While the latest changes that have been introduced into the Java language are more iterative than transformative, the sheer size of the Java world means there's so much going on that it really can be tough to keep up. Fortunately, TheServerSide had a chance to check in recently with a number of high profile Java experts, including Kirk Pepperdine and Adam Bien, to see what they like about the current state of Java, what their concerns are for the future, and what the short term challenges and achievements the Java community can expect throughout 2014. Here are a few of the insights they shared:
VMs need to catch up with the scale of the cloud
Although emerging features are exciting, Java Champion and performance expert Kirk Pepperdine says there's significant room for improvement. "If you're going to get better scalability out of your systems, the JVM has to be better adapted to the hardware. I think the guys at Oracle have done a fantastic job of keeping the JVM up to date. But the biggest performance killer is indirection and resulting non-predictability." Naturally, improving the predictability of the application so that the processors can prefetch and optimize as a result will be a real benefit. Pepperdine says it will become necessary to put new features into the Java language to accomplish this, but it must be done in a sensible way. IBM seems to be approaching the problem using a potentially disruptive technique, so keep an eye out for alternative approaches, including those that may come through Oracle.
Going from web to mobile is getting easier
Steve Maryka at ICEsoft holds out immediate hope for Java web developers who are struggling with making the transition to mobile. "Mobilization using web techniques is doable. You can build sophisticated mobile web applications that are feature rich and that can address everything that a web browser can deliver and go beyond that to bring native features from the phone into the application." Geoff Poremba with Motorola Solutions concurs, "Developers can now use web skills to create a single application definition to compile native definitions for individual platforms." You'll still need to brush up on your HTML5, but you can bring your Java skills to bear as well with your favorite JQuery libraries.
Excitement surrounding Java EE 7?
Java Champion Adam Bien, the author of Java EE Night Hacks and Java EE Patterns, is brimming with optimism about Java EE 7. "JSON support is now useful because it is part of the standard. In Java EE 6 we used Jettison which was proprietary and not portable, so JSON is good. WebSockets are good. They are very easy to use and you can push data not only to web applications but also to Java. For some of my clients, we could replace JMS native protocols with WebSockets to push data in real time to clients." Bien also says that asynchronous Ajax is nice, but it's now evolution rather than revolution. Finally, batch processing is interesting, but it's too early to say more.
2014 is an ideal time to flex your fingers and get to work learning all these new features. Stay tuned with The Server Side, because we'll be covering even more Java changes as they unfold.