In an effort to give a broader group of developers earlier access to draft Java specifications, the Java Community Process (JCP) – the official process for defining Java programming standards – announced its latest iteration of the process and a refreshed set of procedures for adopting new specifications.
JCP 2.6 is the most transparent and accessible iteration in the program’s evolution to date, said the JCP Management Office and the Executive Committees in a statement. This latest version will enable both JCP and non-JCP members to contribute their input to an early review Java Specification Review (JSR) cycle, thereby opening the doors to developers to get more involved.
Officials at the JCP define transparency as providing information about specific JSRs.
Right now each JSR has several review periods; the first review is available only to JCP members and the second review is made public. With JCP 2.6, the first review period is now open to the public. Also, specification leaders will be encouraged to enter the review periods sooner and to have better communication with the entire Java community about specifications undergoing the process.
“I believe that [JCP 2.6] allows more people to make contributions which tends to strengthen and improve the technology,” said Rick Ross, founder of JavaLobby.org, an independent group of Java developers. “It allows people to feel like they are making a difference instead of feeling like it’s a close community or a gated process.”
It further increases the access of the general developer community to the group that is specifically involved with standards development, he added.
Some standards bodies might only be interested in the input of the corporations or other organizations who pay big bucks to be members, but the JCP is continuing along a path of steering Java away from being proprietary and instilling a unique form of openness, Ross explained.
“The original JCP wasn’t as open as the JCP that they put in place two years ago…and that JCP isn’t as open as this JCP 2.6, which allows for greater transparency to the general public at much earlier stages of the development process,” Ross said.
This transparency, Ross added, made it possible for the Apache Software Foundation to become more actively involved in the JCP. For example, in October 2003 when Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun Microsystems Inc. announced the approval of the J2EE 1.4 spec and new open source license terms both JBoss Group LLC and Apache licensed the certification and the Technology Compatibility Kits (TCK) from Sun.
This is Sun’s first major revision to the process since late 2002 when it released version 2.5. The JCP was created in 1998 and has over 700 company and individual participants. It has produced JSRs such as JSR-127, to boost development of user interfaces for Web applications, and JSR-168, for portal interoperability.
More than 200 Java technology specifications are in development in the JCP program, of which 46 per cent are in final stages, according to the JCP.