Oracle VP: “We have a strategy to run Java inside a Javascript environment”

This statement from Adam Messinger – the Vice President of Java Development at Oracle – was shocking to me (original podcast; transcript; emphasis mine):

Roger: One last question here. What’s Oracle going to do to make Java successful on the desktop?

Adam: …another way is this strategy we have around running Java inside of a JavaScript environment. So there the programming language is Java, but the platform is not a JVM platform.

This is a little bit of a scary thing, honestly, for Oracle, because while the language is something we know and love, a lot of the value we have comes from the stack underneath the JVM, the library, and so on and so forth.

But we think it’s something that we need to do for the community so we can make Java available more places from tablet devices like the iPad where there is not an easy way to get Java there today, to desktops where, while there are applets, some people choose not to use applets, and we want a solution that works there.

Trying to pull meaning from a brief statement like this is a dangerous thing to do, but it sounds like Oracle is working on a way to use Javascript as a compilation target.  It’s anyone’s guess whether this is Oracle’s stab at something akin to GWT…or, perhaps their objective is more along the lines of Orto (an apparently defunct implementation of the JVM in Javascript, as reported by John Resig in 2008, which would allow one to cross-compile existing Java libraries to Javascript – a far more interesting prospect, IMO).

I try to stay on the ball when it comes to developments in the JVM space, but I’ve never heard of an Oracle effort along these lines, and I can’t find anyone online about it otherwise.  Am I just not looking in the right places, or is Mr. Messinger’s comment really the first public mention on the topic?

20 thoughts on “Oracle VP: “We have a strategy to run Java inside a Javascript environment”

  1. At first I thought Mr Messinger was referring to something far more mundane, like revamping how the Java Plugin can export information to Javascript. However he goes on to talk about how much of the platform and JRE wouldn’t be there. Very interesting.

  2. Interesting. JVM has been the main attraction of the whole Java thing, but according to what’s been said, now a Javascript Engine / VM will be the center of everything including Java as a language. The main drive looks like enlarging Java’s usage on all devices. But this move also signals the importance of Javascript, both as a language and a platform.

  3. It seems the first one. Podcasts haven’t the same impact as blogs, i think. Many download them to hear them on the road, at the gym, so on.

    I think what Mr. Messinger tried to describe is a successor of the applet and Java FX. Because they are mostly easy to implement, their pendant in JavaScript could be too.

  4. This thinking is actually very doable. Just recently in a project that I’ve been developing for sometime, a web based spreadsheet called jQuery.sheet. I wanted to implement a full calculations engine that could handle spreadsheet formulas. After a ton of research and a few prof of concepts later, we have it. Perhaps they are going to create a simplified javascript parser out of javascript….

    I did it using Jison (, it is actually very simple:
    With the output here:

    Take a look, it is groundbreaking stuff.

  5. Or… maybe it’s just another fucking VP spouting bullshit that he himself doesn’t even understand.

    Like in 1993 when a VP of Novell said the internet was going to migrate from TCP/IP to IPX because “IPv6 is basically IPX”.

    Like in 1989 when Bill Gates said, “NT will be Unix” (he meant “NT will replace Unix as the dominent server platform.”)

    Fill in your favorite example…

    1. I don’t think so because what he’s saying is completely coherent.

      What would be hilarious though is if they released and Google sued them for patent infringement.

    2. Adam Messinger is not “just another VP”, he has the technology background to talk JVM internals with just about anyone on the planet. He also knows exactly what he’s talking about.

      Say what you want about Oracle being a bad guy, but they’ve put brilliant people in top positions. We’re going to see the fruition of this in a year or two.

  6. Actually what Ryan posted is very doable and think that would be the main thema of javafx 2.0. Am glad to see this evolution for javafx as an api running on defacto standard rather then a parallel platform. Am guessing at some future point Swing/AWT and javafx would merge.

  7. 1) The expressed Oracle’s move makes sense.
    SUN has failed to deliver its promised Java Browser Edition.
    But IMHO Google succeeded with GWT as I wrote it in:
    “Google has released a (kind of) Java Browser Edition with GWT”
    That’ s a successful direction to follow.

    2) It’s time to mix the power of Java and HTML.
    This idea has needed time to make its way into Java leaders’ mind.
    I wrote in *2007* the following post:
    “Why not running a Java Browser Edition on top of Firefox VM (Tamarin) ?”

    3) Anyway, I am still waiting to see the results of the Oracle’s move…
    because, recently, “SUN has lost a huge opportunity while not leveraging JWebPane”
    And it was quite a great opportunity to mix Java/HTML strengths.
    2 years after its presentation, we are still waiting the release of JWebPane.
    So, ok, Oracle has announced that the JavaFX roadmap includes a HTML/JS/CSS generation output; But Oracle has still to prove it with the release of the tools.

    4) Adobe has mixed the strengths of its language, ActionScript, with the HTML’s ones into a platform, that is, Adobe AIR. JWebPane Would have provided such a HTML/Java platform if ever released. Unfortunately, it has not been released…

    So, let’s wait and see…

  8. It already exist in the name of GWT.

    Beside, the JVM is a big interrest for java, but it is not the only one. Java is a standard. It is broadly used, many people use it and master it.

    Java comes with a huge ecosystem with great IDE suport (refactoring, autocompletion…), static code analysis for metrics and all.

    The Java API is also pretty well known and GWT implement a subset of this standard API. The developper can leverage he existings skills.

    For UI developpement java can be of help. Because of all theses tools, because of static typing, it’s easy to manage big projects on java. The GWT framework take care of the differents browsers and even optimize your code at compilation time. You have all that for free.

    For me compiling to java script using something like JAVA (or any good modern statically typed language) bring many interrestings things to the table.

    But like JAVAEE5 & 6, like JSF, like JPA… Sun/Oracle continue to fail at innovation. They just do what others have done years ago (JSF is just Struts, JPA is just hibernate, JAVAEE 5&6 is a response to spring framework…).

    Basically what they need is GWT. But they will not catch up with google. GWT is now really optimized, it comes with it’s wysiwig editor and produce optimized versions for all major browsers. You have now a data access framework, control that can handle millions of rows… All of that in your Eclipse IDE, with debugging and all the JAVA facilities.

  9. Software development efforts you have to admit over the last ten years has benefited
    greatly from the community of open source development. Look at how java has been used in the creative hands of many developers to come up with all of these great tools and produced as a result new startup companies to aid businesses in becoming more efficient and in creating jobs. Which companies like Oracle and Google also prospered by taking these open source tools and creating their own tools to sell. I would hope the these big Goliath companies tread carefully in there negotiations and there is some equitable profit sharing without ripping down this format that has made them billions
    and created opportunities for new niche ventures to grow.

    The monopolization at there level I am sure is a concern to many developers in the business community and maybe it may force developers to look at other alternatives than there products.

    sorry for if I was being preachy , but that’s how i feel

  10. […] Running Java inside JavaScript? Seriously? I mean, we can already run JavaScript inside Java, and create JavaScript code from Java, if that’s your cup of tea (it’s not mine). Regardless, I think 2011 will be the year where bringing some cohesiveness and order out of the millions of microprojects and microtoolkits will happen, because developers only have so much time to look at your 500 new projects each month on GitHub. […]

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