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Friday, September 24, 2010

Oracle Postpones Some Features in JDK 7

Oracle has made some decisions about Java: in order to release JDK 7 in the middle of next year, they have decided to change priorities and specifically, postpone three features: Jigsaw, Lambda and Coin.

From the linked article: "Jigsaw is an effort to make Java more modular, while Project Lambda aims to bring closures to Java, and Project Coin is an effort to make small changes to Java's behavior and syntax."

Although none of these, with the exception of closures, really speak to me (and Java is the language I earn a living with...), my personal feeling is summed up in the first question that came to my mind: why postpone features so that JDK 7 can get out of the pipes fast (i.e. 2011) and still have them in JDK 8 which is planned to be released in 2012?

Maybe that one of the reasons is to not lose too much momentum, but I still don't understand the logic behind the seemingly pressing need to release JDK 7. I don't deny that a 2D and 3D graphics engine would be useful, or that JavaFX bridging "the gap between Java applications and the browser's DOM, where HTML 5 and JavaScript exist" isn't important. I'm just puzzled by the timeline. Less than 18 months between two official JDK releases seems kind of hasty, even in the light of previous release dates. Take a look at JDK 6 and you'll wonder how "small language changes" (see the Oracle webpage linked below) could be unwieldy enough to not be baked in the next release.

In my eyes, Java is just fine as it is since it has always served any purposes I've ever had in my professional projects. I've always felt the language was overhyped for a long time, now it's threatened by the likes of Ruby, Lisp or Smalltalk. I feel like the way Java is either glorified or decried isn't how a language should be treated. I guess you can't fight the tides of progress. But keeping the final product consistent with the feature set until release time looks preferable to removing features, including the drastic change and power Lambda will bring into Java. Especially when the latest release is three months short of being four years old.

The ironic thing is that the "modularization" and "developer productivity" sections still list projects Jigsaw and Coin amongst the key features on Oracle's own website.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

History of Java

The Java History Timeline

The Green Project Begins
MS DOS is the dominant operating system
Cell phones weigh half a pound
"Biosphere 2" project begins
"Oak" is the language
*7 Debuts
"Duke" is featured in the Interface
Johnny Carson signs off "The Tonight Show" on NBC
The Green Project becomes FirstPerson
Mosaic v1.0 is released
"Cheers" ends an 11-year run
WebRunner released — the first browser that supports moving objects and dynamic executable content
The Apple QuickTake 100, the first consumer digital camera, goes on sale for less than $1,000
"Friends" debuts on NBC
Java technology released to a select group on the Web site
The San Jose Mercury News runs a front-page article about Java technology
Name changed from "Oak" to "Java"
Announced at Sun World -- Java technology is officially born
The first JavaOne Developer Conference
JDKtm 1.0 software is released
Chess computer Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov for the first time
"Dolly" the first cloned sheep is born
Over 220,000 downloads of JDK 1.1 software occur in just three weeks
JavaOne draws 8,000 attendees, becoming the world's largest developer conference
Java Card 2.0 platform is unveiled
43% of U.S. families own a computer
JDK 1.1 release downloads top 2 million
Visa launches world's first smart card based on Java Card technology
The Java Community Process (JCP) program formalized
"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" premieres in the U.K
Java 2 platform source code is released
JavaOne draws 20,000
J2EE beta software is released
"Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" released
Over 400 Java User Groups are established worldwide
Java Developer Connection program tops 1.5 million members
Steve Jobs joins Scott McNealy on stage at JavaOne to announce a major commitment by Apple in support of Java technology
Heavy Metal band Metallica sues Napster for copyright violations
First international JavaOne conference in Yokohama Japan
Over 1 million downloads of the Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) SDK
Google Inc. PageRank search algorithm patent awarded
"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" is released
J2EE SDK downloads reach 2 million
78% of executives view J2EE technology as the most effective platform for building and deploying Web services
The Euro is introduced
"The Osbournes" becomes a surprise hit on MTV
Java technology runs in almost 550 million desktops
Almost 75% of professional developers use Java programming language as their primary development language
Commercial Voice-Over-Internet (VoiP) phone service begins
"The Da Vinci Code" is published
Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition 5 (Project Tiger) is released
The Java technology-powered Mars Rover (Spirit) touches down on Mars
Sun Java Studio Creator is launched
Java technology celebrates its 10th birthday
Approximately 4.5 million developers use Java technology
Over 2.5 billion Java technology-enabled devices are available bundles the Google Toolbar with the JRE download
Rich Green announces at the JavaOne 2006 Conference that it's not a matter of when Sun will open source Java technology, but how. The NetBeans IDE 5.0 is released. Sun open-sourced Java EE components as the Glassfish Project to Java SE and ME initial components are released as open source. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is released.