5 reasons to be excited about Java in 2014


Along with the big, and belated, number eight dropping, there are some good reasons to be hopeful about the platform in the next 12 months.


If you’re still feeling the after affects of a
diligent regime of festive overindulgence, spare a thought for
Oracle, which spent the bulk of 2013 battling with an almighty Java
legacy issues hangover. We’ve got a feeling that those security
holes will still be making the headlines in 2014, but, we can also
expect some far cheerier developments. Here are our hot tips for
the next 12 months – as ever, feel free to add your own mystical

1. The Internet of Things is becoming a

Unless you failed to attend one solitary conference or
trawl nary a single tech site last year, by now, you’ll be well
aware of the growing movement to connect all of the things. If the
most hyperbolic predictions come true, there will be billions of
fully realised interconnected devices sprouting into the market in
2018. At the very least, we can expect a few million – and either
way, that’s more than enough to prompt a ‘gold rush’ mentality for
potential players in this brave new marketplace.

A good deal of the content at JavaOne gave lip service
to the Internet of Things, and that buzz of conversation is only
going to grow in 2014. Expect an active movement to control
fragmentation in this developing sector, and, if our takings from
December ThingMonk
event are anything to go on, an increased
focus on design. There be treasure in them there talking toasters,
and, for the moment, it’s anyone’s for the taking.

2. A
polyglottal renaissance

the introduction of invokedynamic in Java 7, languages on the Java
Virtual Machine have seen a Cambrian Explosion-style increase in
diversity. The likes of Clojure and Scala have become viable
alternatives to Java, but even outside of the JVM, there’s an
industry-wide appreciation of different languages’ strengths and
weaknesses – in part thanks to a move away from monolithic
single-platform applications to modularised architectures. The most
promising sign of this polyglot revolution is surely the continued
popularity of Vert.x, which promises Node.js in any

3. Java 8 (and they really mean it this

What year is it again? Java
SE 8 was supposed to arrive in 2012
, bringing with it the
missing parts of Java 7, but has been
and even
had features cut
. Now, two years on, the long-awaited update
should finally appear on 18 March. It will bring closures in the
form of Project Lambda, a new Date and Time API, a new JavaScript
engine called Nashorn, Type Annotations, and Compact Profiles.
a developer preview
now available, there’s every sign – and we
hope this isn’t jinxing it – that it will finally see the light of
day in 2014.

4. Java’s development is (slowly) becoming
more open

since its inception for giving too much power to Sun
(and later Oracle). It’s still very much a developing democratic
process however, and over the past couple of years, meaningful
change has emerged from the ground up. This has been largely driven
by massive usergroups like the London Java Community and Brazil’s
SouJava. The Adopt-A-JSR scheme, in which community members are
encouraged to give detailed feedback on proposed Java features, has
been so successful that even
Oracle has embraced it

5. Coding is becoming

This is far from exclusive to Java, but with trendy
tech startups and so-called hacker culture beginning to reach the
mainstream (through films like The Social Network and
a possible TV show about the origins of Twitter
), working in
tech has lost much of the social stigma it once had. and
Railsgirls are spearheading a drive to get kids coding, and
companies like Codecademy are making the basics more accessible
than ever before. All of this means previously neglected veins of
potential talent are finally being tapped into, bringing with them
a rich mix of new ideas and  approaches. For the understaffed,
and largely homogenous industry, these developments can only
be a good thing.



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