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Java Scripting Wish List

by Ian Roughley on Jan 17, 2008 |
With the release of Java 6 and JSR 223, developers now have the option of being able to have inter-operability between Java and any of the supported scripting language.  If your scripting language of choice is not supported, making it available is as simple as implementing the necessary connector API.

Mark Fortner has been exploring the capabilities of the Bean Scripting Framework (BSF) with JSR 223, and has found a number of items that could be improved. These include:
  • Universal Scripting Host API - the JRunscript scripting host and the BSF Main class that serves a scripting host provide uneven support for Global functions.  JRunscript has functions for listing directories, copying files etc.  BSF does not.  It would be really useful if we could have a single, open source scripting host with a number of global functions that could be called from any language.

  • Support for XPath & XQuery functions within the scripting host.  There needs to be universal way of fetching and extracting parts of XML-based documents. 
  • Jar/Tar/Bzip/Zip support.  These functions should be similar to the support that Apache Commons VFS provides.  You can enter URLs like tar:gz:http://anyhost/dir/mytar.tar.gz!/mytar.tar!/path/in/tar/README.txt to extract a file from a tarball.  Notice the multiprotocol support at the beginning of the URL (in bold).

  • Mail function within Scripting Host - it would be useful to send files from the scripting host or send email messages.

  • Basic ImageIO capabilities including affine transforms, and file transcoding.  We can currently use the ImageIO classes static methods as a starting point. If someone gets ambitious they could recreate the functionality found in ImageMagick.

  • IDE support in Eclipse -- Currently Tkl and JRuby are supported but there needs to be more all-around support for scripting languages in Eclipse.  The Javascript support seems limited to the browser compatible subset of the language.  Since a lot of people will be trying to get their hands around scripting languages now, having code lookup capabilities will be essential to helping people learn the languages.
Whether these items are necessary in the scripting host, or whether the scripting languages own implementation should be used is debatable.

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Perspective by Geoffrey Wiseman

It's an interesting perspective - personally, I'd rather see them focus on getting a good selection of languages available, well-supported, and solve some of the barriers to entry than work on universal functionality (other than that provided by the Java libraries).

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