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Java.net is ending 2011 and starting 2012 with polls that give developers an opportunity to express what Java/JVM related events, news, or happenings they consider to have been the most important in 2011, and what they predict will be most important in 2012. Thefirst poll (about 2011) closed this past Friday, with 520 votes being cast. The exact question and results were:

The most important Java/JVM related happening in 2011 was:

  • 38% (199 votes) - Java 7 release
  • 13% (65 votes) - JavaFX open sourcing and plan for eventual operation on Mac and Linux
  • 11% (55 votes) - Clarified, well-defined Java roadmap toward Java 8 and Java 9
  • 1% (5 votes) - JCP.next and new JCP openness
  • 1% (7 votes) - Increased global Java User Group prominence and activity
  • 2% (12 votes) - Continued emergence of Cloud Computing
  • 22% (113 votes) - Growth of Android
  • 5% (26 votes) - I don't know
  • 7% (38 votes) - Other

While I'm not surprised that the Java 7 release received the most votes, I didn't expect "Growth of Android" to be the second place vote getter. In terms of headlines, it seems like "Cloud Computing" gets a lot of publicity in comparision with Android -- but, in a way, not a real lot "happened" in terms of notable, definable progress with respect to the cloud in 2011 (at JavaOne, much of the Java EE discussion was related to preparing for the cloud once the marketplace begins to cohere to a single definition of what "the cloud" is, how it's structured, etc.); so this may explain why "Continued emergence of Cloud Computing" received a meager 2% share of the voting.

A couple of the options that are near and dear for me, "JCP.next and new JCP openness" and "Increased global Java User Group prominence," were considered most important by almost no one. But then, the prompt was asking people to select a single "most important" item for all of 2011 -- thinking about it that way, with other options that directly affect developers on a daily basis at their jobs, it makes sense that these two options wouldn't receive many votes.

Thirty-eight voters selected "Other," but none of them chose to leave a comment telling us what they were thinking...

New poll: predicted most important Java/JVM news / event in 2012

It's generally agreed that 2011 was a great year for Java and languages that run on the JVM. Our new poll asks you to respond to the prompt The most important Java/JVM news/event/happening in 2012 will be related to... Voting will be open until January 6, 2012.


java.net Weblogs

Since my last blog post, several people have posted new java.net blogs:


Articles

Our latest java.net article is SWELL - An English-Like DSL for Swing Testing by Sanjay Dasgupta and Chirantan Kundu.


Java News

Here are the stories we've recently featured in our Java news section:


Spotlights

Our latest java.net Spotlight is Alex Handy's Look what 2011 washed in: The return of Java:

It's back! After a long hiatus and seemingly endless dithering by Sun, Oracle has officially given Java the kick in the pants it needed. The language that took five revisions just to get generics is no longer the odd language out...

Before that we featured Markus Eisele's The Heroes of Java: Rod Johnson:

Rod Johnson is the father of Spring, which grew out of his influential book,

"The multicore challenge" is the challenge to developers of software products to write code that effectively utilizes modern multi-core / multi-processor computers. Two years ago, I wondered if the multicore challenge was still relevant. In part, I was thinking about how applications were moving from the desktop into the cloud. So, if the apps people are running are running in a browser, does it matter if their desktop system (or pad or phone) is multicore?

Today many mobile phones can really be looked at as being computers. In an article about the contributions mobile phones are making in poor countries, the Economist noted that "Mobile phones are the world's most widely distributed computers." And many of the newer mobile phones are multicore.

So really, whether the target computer for your software is a traditional tower, a laptop, a pad, or a phone, the multicore challenge remains relevant today -- and its relevance will only increase in the coming years. Browsers, one would think, are going to have to evolve to utilize multiple cores and processors. The ones that do so will ultimately take away significant market share from the ones that don't. How they'll accomplish this is another question...

Java already has basic capabilities for utilizing multiple processors -- in the threads library, for example. But, clearly that's considered inadequate for meeting the needs of the future. Which is why we have JSR 335: Lambda Expressions for the Java(TM) Programming Language. The development of JSR 335 takes place in Project Lambda, a component of the OpenJDK project.

