Microservices Matters

Jan 3 2011   10:35PM GMT

Android, multilanguage support, the JVM and the future

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan


As we were looking at the switch from 2010 to 2011, we had the good fortune to touch bases with Ted Neward, Java/.NET author, blogger and consultant. Ted was a regular blogger on our 2007 TSS Interoperability blog, and recently penned a piece for SearchSOA.com on Android development issues.

We asked him about possible Java Virtual Machine (JVM) futures with Oracle now at the Java helm. Oracle’s has sued Google over that company’s reworking of the JVM, and this has put Google’s Android effort in an edgy position. Oracle has said it will continue to promote the idea of multiple languages on the JVM, but will this actually be the case?

For his part, Neward sees strong momentum for multiple language support on the JVM. In an e-mail, he writes:

The ‘alternative’ languages for the JVM–of which the leading three candidates are pretty obviously Groovy, Clojure and Scala–show no signs of “fading” or “disappearing” out of the Java landscape any time soon. If anything, they only seem to gather more traction and interest from developers in the community…

Oracle continues to enhance the JVM to make it more suitable and efficient for execution of these ‘alternative’ languages, spearheaded by the method-handles work done by John Rose under the JSR 292 umbrella. Couple with this the work that Charlie Nutter is doing around making JRuby “fit better” to the JVM, the work that Attila Szegedi is doing with Dynalang to create a common foundation from which to build language implementations, and you have a pretty thriving ecosystem.

Does Oracle’s argument against Google’s use of JVM for Android point to future distress? It is hard to say. Neward reminds us that this is one of those technical arguments where lawyers tend to have the final say. Still, Neward opines that – while Google’s retooling of the JVM bears some similarity to Microsoft’s discredited ‘adjustments’ to Java —  it would be in Oracle’s –- and Java’s — ultimate interest to see that the growing Android development ecosystem is not shut down.

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