The next generation emerges with pieces missing

Java 8 won’t have Project Jigsaw, Expert Group formed

Chris Mayer
Jigsaw.1

Java 8 and Java SE 8 are stirring, with Chief Architect Mark Reinhold revealing more details of who is playing a part in August 2013’s big release. But no module system just yet!

New details have emerged surrounding Java 8, namely the names of
the companies set to participate in its development heading towards
August 2013, but also some important news about JDK 8.

Project Jigsaw, the implementation a standard module
system for the Java SE Platform, and later the JDK, has been
deferred until Java SE 9 – a proposal not taken lightly
by Mark Reinhold, Chief Architect of the Java Platform
Group at Oracle.


He wrote in the mailing list
 about the technical
challenges:

Initial exploratory work toward these goals has been going on in
Project Jigsaw in the OpenJDK Community [2]. Steady progress
is being made but some significant technical challenges
remain, and there is considerable risk that these will not be
resolved in time for the proposed Final Release of Java SE 8
in August 2013.

There is, more importantly, not enough time left for the
broad evaluation, review, and feedback which such a profound
change to the Platform demands, both via this JSR (337) and,
primarily, a forthcoming JSR to define a standard Java
Platform Module System.

I therefore propose to defer the addition of a module system and
the modularization of the Platform to Java SE 9. This is by no
means a pleasant choice, but I think it’s preferable to
delaying Java SE 8 until the modularity work is complete.

The reasons make sense – radicalising or to some reinvigorating
Java with a modularised approach is badly needed, but time should
be taken to make sure it is as close as possible to being correct.
But many developers were banking on Project Jigsaw to be the
cornerstone of Java SE 8 and moving forward. Where does this leave
the language now? Surely it causes a knock-on effect to other areas
of the Java ecosystem.

As Reinhold details in his blog about his
proposal
, the balancing act of features vs schedules is a tough
one. This decision isn’t a surprising one, given a perceived lack
of progress/silence from some. Stability is key though, hence this
choice. The scope of Java 8 is big, for sure, but it’s a big
loss.

Earlier, Reinhold also announced
the arrival
of the primary page for JSR 337
(or Java
SE 8 Platform Umbrella
), as in accordance of the Java Community
Process (JCP). Alongside Reinhold representing Oracle, are Red
Hat’s Andrew Haley, IBM’s Steve Poole and Google’s To Be
Determined.

The internet giant have yet to put forward a candidate to aid
Java 8’s development, but have, according to Reinhold, committed
privately to the project. This didn’t stop some to speculate some
sort of mystery was afoot on Twitter, only for Reinhold to promptly
put them in their place with the following tweet: ‘jcp.org is database-driven,
and won’t show Google until they actually nominate a
representative. 
#noConspiracy‘.
So that’s cleared up then. Google ought to get on with it.

A schedule for Java SE 8 has also appeared, under the guise of
OpenJDK, with an Early Draft Review expected in September. This
will then be followed by a Public Review phase in January 2013,a
Final Draft in June 2013 before the home stretch towards August’s
release date. Two mailing lists have been set up too –
Experts
 for EG members to post/subscribe to (archives
are public
) and
Observers
for the minions to monitor and even offer opinion on
progress being made.

It may seem a while away yet, but the plans for Java 8 have just
become slightly clearer for the next year. That date will come
round in no time at all. The omission of Project Jigsaw is
understood but it was a big draw for the major update next year –
now it’s gone, will Java 8 really be a gamechanger? We’re not so
sure now. More pressure on Lambdas then…

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