At JavaOne 2011, Alex Buckley presented a very well attended session titled "Project Lambda: To Multicore and Beyond" that outlined the vision and plan for bringing Lambda expressions into Java. This will happen in Java 8 -- so, we're still a ways away from having a formal release.

The key element, in my view, is that Lambda expressions (also called "closures") will be implemented largely via a rewrite of the underlying JDK libraries wherein they will "automatically" do the low-level work of divying up the task at hand and passing segments of it to the available processor cores. This will enormously reduce the effort for Java application developers to convert their existing programs such that they can utilize multiple processors/cores.

Writing multithreaded code is hard. I've been doing it for 18 years, starting out on 8-processor Sun machines where we took scientific C and Fortran code delivered by researchers and revised it to parcel out data segments to different threads. Tiny mistakes inevitably result in overwritten data, which produces non-repeatable erroneous results, crashes, hung threads, and other "fun" head-scratchers... Yeah, it's hard to write threadsafe code!

The approach taken by the Java 8 architects and developers is going to in essence hide all that complicated threading stuff from the higher level app developer, by implementing the multithreading and fork/join processing within the Java libraries themselves. This is an enormous effort in itself, but it's a much smaller effort than if every Java application development team had to multithread their apps, having to rewrite function after function to be threadsafe.

Of course, the efficiency of the apps on multicore computers will thus depend on how much of the processing actually occurs within the core Java libraries. It's not going to be a situation where, because of Project Lambda, all apps will suddenly utilize all available cores 100% of the time, and immediately speed up bynC times (where nC is the number of cores in the computer).

Still, Project Lambda is a major innovation, a key step into the future for Java.

If you find all this interesting, you may want to take a look at Mike Duigou's JavaOne 2011 presentation "Bulk Hauling: Parallel Data and Lambdas in Java 8." The PDF for that is available in theJavaOne Content Catalog.


java.net Weblogs

Since my last blog post, quite a few people have posted interesting new java.net blogs:


Poll

Our current java.net poll asks you to respond to The most important Java/JVM related happening in 2011 was. Voting will be open until Friday, December 23.


Articles

Our latest java.net article is SWELL - An English-Like DSL for Swing Testing by Sanjay Dasgupta and Chirantan Kundu.


Java News

Here are the stories we've recently featured in our Java news section:

Circa 400 A.D. or so, it was hard to believe that such a font of creativity and innovation could have fallen into such a state -- a never-predicted situation where innovation was nearly smothered. Once predominant, it was now under attack from all around, its store of wealth largely dissipated. Indeed, its very survival was questionable.

The resulting loss to Western Civilization was immense when this happened to the Roman Empire. Among the losses: scribes ceased copying documents that preserved the great literary, philosophical, and historical tradition of the Greeks and Latins. As a result, today we have mere scraps of the writings that recorded that great tradition.

How is this relevant? Well, the declines of once-great institutions are often similar, and similar effects can ensue. The Roman Empire in its waning days exemplified the loss of ability by a once-great steward to continue to be a effective steward of its own riches and those it had inherited. These things happen when an institution is forced by historic realities to turn its attention away from creativity and innovation, and toward basic survival. There is little room for effective stewardship of things that are not critical to survival when survival itself is threatened.

Of course, I'm also thinking about Sun Microsystems and its stewardship of Java during its final years of independent existence. Sun wasn't quite the Roman Empire, but there certainly was a time when it looked pretty invulnerable. In the 1990s, Oracle and Sun banded together to rail against the "evil" Microsoft behemoth. But after the dot-com bust, Oracle's and Sun's paths diverged: Oracle found a way to be profitable in a post-dot-com world where it actually turned out that sales and profits couldn't really grow indefinitely at a 30% annual rate (this is what the Nasdaq's late-1990s performance implied must happen); Sun, meanwhile, was not able to adjust to the new reality.

