Saturday, February 21, 2004

BEA's Bosworth: The World Needs Simpler Java

BEA's Bosworth: The World Needs Simpler Java "eWEEK: Simplicity in tools is an issue on everybody's mind today, particularly with BEA and your Workshop product. How much of an impact do you think you've had on making Java development easier?
BOSWORTH: Well, I think we've had a huge impact on making it easier, which is to say… I'm going to make a very aggressive assertion. I would argue that there were really only about 500,000 people who could effectively use J2EE [Java 2 Enterprise Edition] before Workshop. There were obviously more people who could program in Java and there were obviously more people who could use JSPs [JavaServer Pages]. What I'm saying is the people who could actually make use of J2EE to develop true enterprise computing, it was the systems programmer crowd. That's who we were selling to. And I believe we truly have made it possible for the corporate developer, the applications developer to play in that and that means there's more like 5 million people. And what's more is because of the two-way views we've let them work collaboratively with the business user. Now the effect of that is measured in different ways. We just released the product not too long ago and I don't know yet what the impact will be in terms of what everyone does. I think it's interesting that other products are now starting to try and repeat what we've already shipped.
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eWEEK: How can BEA, which seems to be mostly known as an application server vendor, lead this kind of revolution?
BOSWORTH: Well, you're asking two questions in one. I'm only equipped to answer one. One is a marketing question and the right people to ask that question of are Byron Sebastian and Tod Nielsen. Tod, as you probably know, has extensive marketing experience. And Byron is in my opinion one of the finest people in software today, and is thinking very hard about this problem. That's not my expertise, which is why I shouldn't be allowed to be the CEO of a company. I've been one but only because I had to.
The other question you're asking is technically how could we do it, which is a different question. Technically, I do think my approach is a little bit unique. I brought about 100 people into BEA who had done this.
eWEEK: From CrossGain?
BOSWORTH: Well, from all over. I bought a company called Westside after BEA bought me [CrossGain]. And Westside had many of the people that helped me build VB and Access. And many of the people that came in with CrossGain had worked for Borland at some point and had worked with me for years. I was asked at one point how can we build an IDE for the rest of us in 18 months when no one can build an IDE in 18 months. I said look the people who are doing this, this is their fifth generation. They built Quick C then they built Visual C. Then they built another and then they did it again. Then they went to CrossGain and built work and they've been doing this over and over and learning as they go. So I think what's unique about us is we have two separate pieces of DNA in the organization.
We have the enterprise DNA that came out of the Tuxedo roots and the WebLogic roots that are massively scalable don't-fall-down roots, which honestly are not Microsoft's roots. And then at the same time we now have the DNA of how do you make it mass market and how do you make it easy. And honestly I'm pretty proud of what we did in the first place. I started building 8.1 in December of 2001. And 18 months later we shipped a product that really pretty profoundly started to change what you had to know to build a truly scalable, truly asynchronous platform that took advantage of the things you can do in J2EE. Are we done? No. We're not close to done."
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