Year in Review: Java in 2008 - What just happened?

Java development trends, announcements, and upsets in 2008

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Meanwhile, Java as a platform remains strong, if not especially exciting to a community that appears hungry for new approaches. While developers continue to migrate to newer platforms -- Ruby on Rails being the most obvious example -- many more are using dynamic and functional languages on the JVM. Sun has taken steps to embrace this trend by hiring developers from the Jython and JRuby camps; SpringSource and G2One have begun the process of integrating Spring and Groovy; and the JVM Language Summit, 2008, showcased what may be the enduring legacy of the Java platform: the JVM.

Acknowledgments

I'd like to thank the following individuals whose valuable insights regarding the past year in Java helped shape this article: Ted Tanka, David Bock, Jared Richardson, John Brothers, Guillaume Laforge, Patrick Lightbody, Andres Almiray, David Hodge, Jason Huggins, Athen O'Shea, and Eric Lefevre. Thank you all for your time!

Andrew Glover is a developer, author, speaker, and entrepreneur with a passion for behavior-driven development, Continuous Integration, and Agile software development. You can keep up with him by reading The Disco Blog.

Learn more about this topic

  • Programming Languages for the Java Virtual Machine, a Web page created by Robert Tolksdorf, presents a comprehensive list of commercial, experimental, and research-oriented JVM languages.
  • See excellent coverage of the JVM Language Summit from InfoQ. You can also check the summit's agenda, and presenters, here.
  • The busy Java developer's guide to Scala series (Ted Neward, IBM developerWorks) is a starting point to learn more about Scala on the Web. In print, see Programming in Scala (Martin Odersky, Lex Spoon, Bill Venners; Artima Inc., December 2008). Also listen to author Bill Venners on The rise of Scala -- a JW podcast.
  • Stuart Halloway made waves in '08 with his "Java.next" series of blog posts, discussing the defining features of the languages he believes represent the future of Java: Clojure, Groovy, JRuby, and Scala.
  • "Will Google App Engine Support Java? Can it?" (Rick Ross, JavaLobby, April 2008) discusses why the GAE "lets you program in any language you like, as long as it is Python."
  • SpringSource CEO Rod Johnson (now a JCP executive committee member) got behind Java EE 6 with his blog post "Java EE 6 Gets it Right."
  • It's not all hearts and flowers for Java EE 6, however, according to "Java the bloat" (Robert Mullins, SD Times, June 2008).
  • Sun Director of Web Technologies Tim Bray has suggested that Sun ought to focus its future energies on owning the "Web deployment platform of choice." As blogger Riyad Kalla recently noted, smaller firms like SpringSource and RedHat already are doing just that. (RedHat Middleware CTO Sacha Labourey appears to point in this direction, also, with his anticlimactic announcement of the release of JBoss AS 5.0.)
  • See "Jump into JavaFX, Part 2: JavaFX Script" (Jeff Friesen, JavaWorld, December 2008) to learn more about Sun's language for creating rich Internet applications for desktop, mobile, and Web environments.
  • "Sun setting down on the core Swing" (Kirill Grouchnikov, Pushing Pixels, November 2008) discusses Sun's decision to stop funding Swing development.
  • We'll wait just a little longer for Java 7, according to OpenJDK Principal Engineer Mark Reinhold. Sun is redirecting its energies to modularizing the JDK, which will push the release, Sun hopes, to "early 2010."

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