It was a great, interesting year - but my personal "business" predictions went totally wrong. I actually expected a bigger impact of the economy downturn to the amount of work (contracts) and actually planned a "vacation-year". The plan was to learn as much as possible new stuff, speak at few conferences, write some books and articles in parallel. What happened was the exact opposite of a "vacation": I got more contract requests, than I could actually handle. I underestimated the Java EE 5 interests of my customers. Java EE Training / workshops were very well attended, but I was also involved in 2009 in more Java EE 5 projects than ever before. There was also a well attended EJB 3 / Java EE 5 day at the w-jax conference in munich - the Java EE talks at the JAX conference in Frankfurt were overcrowded. I'm also stunned by the sales numbers of the "Real World Java EE Patterns - Rethinking Best Practices" book - also a nice surprise. The visitor numbers of this blog almost doubled - comparing it to 2008 (> 7k visitors a day).
The only explanation for the increased Java EE popularity I have, are increased interests on multi-vendor standards. It seems like companies / enterprises in hard times are not willing to be dependent on a single vendor / technology provider any more. This year we "migrated" (this activity was mainly comprised of testing) some Java EE 5 applications from one application server to another - just because of better licensing and support conditions. I was also involved in some J2EE -> Java EE 5 migrations. They were also smoother, than expected: I was surprised how well it worked.
It was also a year of the REST / EJB 3 / JPA synergy. I used the combination a lot in my projects - and the developers liked it. It was funny to watch the reactions of people, who never saw Java EE 5 code before but knew J2EE :-).
During the Community One conference in New York City, a merge between Sun and IBM was announced. Lot of analysts were speculating about the Sun-IBM product overlap. A few weeks later Oracle merged with Sun - the transaction, however, is not committed yet. Hopefully there will be no TransactionTimeOutException :-). Oracle is actually an interesting company - they already experimented with Java in their database over 11 years ago with the Aurora JVM. Oracle just completed the dream of having a database appliance with a minimal OS-kernel. The project Raw Iron was announced over 12 years ago - this year it was implemented with FlashFire or the Sun Oracle Database Machine.
I was a bit concerned about the future of Java FX - but I was surprised with an interesting statement during the Java One keynote. Larry Ellisson seems to have strategic interests on Java FX as well.
The end of 2009 was also exciting. Java EE 6 with Glassfish v3, NetBeans 6.8 were released, Java FX got a visual composer and a really good IDE support, and IntelliJ was opensourced.
It was an exciting year - already looking forward to 2010. ...and Java is still #1. A prediction: the impact of JDK 1.7 modularization will be bigger, than the introduction of closures. Btw. I don't rely too heavily on vacations this year either - I got already some requests for Java EE 6 gigs :-).