JAX London 2014: A retrospective
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Five things JAXenter is thankful for

JAXentereditorialteam
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On this day of turkey and pie, JAXenter takes a moment to think about the things in Java Land that make our jobs great.

Regardless of your feelings towards the holiday, at the heart of Thanksgiving, there is a core message of celebration for the little things that make everyday awesome, which sometimes gets lost in the hum of life and all its distractions.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a little list of some of the things that, gosh durn it, make us feel pretty warm and fuzzy about Java. So grab an eggnog and handful of bacon, and raise a toast with us to all the things that we’ve appreciated in 2013. Oh, and can someone grab us some pie? 

1. Oracle keeping Java SE 6 flame alive

Oracle gets a lot of stick from internet commentators, and often for good reason. Yet their stewardship of Java has kept the platform in good stead, and often seen them go beyond the call of duty.

A great example is Java SE 6’s EOL date being pushed back twice, seeing security updates pushed out until well past its sixth birthday. Granted, this was to make up for Java 7’s tardiness, but even after that its launch Oracle maintained support for 6 for a further 18 months.

So, in a time of GlassFish and TCK controversies, let us be thankful for Oracle’s work with Java, and let it never be said that the company only ever thinks only of itself (well, most of the time, anyway).

2. Java user groups

The Java user group scene has never been healthier, with thousands of developers around the world now part of JUGs. And, incredibly, this momentum is now translating into actual power.

For instance, five JUGs ran for a position in the JCP Executive Committee this year – with the London Java Community securing a second year on the EC alongside MoroccoJUG. In terms of power over Java’s development, this puts them on terms with Red Hat, IBM and Twitter.

Oracle have even embraced the power of JUGs by adopting the LJC’s Adopt-A-JSR scheme. So far, they’ve recruited the help of over 20 groups around the world to provide feedback and guidance on draft specs.

Noticing a pattern here? It’s the LJC which is driving these changes, making the community a force as powerful as any corporate entities. And for that, we should be very thankful indeed.

3. Open source culture

Chances are that you’re reading this article on an open source browser, taking a break from coding with an open source language that will be deployed to servers running an open source application server on an open source operating system.

Yes, there’s never been a better time for open source software. It seems near-impossible to launch a new developer product without opening its source (or at least doing a ‘community version’). Especially not when modern tech monsters like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Netflix are sharing their secret sauces with abandon. And thanks to GitHub, sharing open source projects of any scale has never been easier.

In fact, many startups are built around entirely open source stacks – so we’re thankful for the culture of altruism so prevalent throughout the tech industry.

4. The richness and diversity of the JVM

At last year’s LJC OpenCon, Russel Winder quipped: “The JVM is cool – it’s Java we want to get rid of”. Indeed, one of the best parts of the Java ecosystem is the fact that there’s no longer any need to use Java itself.

Perhaps you prefer the clean syntax of Groovy, or the functional paradigms of Clojure. Maybe you need a more niche language like Frink. Whatever your style, there’s probably a language among the 100-odd to fit you, giving Java developers a wealth of powerful options.

We should be thankful not only to the creators of each of these, but also to to Java 7’s invokedynamic, which has opened the door to this diversity.

5. Java’s continued success

Googling the phrase “Java is dead” produces 56,200 results, but we would argue that Java is doing plenty fine. It remains near the top of the TIOBE index, and Java developers are some of the best-paid in the industry.

That’s not to say that Java developers can slack on picking up new tricks – after all, new frameworks, databases and application servers are emerging constantly – but it does prove that Java and the JVM remain an excellent and stable choice of platform.

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