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ONJava's 2007 Predictions


ONJava Editor Chris Adamson has posted his 2007 predictions for the Java world. He takes a look at the major changes in 2006 and says what to look for as a result of them. He focuses on open-sourcing Java, the Java Platform, changes outside of Sun, and the JCP.

In talking about what's coming as a result of Java being open-sourced, he says:

Will developers fork the language itself by hacking the compiler to add or remove language features? The result can't be called Java, but so what? Maybe Java could be used for domain-specific languages, in which case there'd be no desire to call the resulting variant "Java" or anything that starts with a "J."

With regards to the Java platform, he predicts a slow adoption of Java 6 as well as the growing argument about closures for Java 7. He posits that the big thing to watch for is other languages running on the JVM, with the obvious one being JRuby.

Is Sun co-opting the Ruby buzz, or picking favorites? Maybe a little of both, but there's a deeper story here; as much as pundits talk about Ruby/Rails' potential to steal an audience of Java developers, it's clear that it's also luring developers away from other scripting languages, such as Perl and PHP.

Outside of Sun, one thing Adamson questions is what will happen with Eclipse and Desktop Java in general:

Having said that, it remains to be seen just how much success Eclipse can muster beyond the IDE. The building blocks of Eclipse can be used to create rich client applications, in the form of the Rich Client Platform (RCP), but it's not clear how many developers have adopted this model. Eclipse's Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT) was supposed to be the answer to the problems of Swing, but after years of development, it seems as common in the wild as Swing--that is to say, not very. The rival widget toolkits can each claim credit for one IDE (Eclipse and NetBeans), one file-sharing program (Azareus and LimeWire), and not much else. Will 2007 be the year SWT lands on the desktop in a big way, or are it and Swing big ducks in a small pond?

In the community, Adamson talks about the JCP and specifically JSR 306 with the goal of improving the transparency of the process.

The expert group's early draft review was tentatively scheduled for this month, with a public draft review in February 2007, a final draft in April, and the final approval ballot in May. This proposal needs to pass both the SE/EE and ME executive committees, and it's sure to get a close look, particularly following the criticism JSR 277 received from OSGi and others who've worked on problems similar to 277's "Java Module System."

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