was no longer able to use the name "Java" in a new trademark in any way. The decision was made to open up suggestions for a new name to the community, through GitHub, to collate a list of suggestions and to "crowdsource" a name.


After a huge amount of community involvement with over 450 comments added to the EE4J issue #1 and almost 7000 final votes, a brand name has emerged! As Mike Milinkovich confirmed on Twitter, the name "Jakarta EE" has won over "Enterprise Profile".


A new name is always challenging, since it is impossible to please everyone, however the response to the Jakarta EE name has been overwhelmingly positive. Even those who favoured "Enterprise Profile" did not seem to be against the name Jakarta EE.


A New Era

This is, of course, not the first time that the technology has changed its name. When J2EE 1.4 became Java EE 5, it was the beginning of a technical shift in response to real-world experiences, leading to the introduction of a slimmer "Web Profile" and dependency injection in Java EE 6. Now, in 2018, we are at the beginning of the Jakarta EE era; one that promises to be defined by an open development process in the Eclipse Foundation, not just an open platform.


This new era of Jakarta EE also promises to be defined by increased collaboration among both vendors and the community. The difference in development style at the Eclipse Foundation should be a significant shift in mindset from those used to working within the JCP and the hope is that the change can foster an increase in the activity of all parties.


Changing Opinions

Over the years there have been no shortage of online commentators who have had a bad experience of a product within the Java EE ecosystem. Most users of modern Java EE application servers would agree that the problems and concerns of the past have been dealt with. The first releases of Jakarta EE application servers will be lean, fast and look to the future.


To give a less technical viewpoint, I asked our head of marketing for her opinion. When asked about the opportunities that a new name gives, Dominika said "With my marketing hat on, Jakarta EE gives us much more opportunity to create interesting branding and has a lot of Open Source heritage, thanks to Apache".


While there will always be naysayers for any widely used project, this new branding is a great opportunity to give a reason for developers who left Java EE behind more than 10 years ago to see how it feels to write Jakarta EE applications today.


A New Landscape

Along with the new development process at Eclipse and the opportunity to redefine technology under the banner of Jakarta EE, there is now a new trademark under which application servers can be licensed. Over the previous few years, Payara Server had never licensed the TCK and therefore never been certified as a Java EE application server. Under the Eclipse Foundation, Payara intends to license Payara Server as a Jakarta EE certified application server. All the same factors that have made it easier for Payara to be involved in Jakarta EE will likely also make it easier for other vendors to be involved in Jakarta EE and its future.


Aside from other vendors, there is also new possibilities for specifications to evolve. The Eclipse MicroProfile has developed new, modern specifications very rapidly and continues to innovate. It has also shown that the decision to keep TCKs open and free (as will happen for Jakarta EE) is a huge benefit to the community in attracting a wide variety of implementations.


If the successes of the MicroProfile project under the stewardship of Eclipse are a sign of things to come for Jakarta EE, then the future looks very bright indeed.



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