Friday Sep 13, 2013

An Interview with Venkat Subramaniam before JavaOne

JavaOne Rock Star and Java Champion, Venkat Subramaniam, sees a lot to be excited about with regard to Java.[Read More]

Wednesday Jun 26, 2013

Diving into Scala with Cay Horstmann

A new interview with Java Champion Cay Horstmann, now up on otn/java, titled  "Diving into Scala: A Conversation with Java Champion Cay Horstmann," explores Horstmann's ideas about Scala as reflected in his much lauded new book,  Scala for the Impatient.  None other than Martin Odersky, the inventor of Scala, called it "a joy to read" and the "best introduction to Scala". Odersky was so enthused by the book that he asked Horstmann if the first section could be made available as a free download on the Typesafe Website, something Horstmann graciously assented to.

Horstmann acknowledges that some aspects of Scala are very complex, but he encourages developers to simply stay away from those parts of the language. He points to several ways Java developers can benefit from Scala:

"For example," he says, " you can write classes with less boilerplate, file and XML handling is more concise, and you can replace tedious loops over collections with more elegant constructs. Typically, programmers at this level report that they write about half the number of lines of code in Scala that they would in Java, and that's nothing to sneeze at. Another entry point can be if you want to use a Scala-based framework such as Akka or Play; you can use these with Java, but the Scala API is more enjoyable. "

Horstmann observes that developers can do fine with Scala without grasping the theory behind it. He argues that most of us learn best through examples and not through trying to comprehend abstract theories. He also believes that Scala is the most attractive choice for developers who want to move beyond Java and C++.  When asked about other choices, he comments:

"Clojure is pretty nice, but I found its Lisp syntax a bit off-putting, and it seems very focused on software transactional memory, which isn't all that useful to me. And it's not statically typed. I wanted to like Groovy, but it really bothers me that the semantics seems under-defined and in flux. And it's not statically typed. Yes, there is Groovy++, but that's in even sketchier shape.

There are a couple of contenders such as Kotlin and Ceylon, but so far they aren't real.

So, if you want to do work with a statically typed language on the JVM that exists today, Scala is simply the pragmatic choice. It's a good thing that it's such a nice choice."

Learn more about Scala by going to the interview here.

Wednesday Jan 30, 2013

A Rising VM Lifts All Boats: Bay Area Scala Meeting

Join the Bay Area Scala Enthusiasts Feb. 14th in Santa Clara, California to hear how Scala and the JVM work well together. Ever wonder what goes on below the arrows, double colons, and tildes of Scala's syntax? What changes must be made to the JVM and compiler to allow for higher order functions, Actors, and pattern matching? What low level engineering feats will be required for Scala and Java to truly interoperate? Come hear two speakers very close to the thinking and understanding of what goes in to making powerful functional programming features a reality on the JVM. 

JVM Evolution for Higher-Order Languages
Alex Buckley, Specification Lead, Java Language & VM, Oracle.

A Rising VM Lifts All Boats
Paul Phillips is the most prolific contributor to the Scala compiler and a co-founder of Typesafe.

Details
JVM Evolution for Scala @ Oracle Santa Clara
(You need to go to the Bay Area Scala Enthusiasts page to register!) 

Thursday, February 14, 2013
   6:30 to 9:00 pm
Oracle Santa Clara Campus Auditorium

4030 George Sellon Circle (Building 3)
Santa Clara, CA (map)

Scala Resources
OTN Article: Java Champion Dick Wall on the Virtues of Scala 
OTN Article: Java Champion Jonas Bonér Explains the Akka Platform

Friday Sep 21, 2012

Anticipating JavaOne 2012 – Number 17!

As I write this, JavaOne 2012 (September 30-October 4 in San Francisco, CA) is just over a week away -- the seventeenth JavaOne! I’ll resist the impulse to travel in memory back to the early days of JavaOne. But I will say that JavaOne is a little like your birthday or New Year’s in that it invites reflection, evaluation, and comparison. It’s a time when we take the temperature of Java and assess the world of information technology generally. At JavaOne, insight and information flow amongst Java developers like no other time of the year.

This year, the status of Java seems more secure in the eyes of most Java developers who agree that Oracle is doing an acceptable job of stewarding the platform, and while the story is still in progress, few doubt that Oracle is engaging strongly with the Java community and wants to see Java thrive.

From my perspective, the biggest news about Java is the growth of some 250 alternative languages for the JVM – from Groovy to Jython to JRuby to Scala to Clojure and on and on – offering both new opportunities and challenges. The JVM has proven itself to be unusually flexible, resulting in an embarrassment of riches in which, more and more, developers are challenged to find ways to optimally mix together several different languages on projects.   

To the matter at hand -- I can say with confidence that Oracle is working hard to make each JavaOne better than the last – more interesting, more stimulating, more networking, and more fun! A great deal of thought and attention is being devoted to the task. To free up time for the 475 technical sessions/Birds of feather/Hands-on-Labs slots, the Java Strategy, Partner, and Technical keynotes will be held on Sunday September 30, beginning at 4:00 p.m.  

Let’s not forget Java Embedded@JavaOne which is being held Wednesday, Oct. 3rd and Thursday, Oct. 4th at the Hotel Nikko. It will provide business decision makers, technical leaders, and ecosystem partners important information about Java Embedded technologies and new business opportunities.  

This year's JavaOne theme is “Make the Future Java”. So come to JavaOne and make your future better by:
--Choosing from 475 sessions given by the experts to improve your working knowledge and coding expertise
--Networking with fellow developers in both casual and formal settings
--Enjoying world-class entertainment
--Delighting in one of the world’s great cities (my home town)

Hope to see you there!

