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“We have a responsibility to make IoT accessible” : What we learnt at JAX London day two

JAX Editorial Team
jallen

JAX London day two: Cutting through the Java 8 lambda hype, taking on Cassandra, and making the IoT take flight.

Opening keynoter Jamie Allen kicked
off the second day of JAX London on a mischievous note, saying that
people at Oracle had previously asked to review his lamda-focused
slide deck. As it turned out, Allen wasn’t totally opposed to the
much-hyped feature of Java 8 – just concerned that people weren’t
pushed to apply it in the wrong way. Overall he said, lambdas are
an “extremely exciting development in the Java platform”, with the
caveat that they were best used to make life easier only on simple
functions.

At one point in his keynote, Jamie described Nashorn –
the next-generation JavaScript engine coming in Java 8 – as perhaps
more exciting than Lambdas. By chance, the talk following was given
by Oracle’s Marcus Lagergreen, who has been
working on Nashorn. He compared adapting JavaScript’s features for
JVM bytecode to fitting a square peg into a round hole. Luckily,
invokedynamic (the first new bytecode since 1996, as Marcus pointed
out) breaks the constraints of Java call/linkage. Even better
polyglot support for the JVM will come with time, he said, with the
Da Vinci Machine project providing even better tools.

Over on the Big Data Con track, Dave
Gardner
of taxi-finding startup Hailo went over the
service’s use of Cassandra to fulfil their big data needs. Starting
with a PHP+MySQL stack, Hailo’s backend has gradually moved to a
Go+Java+Cassandra SOA in order to fulfil a need for greater
reliability and global growth. Despite its operational reliability
and ease of use, Cassandra is a “slight challenge”, admitted
Gardner. In particular, Hailo management were apparently
disappointed by the loss of easy ad-hoc querying – somewhat
remedied by the use of Acunu Analytics for SQL-like queries.

As part of his talk on asynchronous polyglot platform
Vert.x, Tim Fox attempted a live demo that very
nearly went horribly wrong (until an audience member reminded him
to connect to the wifi). Luckily, it was quickly worked out and Tim
was able to show off the impressive new features of Vert.x,
including high availability and clustering, each activated with a
command-line flag.

The final keynote of JAX London 2013 was certainly the
most hazardous of the event, with a member of the audience invited
up to take an IoT powered AR.Drone for a test flight across the
auditorium. This wasn’t just fun and games though – Darach
Ennis
was making a serious point about the power of
machine to machine technology as something that will ultimately
empower ‘everyday’ people to easily network with everyday
objects.

Addressing the developer audience, he commented that,
as people “who were compelled to code”, everyone in the room had a
responsibility to ensure that the IoT is accessible to
everyone.

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