SDN Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, TJ Randall

Related Topics: Mobile IoT

Mobile IoT: Article

What Does it All Mean?

What Does it All Mean?

Wireless - what a stupid word. When all's said and done, what does it really mean? Is it just another word the computing industry has hijacked for its own ill-gotten gains? After some searching around I came up with a number of definitions for the infamous word:

1. To communicate (a message) or communicate with (someone) by radio telephone or telegraph
2. Without, or operating, transmitted, or the like without, wires; a wireless message

I guess that sort of fits into where the word is being deployed. That makes me feel a lot better. But what does it really mean? What does it mean to us in the Java community? It means that the devices that are considered "wireless" don't have any wires in them. With respect to this, I believe the technical definition could be "a device that is completely independent of wires for power and networking purposes."

Okay, but let's get back to Java for a moment. What does it mean for us in the Java community? To be brutally frank, it means absolutely nothing. Java is a platform-independent language and the developing community doesn't care or worry about such low-level decisions as deployment. That's the whole point of Java: write once, run anywhere. Or have I missed something? Oh, if only it were that simple. Sadly, it's nowhere near that, and as the proliferation of devices increases, this WORA statement will be getting less and less valid. The reality of the day is that it does matter. You simply can't download your applet into your Palm Pilot and start toddling out of the office knowing that you have everything you need.

The role of the Java developer has changed. No one can claim that he or she is a Java developer. There's no such job anymore. The Java part of the equation is easy; it's the target audience that's the hard part. A developer working for deployment on an EJB server is going to have different hurdles and problems to solve than a developer heading for the browser community. Likewise, the developer coding servlets/JSP isn't going to be hitting the same problems as a developer for embedded devices. Sure, at the core level they all have core Java, but that's no longer the problem. Don't be fooled. The devices, which are providing Java Virtual Machines, have to squeeze a lot of processing out of a small footprint.

The guidelines for Java Micro Edition (http://java.sun.com/j2me/) state that devices are classified in one of two areas: those that have less than 512K usable memory and those that have more. Not a lot of memory to play with at the end of the day, is it? This isn't user memory, of course; this is just the memory that the JVM has to be shoehorned into. So, as you can imagine, a lot of functionality that we've been used to in the main JDK has to be sacrificed. But this is good. This will allow Java developers to become more focused and raise their skill levels. Instead of relying on core libraries to do a lot of work for us, we're going to have to worry about solving them ourselves. For many developers this is going to be impossible. They simply won't be able to think around the problems that are going to be presented. For others this is going to present a challenge and drive excitement.

It's not quite as bad as it was in the early days of the home computer  when the likes of Matthew Smith (a coding god in my eyes) were trying to get as much out of the 48K Spectrum for the classic "Jet Set Willy" or "Manic Miner" games. Incidentally, drop in on www.spectrum.lovely.net/ for a trip down memory lane. Anyone who knows the physical constraints of the computer will appreciate the quality of these games. Whatever it is you're developing - games for a Nokia phone or an address application for your Palm Pilot - you're going to have to be aware of the constraints that such an environment is going to place on you. You're going to have to think around these problems, and chances are, as you do, even more problems will pop up. But hey, that's development! Java isn't the answer; it's merely the tool to help you provide the solution.

More Stories By Alan Williamson

Alan Williamson is widely recognized as an early expert on Cloud Computing, he is Co-Founder of aw2.0 Ltd, a software company specializing in deploying software solutions within Cloud networks. Alan is a Sun Java Champion and creator of OpenBlueDragon (an open source Java CFML runtime engine). With many books, articles and speaking engagements under his belt, Alan likes to talk passionately about what can be done TODAY and not get caught up in the marketing hype of TOMORROW. Follow his blog, http://alan.blog-city.com/ or e-mail him at cloud(at)alanwilliamson.org.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Most Recent Comments
Gary Dobbins 01/18/01 08:59:00 AM EST


Am so glad someone has taken the time to pound on the mis/over-use of the term Wireless these days.

We're amidst a "wireless" hype cycle here, and to contrast services delivered truly without wires (e.g. WAP over cellular), versus those where we just extend our corporate wired LAN to the air (with 802.11b devices), I've re-introduced the term "cordless" (like the phone at home) for the short-range connections as 802.11b provides.

Maybe I'm just as guilty now of brining yet another term into overload, but using it has helped us here quickly distinguish between the above 2 service types (both of which we expect to use and don't need to confuse with one another).

It's time we stopped calling everything that uses radio "wireless" and bring into usage terms that are more descriptive.

Thanks for the article.

CloudEXPO Stories
Your job is mostly boring. Many of the IT operations tasks you perform on a day-to-day basis are repetitive and dull. Utilizing automation can improve your work life, automating away the drudgery and embracing the passion for technology that got you started in the first place. In this presentation, I'll talk about what automation is, and how to approach implementing it in the context of IT Operations. Ned will discuss keys to success in the long term and include practical real-world examples. Get started on automating your way to a brighter future!
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next-gen applications and how to address the challenges of building applications that harness all data types and sources.
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments that frequently get lost in the hype. The panel will discuss their perspective on what they see as they key challenges and/or impediments to adoption, and how they see those issues could be resolved or mitigated.
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 12-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI and Machine Learning to one location.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Nutanix has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO New York, which will take place November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Nutanix makes infrastructure invisible, elevating IT to focus on the applications and services that power their business. The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform blends web-scale engineering and consumer-grade design to natively converge server, storage, virtualization and networking into a resilient, software-defined solution with rich machine intelligence.