So, Sun's decline began. Paring began. Then bigger cuts. Then more desperate cuts. It ultimately became a situation where anything that didn't directly contribute to the financial bottom line necessarily became lower priority. In this environment, despite the wishes of a great many people, Java innovation suffered. Java didn't add to the top line (income), and the bleeding in the bottom line had to be halted (otherwise bankruptcy loomed). As a result, there were layoffs of a great many people at Sun who were part of Java's creation and innovation over the years. That was Java's "contribution" to helping keep Sun afloat.

Oracle's stewardship

It is indeed a much brighter picture for Java today! Despite the early uncertainty and concerns, and the difficult nine-month delay between the announcement of Oracle's acquisition of Sun and its completion, Java today is clearly "moving forward" again. Java will be returning to a two-year major release cycle. There is a vision and a plan for weaving the former loose threads (JavaFX, ME, embedded, etc.) into a consistent platform that stretches from largest, most robust Java EE code through the core platform down to the micro level -- and this platform will re-assert the "write once, run anywhere" mantra as JavaFX is ported onto Mac and Linux/Unix.

Furthermore, the Java Community Process is being reformed to instill new openness. Java User Groups are joining the JCP and adopting JSRs to ensure that the final specifications reflect the needs and understanding of the developer community.

Who is responsible for this changed situation? Well, lots of people, of course. But, it's also clear that Oracle is the central force behind Java's resurgence. Without their commitment of financial and development resources, much of the larger Java community would likely have abandoned Java technology by now. I'm not saying Java would be "dead" -- I'm just saying that active innovation within the Java ecosphere may well have pretty much have come to a halt by now.

But that's a different world, a history that didn't happen (unlike the Romans ceasing to fund scribes to copy venerable libraries of ancient Greek and Roman works). Instead, Oracle stepped in and has proven itself to be an effective steward thus far. Their commitment to Java is clearly long term. That's a very good thing for Java/JVM developers, and for all the companies that make up the broad Java community.


java.net Weblogs

Since my last blog post, several people have posted new java.net blogs:


Poll

Our current Java.net poll asks you to respond to the prompt The most important Java/JVM related happening in 2011 was. Voting will be open until Friday, December 23.


Articles

Our latest java.net article is SWELL - An English-Like DSL for Swing Testing by Sanjay Dasgupta and Chirantan Kundu.


Java News

Here are the stories we've recently featured in our Java news section:

I wasn't pleased (though I also wasn't surprised) to see that quite a lot of people think the reason Java desktop development receives so little publicity today is because sites like Java.net ignore the desktop. Well, maybe other sites do that, but I'm pretty sure that I pay close attention to desktop development. I'd have chosen a different option had I voted in the poll!

A total of 481 votes were cast in the poll. The exact poll question and results were:

Why does development for the desktop receive so little publicity today?

  • 15% (74 votes) - Because almost no development for the desktop happens today
  • 7% (32 votes) - Because desktop development and apps are uninteresting
  • 16% (76 votes) - Because desktop developers don't adequately publicize their accomplisments
  • 9% (42 votes) - Because sites like Java.net ignore the desktop
  • 30% (143 votes) - Actually, the 'desktop' has moved to smaller, mobile devices; there it receives plenty of publicity
  • 12% (57 votes) - I don't know
  • 12% (57 votes) - Other

The "outlier" in this data is the votes for "Actually, the 'desktop' has moved to smaller, mobile devices; there it receives plenty of publicity." The other options have a similar, much lower number of votes, with "Because desktop developers don't adequately publicize their accomplisments" and "Because almost no development for the desktop happens today" receiving the second and third most votes.

The state of the desktop is indeed ambiguous. What is the desktop today? Is it traditional PCs? Or does it extend to "pads" and even the more powerful "phones". Can you really call them "phones" when they're actually small computers that can also be used for traditional voice communication? I don't know if they're more phones than they are quite small desktop computers at this point. So, I can easily see the logic by which many developers selected "Actually, the 'desktop' has moved to smaller, mobile devices; there it receives plenty of publicity."

