The Java Store, a Q&A

One of the big announcements at JavaOne was the Java Store. I'm especially proud of it because I've been secretly working on the project for the past few months. Since the announcement I've gotten a lot of questions on the store and how it relates to the rest of the Java ecosystem. To supplement the excellent FAQ I thought I'd answer a few questions.

What's the one paragraph summary of what you've announced?

We have announced the private beta of the Java Store, a desktop client to let people browse and purchase desktop Java applications, and the open beta of the Java warehouse where developers can submit their apps for distribution. You can sign up to test out the store and warehouse today. Currently US only for both the store and the warehouse, with more countries coming soon.

Can I make apps for the Java Store in languages other than JavaFX?

Yes! All JVM based languages are welcome, not just Java and JavaFX. Remember, end users don't care what language your app was written in. They just care that you made a useful app that looks and performs well. Use whatever language lets you be the most productive and build your best apps.

What are the restrictions on apps in the store?

See the FAQ for full details, but the brief answer is: any JVM app. Must be consumer oriented. 50MB limit (for now). Must be unsigned or signed with a valid cert. All apps are free until the store is open for business, then you can charge. There's a few more details but those are the basics.

When will you let me sell my apps?

As soon as we can. The store isn't open yet. After all, you can't have a store with empty shelves. That's why we are giving you, the developers, time to get your apps ready. When we open the store for business you will be able to set your price and start selling apps.

How will customers find my apps?

The desktop client you saw at JavaOne is only the first version. We are already hard at work adding new features to the store that will let customers find your apps. Features like searching, filtering, ratings and reviews. And eventually the Java Store will be distributed with Java itself, ensuring your apps can be found by nearly a billion people.

What about mobile apps and TV?

The Java Store is really two parts. The storefront is the desktop client program which lets you buy desktop apps. There is also the Java Warehouse. This is the place where you, the developer, can store your apps for sale. In the future there will be additional storefronts for TV and mobile, probably carrier branded. The Java Warehouse, where you put your apps, will serve all these stores. Desktop is only the first exciting step.

What apps are in the store today? Where did they come from?

We worked with a group of partner companies to build new apps and adapt existing apps for the store. My personal favorite is the Astronomy Picture of the Day app, built by a cool company here in Eugene, Oregon called Concentric Sky. It connects to NASA's astronomy photo archive letting you browse through past photos, read descriptions, and even translate the text into other languages using Google Translate. See what the CEO of Concentric Sky had to say about the Java Store and JavaFX in their blog.

Why can't developers in other countries sign up? When will you let us sell apps in other countries?

We will open up the store to other countries as soon as we can. International commerce is far far more complicated that you might think (as an engineer I was quite surprised). Every country has different rules about taxes, privacy, and commerce. There's simply a tremendous amount of paperwork to go through. We have the lawyers and business guys working on it right now. Currently we are aiming for early 2010, but we'll let you know if we can get it done sooner.

To clarify we asked Jeet Kaul, one of the Java executives to explain: (click to watch)


If you have any other questions regarding the Java store please email me or submit your comments to our feedback page.

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Posted June 17th, 2009