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Java trend-tracker Barry Burd advised developers to boost their cloud and Web development skills, keep an eye on Project Jigsaw -- an API and modularity management project -- and opportunities in IoT programming, and more in this video interview from JavaOne 2014. He also pondered rumors about inclusion of an unsafe keyword in Java EE 9.
Cloud connectivity is the great enabler for rapid adoption of mobile devices and machine-to-machine communication, or the IoT, according to Java expert Barry Burd. Without a connection to the cloud, smartphones wouldn't be smart. Burd is author of several books on software development, including Java for Dummies and Ruby on Rails for Dummies. He's also a professor of mathematics and computer science at Drew University in Madison, N.J.
Mobile devices and machines have limited functionality, but building cloud-based applications for them can help their users have an intimate connection with the devices and the world, Burd said. He sees opportunities for development careers in IoT and mobile for those with experience in Web browser and cloud application programming.
Burd likened Project Jigsaw to trying to separate his wife's clumps of necklace chains. There is an enormous collection of Java APIs, 4,000 different classes. Project Jigsaw is attempting to separate the classes into logical groups, making the APIs easier to use, more robust, and creating a more secure platform. Like separating many silver and gold chains, organizing the APIs is difficult. Burd doesn't expect completion of the project until the release of Java EE 9.
Rumors surrounding the inclusion of an unsafe keyword in Java 9 haven't reached Burd, but he does see uses for it. Essentially, the unsafe keyword would allow developers to do low-level tasks that Java doesn't permit. Currently, programmers use sun.misc.Unsafe, a collection of methods that allows them to do low-level operations, such as tweak, which they used to do in C and C++. These tasks let a programmer get "under the hood to do the things that Java language intentionally prevents you from doing," Burd said. "The unsafe package in Java allows you to bypass Java's virtual layers to get things done quickly and break Java's rules.