Red Hat's JVM language taking shape

Ceylon latest: Milestone 3 nears, OpenShift links underway

It's been one busy year for Red Hat's fledgling JVM language Ceylon and its creator Gavin King took stock of the past 12 months in a blogpost, just to show how far the project had come and what lies ahead for it in the immediate future.

The last milestone for Ceylon was M2 Minitel back in March, which dealt with most, if not all, the Java interoperability and a lot has happened since then. Firstly, the work towards M3, which will bring a lot of higher-order functions (curried functions, anonymous functions, inline functions in named argument lists, and indirect invocations) into the mix, as well as integrating the JavaScript backend into the distribution.

We can expect all this in mid-June, with King saying that the team's focus now shifts towards the Ceylon SDK, where a lot of work lies ahead. Preview modules for ceylon.math, ceylon.net and ceylon.fs will all appear in Ceylon Herd - the recently-launched and aptly-named module repository which aims to be a one shop stop for all of Ceylon's modules. The idea behind the repository was to take the best of existing repositories (Perl's CPAN, Ruby's Gems, Maven's Nexus, and Play's modules) but give it a nice coat of gloss to make it easy to use, not forgetting the social aspect of GitHub. It's worth checking out this blogpost, dissecting all of the features in Ceylon Herd - impressive given how little time has passed.

The SDK is currently in its infancy but we can expect it to blossom in time as the language itself is fleshed out further. King also revealed work had started into integrating Ceylon in Red Hat's open source cloud platform, OpenShift, which makes sense given that Red Hat is at the heart of both. OpenShift is currently riding on the crest of a wave in the PaaS world, and one more language string to its bow can't be a bad thing.

Consequently from all this, the Ceylon IDE has taken a backseat, but with good reason. The plan now is to have a simultaneous release of a Ceylon IDE compatible with M3, taking into account all of its features. These include the automatic fetching of Ceylon Herd modules, the ability to call Java binaries from Ceylon and being able to inter-compile Ceylon and Java in any given Eclipse project. Not bad, not bad at all. We'll let the missed deadline slide for the greater good.

For the future, node.js support is being touted. So, we can conclude that Ceylon is indeed active and alive and well. Red Hat seems to be giving the team free reign to create the language they want to create, but also are once again very keen to see it flourish on the JVM. The last year was busy enough for King and his compatriots, the next 12 months might just get even busier.

Chris Mayer

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