It’s not all gloom and doom you know

5 Reasons to be excited about Java in 2013

Chris Mayer
2013-celebrate1

2013 is shaping up to be a big and exciting year in Java development. Here’s five reasons why…

With 2012 done and dusted, it’s time to look forward to
the coming 12 months for the development world. Over the past few
days, we’ve asked some

respected

developers
for their predictions – now it’s
time for our own.

Here’s five quick reasons why you ought to be excited about
what 2013 holds…

1. Java 8

An obvious place to start but for most Java developers,
it’s
the release of 2013. Assuming
there’s no further delays, we can expect Java 8 to arrive in
September, bringing with it long awaited lambda
functions.

It’s fairly likely in the immediate aftermath of Java 8’s
welcome, we will see blogposts of equal measure either moaning at
the complexity of the new features or saying the release isn’t big
enough to warrant interest.

Either way, some much needed deferred features finally make
an appearance and the rest of us will just knuckle down. The
improved Date and Time API within Java 8 also deserves a mention
here.

2. JVM languages go from strength to
strength

2012 was really the year when JVM languages took centre
stage. Front of the pack was multi-paradigm Scala, notching
up
impressive enterprise
clients
thanks to investment into Typesafe.
Extending the possibilities with Akka and Play 2.0!, it looks like
the foundations are in place to push further in 2013. The real
challenge is selling Scala to those who don’t need something heavy
duty.

The dynamic Groovy wasn’t far behind last year, adding static
compilation into the mix with Groovy 2.0.  A third major
version is expected not long after Java 8 to allow Groovy
developers to get the most of the new features. The supporting
cast, including Gradle and Grails
, could
be a big draw for those looking for a Java alternative that isn’t
too far removed.

We’ve not mentioned the likes of Clojure, JRuby and
Kotlin; the
latter undergoing plenty of work as it nears a final version.
Ultimately, success comes down to the fostering of an active
community, which many JVM languages have cottoned onto, and the
spinoff projects within that community.

If 2012 was the rise, 2013 is the consolidation
within enterprise circles, which is fuelled by the developers
using the language.

3. The increasing importance of JavaScript in
Java

Details were thin on the ground for two new initiatives in
OpenJDK for most of 2012, but
by the
year’s end, we had learnt a bit
more about each project’s goals and their importance to Java
innovation.

The new JavaScript engine set to be included within Java 8
will embed

JavaScript into Java applications
.
Project
Nashorn
cements the notion of JavaScript’s
reemergence and ever more relevance to Java
developers.

Initially shrouded in secrecy, Nashorn was open sourced in
November and appeared in the OpenJDK repository
four
days before Christmas
. Another big plus point for
Nashorn is the crucial inclusion of wildly popular node.js within
the deal, ushering in a polyglot future. With plenty more details
set to come, we’ll be monitoring this one with eagle
eyes.

4. Getting more bang for your buck – harnessing the
GPU

Another project within OpenJDK that has great potential
is
Sumatra,
aiming to harness greater Java performance by utilising the GPU.
Initial investigations are centred on the Hotspot JVM to lay the
groundwork, before ‘leveraging’ Java 8 library and languages
features
such as lambdas to test the
techniques with cutting edge Java.

The project, led by GPU specialist
AMD
, expects to find some roadblocks on
the way with the Java API and its constructs, so we won’t be seeing
ideas implemented in Java 8, but Sumatra could lead to some great
advances and new techniques down the line for
developers
.

5. Java drifts even further into the cloud

With dozens of IaaS and PaaS options flooding the market,
from both indies like Jelastic and industry giants like Oracle and
AWS, developers are now spoilt for choice. Java has, it seems,
successfully made the leap into the brave new world of “the
cloud”.

The biggest current problem, as highlighted by Martijn
Verburg on the

Java Advent Calendar
blog, is a lack of
standardisation and optimisation. With Java’s own cloud
features

delayed to Java EE 8
, it’s now up to the
providers to provide standards such as

CAMP
or, failing that, the community to come
up with universal frameworks like
jclouds.
Meanwhile, others are refusing to wait patiently for Oracle to
provide features like multitenancy and efficient garbage
collection, such as Waratek (which

we profiled in September
).

With cloud platforms rapidly becoming the norm, we’re likely
to see the launch of even more third-party solutions for supporting
Java in the cloud: by the time Java EE 8 rolls around (possibly
2014), we may not even need it.
(Elliot
Bentley)

Image courtesy of eneas

Author
Comments
comments powered by Disqus