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Java at 20: Its successes, failures, and future

Paul Krill | May 21, 2015
Although Java was developed at Sun Microsystems, Oracle has served as the platform's steward since acquiring Sun in early 2010. During that time, Oracle has released Java 7 and Java 8, with version 9 due up next year. InfoWorld Editor at Large Paul Krill recently spoke to Oracle's Georges Saab, vice president of software development for the Java Platform Group, about the occasion of Java's 20th anniversary.

We are also trying to make sure that the facilities are there for people who are developing in Java to have APIs that, if they use them, can help make sure their applications are secure.

If you look at our track record of delivering security in the quarterly critical patch update releases, they contain significant numbers of fixes, and in recent releases, that number has been going down — not because we're doing less work in this area, but because we've worked through a significant number of issues.

How Java fits with other languages

InfoWorld: How does Java stack up against some of the trendier languages coming out — JavaScript or Google Go or Dart or some of the others? There are a lot of languages on the JVM itself. How is Java going to win the hearts of developers, given all the choices they have in languages?

Saab: We are in favor of there being a lot of languages. One thing that's good to remember is that we're the stewards of the language that has the greatest use, the largest number of actually active applications in use. We have a great deal of responsibility. It would be irresponsible for us to go out and experiment with stuff that isn't necessarily going to work well. It's appropriate for Java not to be the one that's on the bleeding edge of trying a bunch of different things.

Rather, we are charting a course that makes sure that new advances and new techniques are made available to an extremely broad set of users after having taken the time to make sure that we're doing it in a way that is elegant, is easy to understand, is easy to use, that's going to be able to be done in a way that performs and is scalable. We've seen a few such cases, for instance with lambdas in Java 8.

Of course we're always very happy to see [languages] running on the JVM, and I think there's a lot of good dialog among people working on many of these languages, so that's pretty exciting to see.

 

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