Originally published on blogs.oracle.com/javaone.

Tuesday Jul 24, 2012

The JVM Language Summit - 2012

A new article, now up on otn/java, provides information about the upcoming 2012 JVM Language Summit, scheduled for July 30–August 1, 2012 on the Oracle campus in Santa Clara. The Summit brings together top language designers, compiler writers, tool builders, runtime engineers, and VM architects, from around the world for an open technical collaboration.

Summit organizer Brian Goetz of Oracle remarks: "We've been running the JVM Language Summit for the past five years. The attendees at the Summit are the people who are making languages on the JVM happen—there are typically architect-level representatives from many JVM language communities including JRuby, Jython, Scala, Groovy, and Clojure. This is a tremendous opportunity for the community to influence the future direction of the JVM and for us to learn more about how the JVM is being used, where it shines, and where it falls short."

The schedule is equally divided between traditional presentations, most of which are limited to 40 minutes, and informal workshops, which consist of small facilitated discussion groups among self-selected participants to enable deeper dives into the subject matter. There will also be impromptu lightning talks.

Learn more here.


Thursday May 31, 2012

Java Champion Dick Wall Explores the Virtues of Scala (otn interview)

In a new interview up on otn/java, titled “Java Champion Dick Wall on the Virtues of Scala (Part 2),” Dick Wall explains why, after a long career in programming exploring Lisp, C, C++, Python, and Java, he has finally settled on Scala as his language of choice.

From the interview:

“I was always on the lookout for a language that would give me both Python-like productivity and simplicity for just writing something and quickly having it work and that also offers strong performance, toolability, and type safety (all of which I like in Java). Scala is simply the first language that offers all those features in a package that suits me. Programming in Scala feels like programming in Python (if you can think it, you can do it), but with the benefit of having a compiler looking over your shoulder and telling you that you have the wrong type here or the wrong method name there.

The final ‘aha!’ moment came about a year and a half ago. I had a quick task to complete, and I started writing it in Python (as I have for many years) but then realized that I could probably write it just as fast in Scala. I tried, and indeed I managed to write it just about as fast.”

Wall makes the remarkable claim that once Java developers have learned to work in Scala, when they work on large projects, they typically find themselves more productive than they are in Java. “Of course,” he points out, “people are always going to argue about these claims, but I can put my hand over my heart and say that I am much more productive in Scala than I was in Java, and I see no reason why the many people I know using Scala wouldn’t say the same without some reason.”

Read the interview here.

Friday Feb 17, 2012

Michael Hüttermann on Agile ALM

A new interview on otn/java with Java Champion and Agile ALM expert Michael Hüttermann titled “Agile ALM: A Conversation with Java Champion and ALM Expert Michael Hüttermann,” explores ways to streamline the software development process through strategies that include task-based development, continuous integration, practical Scrum implementation, and more.

In the interview, Hüttermann explains the purpose of Agile ALM:

“Agile ALM provides structure for Agile. It’s up to the people who implement Agile ALM to apply Agile values (such as respect and open communication), Agile strategies (such as continuous integration, continuous inspection, and continuous deployment), and Agile processes (such as Scrum). It’s very important to be open-minded regarding the tools you use and to be free to switch from one tool to another. This is part of the continuous improvement process in which developers reflect continuously about what the team is doing and how to improve.”

He goes on to explore the strengths of different tool chains:

“One appealing tool chain integrates JIRA, Hudson, Eclipse, Mylyn, and FishEye. This tool chain fosters task-based development spanning different project roles and project phases. Another interesting chain is to connect Java with Scala and Groovy in order to leverage specific features of different languages on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). This can be helpful, for example, for setting up an environment for specifying and developing software collaboratively. Scala, with the specs2 library, and Groovy, with the easyb library, are examples of writing acceptance tests or applying behavior-driven development on the JVM where programmers and testers share the same infrastructure and are, thus, forced to work together closely.”

Read the complete article here.

Thursday Feb 02, 2012

Java Champion Dick Wall on Genetics, the Java Posse, and Alternative Languages (Part One)

In Part One of a two-part interview, titled “Java Champion Dick Wall on Genetics, the Java Posse, and Alternative Languages (Part One),” Java Champion and Java Posse member Dick Wall explores the potential of genetic analysis to enhance human health, shares observations about alternative languages for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), and reveals inside dope on the Java Posse. Wall admits to learning from Brian Goetz, Java language architect at Oracle, that pretty much everything he thought he knew about optimizing for the JVM was wrong, and discusses not only his current work using Scala to enhance our capacity to gain knowledge of our genetic vulnerabilities, but shares what he has learned about his own genetic challenges. In addition, he recounts some adventures with the Java Posse.

From the interview:

“…when I started working in Scala, I was worried that lots of extra immutable objects, which are created when you use immutable data often, would result in a lot more work for the garbage collector. After talking with Brian about it, I realized that, in fact, the opposite is often or usually true. Short-lived, immutable objects usually exist in a special part of the JVM’s memory referred to as Eden. Releasing the memory back to the pool from there is almost without cost. It is only longer-lived objects that get promoted to the JVM main heap that are expensive to garbage collect. So lots of small, short-lived objects can actually help the garbage collector out. There are other ways immutability can help or hurt performance, but ultimately, I decided to code for style and correctness first and worry about performance if and when it becomes an issue.”

Read the interview here.

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