Out of the door

Asynchronous JVM framework Vert.x 2.0.0 finally arrives

Chris Mayer

Java’s alternative to node.js has made it out of development hell for its next big version.

Following months of bitter wrangling over the

project’s future, JVM application framework Vert.x finally has a 2.0 release.

Arriving slightly later than planned, Vert.x 2.0.0 final packs some heavy-duty improvements. Project lead Tim Fox detailed all the new features in a blogpost, noting the greater consistency in the project’s core APIs, a “more efficient classloading model” and the slenderness of the distribution, totalling 9MB in size. Playing into the streamlined aspect further, the core and platform are embeddable within existing Java apps, as a library.

A “powerful” new module system lets the developers encapsulate their module of choice, and all those that depend on it in a single module, while they can also register them for the community’s benefit. With the core only speaking Java, extra language support for JavaScript, CoffeeScript, Ruby, Python and Groovy is provided in modules.

Progress on the non-blocking asynchronous framework stalled in January, after Fox left VMware to join Red Hat. As the former had sponsored the project up until then, the company attempt to assert the project IP’s rights.

With development all but ceasing, Fox recommended to the community that Vert.x move to a neutral open source foundation to protect its future. In 2012, Vert.x quickly became one of the most watched projects on GitHub, suggesting it was a bright prospect.

Over the course of the next few weeks, the community debated where Vert.x should go, eventually settling on the Eclipse Foundation, with Fox believing it was the ideal fit for the project due to its “business friendly approach”. The open source foundation hold Vert.x in high regard, making the project the first to house all development trunks on GitHub.

“We believe that Vert.x provides the ideal foundation for the new generation of highly scalable, polyglot applications,” Fox wrote, before revealing that the next steps for the project will be dedicated to boosting module functionality and extending language support.

“Right now we have teams working on Scala and Clojure language implementations which are already well advanced. We’ll be creating a road-map soon for the next stage.”

The arrival of proper Scala and Clojure in due course should help Vert.x reach more JVM developers and help turn the hype of being Java’s equivalent to node.js into something much more substantial. With Eclipse’s support and guidance, it’s good to see the project get firmly back on track after a shaky beginning to 2013. You can take a look at Vert.x at the freshly polished website, or download it at Bintray.
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