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CAD/CAM Corner
Oracle Packages Java for Embedded Systems Design
9/28/2012

Oracle Java ME Embedded provides a commercial, binary implementation of Java for small-footprint devices, based on ARM v5, ARM v6, and ARM v7 design chipsets.   (Source: Oracle)
Oracle Java ME Embedded provides a commercial, binary implementation of Java for small-footprint devices, based on ARM v5, ARM v6, and ARM v7 design chipsets.
(Source: Oracle)

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Beth Stackpole
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Re: It could open the door to more developers
Beth Stackpole   10/2/2012 10:10:43 AM
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@Janicki: Thanks so much for the great perspective on working with Java and your input on the IDE issue and what Java tools have to offer. I think your point about Java being a known entity is definitely the lever that Oracle is trying to pull to get into this market.

janicki
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It could open the door to more developers
janicki   10/1/2012 4:44:30 PM
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I'm a Java guy, writing servers and desktop/web interfaces.  Last year I tinkered with a Texas Instrument MSP430 set for a potential home-grown project.  I found the programming language to be too "close to the silicon" (almost like assembly code), not well documented with few examples (at least from the perspective of a beginner), and the available IDEs were neither free nor very modern.  (An IDE is the Integrated Development Environment... a fancy text editor for writing the code.)  In the end, I gave up on the project because I didn't have the time to learn everything by trial and error.  What I did manage to learn hinted that there were many gotchas to learn, and probably very different gotchas for each chip set.  And there was no cohesion between the chip documentation, programming language documentation, and IDE documentation. Everything was an island.

Java has several great IDEs to choose from, with vast documentation, templates, and examples.  And the Java language itself is obviously well documented.  In the Java world, there seem to be APIs, tutorials, and examples for nearly anything you can imagine.  And maybe more importantly there are resources for people starting from scratch.

I felt that programming the MSP430 was somewhat an "insider's" game.  Without past on-the-job  experience/mentoring, it would be a steep learning curve.

If Java can put a familiar blanket on the whole thing, then maybe it can ease more developers into the field.  

Regarding Jim_E's worries, all I can say is that good Java code work well.  Sure, if you make some newbie mistakes, Java performance will kick you, but beyond that hump in the learning curve, it's pretty good stuff.  It's certainly mature enough to put some trust into, despite recent bad press for newfound security holes... they are just temporary bumps, and don't have anything to do with embedded systems anyway.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: No thank you!
Beth Stackpole   10/1/2012 10:47:43 AM
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Interesting perspective, Jim. What exactly are the reasons that would keep you away from Java for embedded applications?

Jim_E
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No thank you!
Jim_E   10/1/2012 9:37:56 AM
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Having done Embedded Systems Development for a number of years, as well as have done some Java applications development, I'll say "No thank you!" to having Java on an embedded level....

It would take some really tough convincing for me to consider running Java on an embedded system that would require any type of responsiveness.  I suppose it would be better with this new ME platform and development suite, but with the alternatives out there, it would take some convincing for me to try it. 

Maybe if you had a bunch of Java developers and wanted to start a new embedded product, it might make sense, but I tend to stay away from all things Oracle if I can!

 

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Big news
Beth Stackpole   10/1/2012 7:22:37 AM
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They were totally all over the Internet of things or M2M applications as the genesis of this announcement. While there is some new technology here as far as the small-sized embedded tools for microprocessors, a lot of the other piece of the announcement involved a lot of repackaging to give developers a soup-to-nuts embedded development platform built around Java.

Charles Murray
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Big news
Charles Murray   9/28/2012 5:24:04 PM
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Big news here, Beth. I think Oracle is really onto something. As you point out, its targeted at MCUs with less than 130K bytes of RAM and 350K bytes of ROM, which suggests they're going at the small end of the embedded market. Sounds like thy think the Internet of Things is coming.

naperlou
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Back to its rootsBet
naperlou   9/28/2012 11:17:39 AM
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Beth, this is interesting in that this is the environment Java was orginally meant for.  By virtue of running on a virtual machine (the JVM) it could be written once and run anywhere a JVM was available.  This made it usefull in web browsers, but it was not the original intent. 

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