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Oracle and the Future of Java August 26, 2010

Posted by ddouthitt in Industry, Java, JVM Languages.
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Oracle recently filed suit against Google over their use of Java and their rebuilding of the Java APIs to suit the Android environment. This has people wondering about the future of Java, and what it means for Java implementations such as Apache Harmony and others.

I’ve always felt that Java fell short of being object-oriented, which was a shame: it should have been fully object-oriented – i.e., without primitive types for one. It also has been very wordy, with some declarations requiring four or more keywords to declare.

This is why the new languages that run on the Java Virtual Machine (or JVM) will start to come into their own. There are some well-known and powerful players that will grow (such as Scala, Clojure, JRuby, and others) and some not so well-known (such as Armed Bear Common Lisp and Erjang).

Since truly diving into the alternative JVM languages, I’ve truly become excited about what they have to offer. To me, the most interesting are Scala and ABCL – but who knows what knew things will come out down the line?


Google’s Languages: Introducing Go November 15, 2009

Posted by ddouthitt in General Languages.
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A few days ago, Google introduced the Go programming language (with a flurry of press attention). It’s not the first time – Google created the Noop language for the Java Virtual Machine, and Simple, a BASIC-derivative for Android – but it does seem to be creating quite a stir, more so than the others.

It appears that the Go language will be used in-house in time, though it is not currently so.

The language was created by several Google engineers, including some UNIX historical icons: Ken Thompson and Rob Pike (with Robert Griesemer). Thus, is it any wonder that the icon for Go is very similar to that for Plan 9, the unsuccessful follow-up act to UNIX?

The press attention has been amazing. Chris Dawson over at ZDNet wrote Is Google’s Go language worth teaching or learning? – I say yes to both. The magazine eWeek had an article about the launch,ComputerWorld’s IT Blogwatch had an article detailing a smattering of blog reactions, and InfoWeek also covered the language’s introduction as well.

Over at Ars Technica, they had an extensive writeup on the language (though they seem to have used an illustration from P.D. Eastman’s Go Dog Go! – isn’t it still under copyright?) The article talked with Rob Pike about the language and provided some examples.

Perhaps the most interesting article for programmers was an article by Google’s own Mark Chu-Carroll over at Good Math, Bad Math – which article he followed up the next day with another about concurrency in Go.

The only sour note so far is from Frank McCabe, who states that the name was taken by his Go! language since 2000. The issue came up in the language’s issues section and was noticed by InformationWeek; no word yet on what Google will do.