A Novell conference would seem to be the perfect venue to discuss server-based applications since that is where Novell's IntranetWare operating system resides. Novell grew into an OS force in the industry by taking distributed PCs and connecting them into a local area network (LAN) via server systems. Growth in server-based Java applications could not come at a better time for Novell, a company that is attempting to drive development for its platform through a massive Java adoption effort.
"The thing that's really clear is the Web wins and networking is driving the industry," Gosling said. "For both Sun and Novell, it's sort of heartwarming to see the concept of networking go so mainstream."
"The network is really what applications are built for," he told attendees on the third day of BrainShare '97.
Novell's Java embrace enables developers to write to a particular network service, such as Novell's Directory Services (NDS), rather than to a particular server operating system. The push toward services by the company is based on the perception that Novell has a significant lead in the directory space, a software technology that offers administrators a central point of control for network users, resources, and applications.
Massive Java adoption also indicates that Novell is moving away from the concept of NetWare Loadable Modules (NLM). Developers will not have to program to the NLM model any more, writing to Java instead, according to Vic Langford, senior vice president of Internet strategies at Novell.
Gosling also told developers to root out environments that wrap the Java programming language in proprietary code, a thinly veiled stab at Microsoft, which has been accused of taking Java in proprietary directions. "The strongest force in maintaining interoperability is community pressure," he reminded the crowd.