Make mine modular

Java 9: Can modularity build a more scalable Java platform?

Chirag Thumar
Java 9
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Software technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, and for the better. In this article, Chirag Thumar goes over why we need modules, how they work with Java, and how useful it can be in the new Java 9.

In this field, the word ‘modularity’ refers to writing or implementing a Java program as a series of functional unique modules, and working them through a standardized interface. The purpose of categorizing software into bite-sized pieces helps software developers minimize coupling, enhance application complexity, and cut down the chance of or even prevent system complexities. Similarly, at the Java Development Company, the attempt is to create modules that are compatible with its object-oriented framework. Therefore, we ask: how can these modules make Java a much better program to use?

Why do we need modularity after all?

Coming back to the same question, why do we need modularity? Modularity helps software developers to work with functionality testing in isolation along with applying parallel development efforts during a project, which makes the total software development life cycle much more efficient. Some other features of modularity include:

  • Loose coupling, which refers to an autonomous deployment unit
  • A constant and unique module ID and version
  • Standard compile-time, deployment facilities and meta-information, which should be easily identifiable and discovered by the software developers
  • A communication contract with an open and easy-to-understand interface
  • An encapsulation layer, which protects your confidential implementation details

SEE MORE: Life after Java 9: Will you miss the old version numbering scheme?

Therefore, Java, or any other capable software program, should use modules to execute the following functions:

  • Implement a transparent and strong execution lifecycle
  • Work with modules in an environment that supports deployment and redeployment without system downtime or other complications
  • Sustains modularity an dependency at compile-time
  • Facilities and equipment for easy registry and module development

Do Java and modularity go well together?

It’s a tricky question whether Java and modularity are compatible with each other. They do have their advantages such as uniqueness, data encapsulation and loose coupling. However, on the other hand, Java fears unreliable identity at the object level; interfaces that are not versioned, and not-unique classes at the deployment level. On the other hand, language conventions like dependency injections and inversion-of-control enable developers to control the run-time environment, which could be successful if paired with discipline and hard work.

Moreover, Java adds a number of other features to the package, such as unique coding namespace, configuration contexts and scope visibility to create modular compile-time and deployment-time mechanisms. However, these package conventions are not popularly used by software developers, and thus become a waste of resources.

JAR files and module scalability

JAR files and other deployment options can be helpful on usually-available legacy deployment conventions, but they are not powerful enough to be used as a modularity convention with the JAR runtime environment. Therefore, only the package names of classes in a file and its role in similar class paths can work as a modular convention.  A class path hell/JAR hell refers to when the Java runtime environment hoards arbitrary JAR-loading mechanisms, which could be due to creating an updated application version and renaming it the same as the old version. Another case of JAR hell could occur when two or more applications are dependant of a third-party library. The environment would be able to access just one version of the library by means of standard-class facilities, which will lead to errors in the application.

SEE MORE: “The most substantial argument in favor of Java 9 is the modularization of JDK itself”

Therefore, a well-maintained and effective Java module system should separate the units of code into easy-to-understand and loosely coupled modules, with dependencies clearly categorised and enforced. Modules should be upgraded without harming other modules, and configurations pertaining to a specific sub-area should be enabled, which would reduce the start-up time and system footprint of the environment.

Additional modularity solutions for Java

Though Java comes with the above-mentioned features, more elements are being regularly added for enhanced performance and run-time environment:

  • Source code – The source codes should be separated into distinct and cached segments, each containing a specific code, skipping non-method code during garbage sweeps, better memory management and incremental builds.
  • Build-time enforcements – An appropriate language-system should be constructed which include unique namespaces, versioning, dependencies and others.
  • Deployment facilities – Deployment-scaled runtime environments should be provided with support according to their specifications, one of them being a mobile device environment.

SEE MORE: Java 9 and beyond: “Modules are very much a feature for the long-term”

There have been a number of modularity frameworks based on these features, which have been integrated into the latest Java 9 as follows:

  • Java Specification Request (JSR 277)
  • Open Service Gateway Initiative
  • JSR 291
  • JSR 294
  • Project Jigsaw
  • Java Enhancement Proposal 200
  • JEP 201
  • Penrose

Modularity in Java 9

Java 9 is the latest addition to the Java program, and needless to say, it has incorporated some of the best modularity features:

  • Modular source code – The JRE and JDK will be re-categorised into inter-operational modules, which shall improve the runtime scalability even on smaller devices.
  • Segmented, cached codes – Java 9 has developed a segmented cached code that will categorise frequently-used code segments for future storage, optimisation and execution. The cache would be categorised into non-method code permanently stored; non-profile code with a long lifecycle; and, profile code, which is a transient code
  • Build-in enforcements – The Java Enhancement Proposal 201 will be enhanced by compiling and enforcing module boundaries.
  • Deployment facilities – Project Jigsaw will include built-in components that would support module boundaries, constraints and dependencies during deployment.

SEE MORE: New Java 9 features at a glance

Therefore, modularity can improve the scalability of Java 9 in more ways than one. Apart from general maintenance, modularity can solve detrimental issues such as and can build an enhanced Java platform. Java Development Company should consider using the newly-released modular features as proposed for Java. The concept would be successful even on the latest modularity platforms, such as OSGi or Project Jigsaw, or in some ways, even Penrose.


Chirag Thumar

Chirag Thumar is an experienced and innovative web developer at Technoligent, one of the fastest growing company in the IT industry. It has passionate and professional team of developers in various area such as asp .net development, Microsoft dynamics CRM, Java Offshore Development, Hadoop Big Data, Pentaho BI, Oracle, Mobile application development on Android, iOS and other cross platform.

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