Oracle Deep Dive into Java 7

Oracle Introduce Java 7

Jessica Thornsby

“For the first time in Java 7, we’re starting to see the Java Virtual Machine really chart its own course.”

Yesterday, Oracle held their ‘Introducing Java 7: Moving Forward‘ event in Red Shores, São Paulo, and London to celebrate the imminent release of Java 7. Adam Messinger, Vice President of Product Development at Oracle, led the ‘Introducing Java 7’ opening hour of the four-and-a-half-hour long introduction to the latest update to the world’s number one programming language.

During the introduction, Oracle revealed that there are now 9 million Java developers worldwide, with over 1 billion computers currently running Java. According to Messinger, this demand for Java is reflected in the size of Oracle’s Java team, as he revealed that, by combining the HotSpot and JRockit teams, Oracle “now have the largest team ever working on Java.”

The launch event deep dived into the introduction of new Java bytecode, ‘invokedynamic,’ and an accompanying linkage mechanism, which together enable implementers of compilers for dynamically typed languages, to generate bytecode that runs much faster on the JVM.

Alex Buckley, who is responsible for the Java Language Specification and the Java VM Specification, sees this as a fundamental change in the course of the JVM, saying that:

“For the first time in Java 7, we’re starting to see the Java Virtual Machine really chart its own course. Features are being added to the JVM that are beyond the capabilities of the core Java programing language……those new features will really go in different directions, to help those other language implementers.”

These changes increase Java’s potential to engage other developer communities, with Bruno Souza from SouJava urging the Java user groups to now reach out to such communities. This is crucial to strengthening the Java ecosystem as, in forging relationships with other languages, Java developers can benefit from the innovations that are happening in those languages – and vice versa.

Luciano Ramalho, who created the Python Association in Brazil, was present to underline the potential for collaboration between Java, and other languages, neatly summarised by his choice of clothing for the event: a Python Jacket over a Java t-shirt.

“I am really happy to be wearing my Python jacket on top of a Java t-shirt, because I’ve always been very interested in this combination of running Python on top of Java,” he said.

Another topic of discussion, was the openness of the development process. Mark Reinhold admitted that, although the development process was not as transparent as he, and others, would have liked, “we are continually improving that.” He also pointed out that, despite the criticism regarding openness, “all the code has been out there” during the development process.

Adam Messinger introduces Java 7.

The final issue that grabbed headlines during the creation of Java 7, was IBM’s decision to join OpenJDK, after discontinuing their involvement with Apache Harmony. IBM’s Trent Gray-Donald was present at the event to answer the question of IBM and Oracle’s status as simultaneous competitors and collaborations: “Yes, we are absolutely fierce competitors, but it turns out that we can collaborate. We should, and we need to.” Adam Messinger stressed the collaborative side of their relationship, stating “IBM’s collaboration has been one of the things I’m most proud of over the last year. It’s been great to have you aboard OpenJDK, and I look forward to many strong years of working together.”

Also at the event, Eclipse Executive Director Mike Mikilovich revealed that Eclipse will release a feature pack when Java 7 ships, so that developers can start working with Java 7 on top of Eclipse.

The first release candidate of JDK7 can be downloaded now, with a GA release expected later this month.

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