I personally find the second-place option interesting: "Because desktop developers don't adequately publicize their accomplisments." Geertjan Wielenga noted the problem of visibility of technologies as reflected in sessions presented at conferences in his recent blog relating to Devoxx '11, What is Happening vs. What is Interesting. Could it be that the Java desktop receives less publicity simply because its developers quietly do their work, not submitting papers to conferences, not blogging about their accomplishments?

This, indeed, is my answer to the 9% who selected "Because sites like Java.net ignore the desktop." I can't publicize what you're working on if you don't publicly document your efforts and accomplishments, and the important results which therein accrue. I'm not clairvoyant! You need to take the effort to publicize what you're accomplishing before I can point the broader Java developer community to it!

End of year poll: what did we accomplish in 2011?

Our new Java.net poll asks you to respond to the prompt The most important Java/JVM related happening in 2011 was... Voting will be open until Friday, December 23.


java.net Weblogs

Since my last blog post, the Serli team posted an interesting new java.net blog:


Articles

Our latest java.net article is SWELL - An English-Like DSL for Swing Testing by Sanjay Dasgupta and Chirantan Kundu.


Java News

Here are the stories we've recently featured in our Java news section:


Spotlights

 

Our latest java.net Spotlight is Geertjan Wielenga's JavaFX Wows JavaOne Latin America:

The scenario that's taken JavaOne Latin America by storm is this JavaFX application, hooked up to MySQL and deployed to GlassFish...It really speaks to the imagination, doesn't it? It's a sales application with lots of JavaFX gadgets...

Previously, we Spotlighted the JetBrains announcement that IntelliJ IDEA 11 is Out:

"JetBrains rolls out its annual IntelliJ IDEA update with a brand new cross-platform UI, Play framework support, Gradle integration, CoffeeScript editor and numerous productivity boosters." See What's New in IntelliJ IDEA 11? for details...

Subscriptions and Archives: You can subscribe to this blog using the java.net Editor's Blog Feed. You can also subscribe to the Java Today RSS feedand the java.net blogs feed. You can find historical archives of what has appeared the front page of java.net in the java.net home page archive.

-- Kevin Farnham
Twitter: @kevin_farnham

Java User Groups Community leader John Yeary noted that the Algeria Java User Group recently held its first meeting. The meeting was held in conjunction with Software Freedom Day, an international celebration of free and open source software. Algeria JUG members posted pictures from the event on Facebook.

The Algeria JUG describes itself and its objectives as follows:

Algeria JUG is the first official JUG of Algeria, is a local community of Java users who get to share information, resources, solutions, innovation, opportunities, and share ideas about real-world problems. The aim of Algeria JUG is to connect Java addicted, lovers, professionals and students under one roof and to make java developing more fun and easy.

The Algeria JUG has already put down a footprint in many places on the Internet. In addition to their Java.net home, you can find the Algeria Java User Group on Yahoo Groups (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/jug_group/), on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/ALGERIAJUG), on Wordpress (http://algeriajug.wordpress.com/), and on Twitter (@AlgeriaJUG).

Welcome, Algeria Java User Group! I wish you great success!


java.net Weblogs

Since my last blog post, the following people have posted new java.net blogs:


Poll

Our current java.net poll asks Why does development for the desktop receive so little publicity today?. Voting will be open until Friday, December 9.


Articles

Our latest java.net article is SWELL - An English-Like DSL for Swing Testing by Sanjay Dasgupta and Chirantan Kundu.


Spotlights

Our latest java.net Spotlight is Heather Van Cura's Java User Groups are joining the JCP community:

This week we published a news feature discussing why Java User Groups (JUGs) are joining the JCP community. Over the past few years, the PMO has made it a priority to recruit JUGs into the JCP program. JUGS are joining now...

Java News

Here are the stories we've recently featured in our Java news section:

When I first heard that Oracle planned to start having JavaOnes on continents other than North America, I thought that was an excellent idea. This coming Tuesday through Thursday, the second JavaOne Latin America will take place in S

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