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Leading-Edge Java
The Web Within an Arm's Reach
Near-Field Communication with JSR 257
by Frank Sommers
October 5, 2005

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The Java Contactless Communication API (JSR 257) enables mobile devices to communicate via short-range wireless means, such as RFID, infrared light, or even Bluetooth, and presents such devices via a simple, homogeneous interface to Java applications. This article explains the role of the Java Contactless Communication API in the emerging field of near-field communications, and provides an example of reading data from any contactless target, including an RFID tag.

In his keynote address at the 2005 MIT Emerging Media Conference, Sun co-founder-cum-venture capitalist Bill Joy recounted his theory of the Six Webs[1]. Conceived over ten years ago, Joy's idea encourages us to look beyond Web browsers when thinking about the Web's future. In Joy's classification, the Web you are using to read this article is only one of six manifestations of the Web. That "near Web" requires you to sit at a computer, fire up a Web browser or email program, and then let those desktop applications bring content from the Web to your computer.

The near-Web is already fairly well-understood, and its key players have marked their territories in recent years. The remaining five Webs, however, hold enormous opportunities in Joy's opinion, having already started life in embryonic form. Those opportunities lie in the following areas:

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