The road has been long – two years, seven months and eighteen days, to be precise – but Java 8 is finally a working reality, and it’s time to explore the terrain of Oracle’s platform. Not everyone will be happy with the final feature list, which, aside from headline making lambdas, is distinguished by a few significant omissions. Most significantly Project Jigsaw, which developers have been hankering for since Java 6. And if you were hoping for Oracle to address Java’s issues with modularity, runtime dependencies and interoperability, then you’ll have to hold out for Java 9.
On the flip side, this is a hugely significant step forward for Oracle. Since the platform’s inception fifteen years ago, a vibrant, complicated ecosystem has evolved around it. It’s in the environment that functional programming concepts became integrated into languages like Scala and Groovy – things that have now found their way into core Java, to the delight of the community. One Redditor was moved to comment that “I’ve been a full time java developer for ~15 years and this is the first release I’ve actually looked forward to. Kind of sad, really… But the future looks bright.”
Azul Systems’ Gil Tene shares the optimism, and in this issue, shares his some interesting ideas about how this collective enthusiasm from the Java community could be better harnessed for future platform updates. We’ve taken inspiration from this wave of forward thinking for this issue of JAX Magazine. To paraphrase the late Whitney Houston: “I believe the children are our future” – future programmers that is. It’s never too early to introduce the concepts of computing to kids, in fact the sooner the better, if you want them to be to be joining Zuckerberg et al. in the Time ‘30 Under 30’ list.
Take inspiration from Mélanie Bats and get them playing on an Arduino. She makes it sound almost painless to get started. We’ve also got an update on the latest happenings in the world of JavaFX to balance it all out for the grown-ups out there. And finally, we’re indulging in some IoT geeking out with a feature on the delectable Wunderbar – quite literally the sweetest bit of interconnected technology kit that you’ve ever seen.