Monthly Archives: August 2009

J2ME : Virtually end of life

J2ME has virtually reached its end of life. Not because there are no projects in the market. There are still projects even for vb6(1998 release) but the mobile software development has almost changed all software development paradigms.

There are many factors why J2ME is not as popular as Iphone apps. I learned J2ME first(year 2000), then Java SE and then Java EE. J2ME was very easy and didn’t need much java knowledge as it was the most simplest forms of applications one could have. So why’s it dying. Because of its simplicity.

Here are some reasons why Java Mobile Edition is dying out.

1. Simplicity: J2ME was too good for apps having 128KB of memory. As years passed by, memory became cheaper by the day but J2ME feature list didn’t grow up well. I believe that at some point of time, if resource availability is more then we could enhance some good features. But nah! J2ME kept doing little enhancements while hardware jumped faster.

2. Limited availability: Even though it was Java, the component set it provided were too simple. With just a dozen component set and a few layouts one cannot keep up. There are still a few options for providing more components via J2ME Polish, but Polish is a 3rd party tool.

3. Change: J2ME didn’t change or addin more features. Rather I would say the community was really slow in developing more components. Most experts were busy in developing enterprise solutions. Custom components were made but not released as open source. Sun & J2ME polish were the only one who were publicizing WTK. Blackberry’s RIM (Research in Motion) may be doing it indirectly to promote their handsets. But they themselves included a lot of API which were through J2ME but native to Blackberry handsets only — Smart! But I feel they were caught up with this technology and now they cannot get rid of it. But what can I say, RIM was a new company trying to make its mark in the market so they had a good choice of adapting an existing technology rather than creating and SDK for their own apps. Remember RIM is not Apple..!

4. Integration: J2ME had a great IDE with Netbeans only. Larger audience who uses eclipse didn’t have the best IDE which netbeans has. Drag n Drop etc were available much later and still with limited functionality. In fact I would say the flow designer of Netbeans is much much powerful and can give a good competition to Iphone SDK in terms of mobile app flow.

5. New replaces the old: Windows Mobile came in as all smart phone which took a lot of enterprise market. It had easy drag n drop VB6 style programming which made it easy. Years 2002-2006 enterprise market was ruled by smartphones having windows mobile or CE etc. Even now many shipping company, restaurants etc prefer windows based solution. Remember Blackberry was famous in the industry as a personal usage smartphone for its business services and not for its 3rd party application. Now when Iphone has come in, the market is flourishing with projects on iphone!

6. Android bug: Lastly most J2ME developers knowing Java are migrating to Android platform which is completely java based. Even the new ones. They want to build up a career in Android and not in J2ME!

So if someone asks me what’s the future of J2ME? I would say its a ship with a torn sail! The technology needs a complete revamp. Polish should be integrated as a native support. Better IDE which competes with other products’ IDE. It definitely needs much better SDK support.

And whose going to do it? Let the community decide!

Joining a startup?

There are two types of people in the world. One who can only do a job whole life. Others who can never tolerate a job. I am the latter. Where do you belong?

Most people don’t join a start up because of a very basic reason. The risk factor.

In the beginning its all very exciting and fascinating to call yourself a CEO or Management level post. Not necessary that you’re qualified for that!

But joining a start up isn’t something alien. The following are some points which I will share out of my experiences.

The Fear Factor: Have a mentality to convince dependents. Most Indian middle class families are job oriented. Parents prefer their children to secure a good if not high paying job and a good life than themselves. Government job in India is most secure and most boring. So where’s the challenge and excitement? NONE!

The Indian society is divided into two main sections. Families and social network which has very high regard towards a job. In most bengali families if a groom is a businessman they will think twice or even thrice before giving their daughter for marriage. They will invest money in education so that he can secure a good job. But a job after all. On the contrary, the Gujarati or Marwari family will always try to settle their son with some business by giving them some initial capital. Some families strongly believe that education up to high school is enough for the child to join his father’s business!

When joining a start up one should be ready to convince the social network around that “Hey I’m doing a start up, the boat is gonna be rocking but I’m up for it…”

And once you say you up for it, be ready to pickup any job that comes to you. It can be just anything! From serving tea to cleaning desks. If you’re not comfortable in that you shouldn’t even be reading this blog!

Treat your start up like a child. Feel motherly pride in doing anything for it.

Failure: Some people fail. Don’t give up. Understand that its a business after all. There will be times when you’re amazingly happy about winning a project or cracking a deal and other times when you’re almost down and nothing works your way! Be ready to face it. Be ready to accept it. Consider the two ends of a pendulum and imagine that on one side there is joy, happiness and on the other side there is disappointment, sadness. Your journey in life is like a pendulum. It never stays happy forever and never stays disappointing always!

Financial crisis: Most people have family pressures, bank loan, EMI to pay. They will never think of starting a startup. A secure job makes you a man-eating tiger. Once a tiger has tasted the blood of a man, he will never go back to other animals. From one man to other he will prey. Similarly job seekers will seek jobs. From one company to another and another. But one must understand, the person who is putting you on a job is a businessman after all.

Problem with start ups: We all know start ups have low funds, poor infrastructure and blah blah and everything you may have read elsewhere. But a practical lesson comes when your team members have difference in opinion. Who is right and who is wrong? Mis-communication , less communication, self respect , ego all put more oil in the fire. The team breaks. A divorce happens and the child suffers.

Strategy: Have a long lasting strategy but flexible one. A start up should like water. Should take the shape in anything which holds it. If it doesn’t it becomes too rigid and breaks when strong winds blow. A start up is more client oriented. Its really crucial to have a balance in concentrating between what you DO and how you Sell. Teams of B-techs and MBAs do a good start up but you don’t have to be a MBA or a Btech to do a start up!

Be a real tiger, not a man-eater. Feel free to put your points!

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