Lambdas in Java 8: A revolutionary change or an evolutionary error?

There is a great deal of enthusiasm for Project Lambda and Java 8, but some in the programming community still wonder if Lambda will be a revolutionary change, or an evolutionary error.

TheServerSide is always anxious to report upon the latest trends, and prognosticate about the future of enterprise computing. Sometimes the emerging trends are difficult to spot, and other times fads emerge out of nowhere. But for 2014, especially for the enterprise development community, it's not difficult to figure out where the typical Java developer is going to be expending their energy. "What's hot for 2014?" said Java Champion Kirk Pepperdine in a conversation with TheServerSide, "Everyone trying to wrap their brain around Lambdas is what will be hot. Isn't that the elephant in the room?"

TheServerSide has been slow to jump on the Lambdas bandwagon, capturing some concerns and trying to stir up some debate in the article titled Lambda, Java 8, interface evolution and laws of unintended consequences, but surprisingly, the article got about as much attention as a tree falling in an abandoned forest. It would appear that much of TheServerSide's readership is pretty confident in the changes that have been made to the language in Java 8, and nobody is overly interested in making waves in the Lambda pond.

Everyone trying to wrap their brain around Lambdas is what will be hot. Isn't that the elephant in the room?

Kirk Pepperdine, Java Champion

Hear no evil, speak no evil...

The vibe at JavaOne 2013 reflected the overall, positive reception that Lambda has been getting. We tried to stir up some controversy with Java Champion Adam Bien with regards to Project Lambda, but he wasn't having any of it. "The Lambda code is very neat, and if you use JavaFX or Swing or any event programming, Lambda just fits in." You can hear Adam's insights first hand in the following two interviews with TheServerSide:

Software developers need not fear Lambda and the move to Java 8

Is Lambda affecting your Java performance?

Some Java 8 clarity from Ben Evans

JClarity's Ben Evans was another Java icon that couldn't be coerced to say anything derogatory about Lambda, nor was he interested in entertaining dissent about how the default keyword would be used with interfaces in Java 8. "The language did quite a lot of work to make sure there were as few clashes as possible with the default keyword," said Evans. "I don't think there is anything bad about the feature itself."  

JClarity's Ben Evans tackles Lambda, Java 8 and value types in JDK 1.9

Given all of the seeming consensus with regards to the new language features introduced with Project Lambda, it was nice to see that someone in the community shared TheServerSide's trepidation. "I'm wondering if it's not enough, coming in too late," said Pepperdine when pressed on the subject. Of course, only time will tell if Lambdas will be the revolutionary change needed to inject new life into the Java platform, or whether it will be an evolutionary error that future generations will painfully try to sequence out of their programming DNA.

Did Java 'jump the shark' with Lambdas in Java 8? Let us know.

You can follow Cameron McKenzie on Twitter: @potemcam.You can also follow Adam, Ben and Kirk.

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