Thursday Mar 20, 2014

Java 8, Eclipse, and the Future

Sometimes the planets just align. It was great that the Java 8 Day was at EclipseCon the day Java 8 launched.  That all the major IDEs provided Java 8 support on the day Java 8 launched was another great alignment -- thanks to everyone in the Java community that made it happen! 

Java 8 Day at EclipseCon was standing room only. Georges Saab opened the day with explaining how the Java 8 supports the basic definition of Java: it is simple, stable, fast, scalable and easy to read. Alex Buckley, Spec Lead for the Java Language & VM, described lambda expressions as "perhaps the biggest upgrade ever to the Java programming model." But Java 8 is much more than lambdas. He mentioned the new Stream API. Buckley said "The jump from Collections to Streams is larger than the jump from anonymous classes to lambda expressions." Thomas Schindl discussed JavaFX 8. Hinkmond Wong gave a great explanation of Java SE Embedded 8 Compact Profiles (slides here, stay tuned for future Java Magazine article). 

Executive Director of Eclipse Foundation, Mike Milinkovich (@mmilinkov) gave the EclipseCon keynote "Eclipse: The Next Ten Years." After discussing the history and success of Eclipse, Milinkovich provided the caveat that he does not have the power to dictate what projects will occur in the Eclipse community. "I think of my title as Chief Eclipse Cheerleader," he said. "It's a very Darwinian, bottom up process. What survives is what works," he explained.

Milinkovich talked about the trends he sees that will have an impact on developers and IDEs, and they apply to Java and the open source community as well:

Trend #1: Software is Eating the World
With a nod to Marc Andreesson, Milinkovich said that software is becoming ever more important and has an effect on everything, including how companies are valued. He gave the example of the Airbus Aircraft: the amount of software code used onboard on class of aircraft grew four times larger in three years. So should Airbus think of themselves of an airplane company or a software company? Not only is the codebase huge, but the lifespan of applications can span generations. "Would you program differently if your granddaughter will have to maintain your code?" Milinkovich asked with a smile.

Trend #2: Thing Internet of Things
What is the size of the IoT market? Is IoT a $14 Trillion market or is that hype? Whatever the number, IoT is big and will continue to grow. Most importantly, Milinkovich said, we need OPEN IoT. Eclipse has 14 projects in the IoT space, and he expects more to come. There was lots of interest in the IoT sessions at EclipseCon.

Trend #3: The Cloud
Evans Data predicts that by 2019, 65% of developers will primarily develop for cloud. Does that mean all the functionality from current desktop IDEs should be moved to the cloud? Milinkovich introduced a demo of Project Flux, showing how to connect an Eclipse project to the cloud. There were multiple sessions on developing in the cloud throughout EclipseCon. 

Java and Eclipse have both enjoyed years of great community, great technology and significant impact in the software industry. That comes from lots communication, lots of hard work, and favorable planetary alignment. 

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Insider News from the Java Team at Oracle!

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