Functional Future for Java?

Oracle’s Brian Goetz Looks to Lambdas Future

Jessica Thornsby

Oracle’s Brian Goetz has posted his thoughts on how lambdas could look in future releases of Java.

Oracle’s Brian Goetz has posted his thoughts on the future of lambdas in Java.
In his opinion, Lambda’s main function is to support the
development and consumption of more functional-like libraries, and
he gives the example of filter-map-reduce to support this.
Furthermore, he believes that, if the right tools are available,
object-orientated programmers would be willing to embrace
functional techniques – and these techniques would subsequently
improve their code.

“Simply put, we believe the best thing we can do for Java
developers is to give them a gentle push towards a more functional
style of programming. We’re not going to turn Java into Haskell,
nor even into Scala. But the direction is clear,” he says.

According to Goetz, lambdas would be the first step on this
path, and consequently we shouldn’t dismiss lambdas as “just
objects.” In the future, the concept of “naked” lambdas, other
conversion contexts for lambdas, or the possibility of integrating
lambdas more tightly into control constructs, can all be
considered.

“We’re not doing that now, and we don’t even have a concrete
plan for doing so, but the ability to possibly do that in the
future is a critical part of the design,” he says. “I am optimistic
about Java’s future, but to move forward we sometimes have to let
go of some comfortable ideas. Lambdas-are-functions opens doors.
Lambdas-are-objects closes them. We prefer to see those doors left
open.”

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