Oracle hasn’t killed Java — but there’s still time

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Oracle’s last two crap quarterly earnings can most definitely be described as the chickens coming home to roost. The core of the problem is that Oracle lacks anyone who can have a big idea, and a sales machine won’t produce the results that investors are accustomed to unless they have something to sell.

The Sun acquisition was a mixed bag: Oracle leapt from the low-cost, high-margin business of software sales into the high-cost, low-margin business of hardware sales just as the cloud era kicked off in earnest. That had to be fun for investors. What was even more fun was what investors were unable to see: that Oracle failed to capitalize on the most important part of Sun.

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FeedHenry uses Node.js to fortify mobile apps

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A few years ago, the mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) seemed to be the likely answer to the huge challenge of creating groups of mobile applications that work together and integrate with enterprise data. In hindsight, MEAP systems, which typically combined a back-end server and middleware stack with a client application, seem excessively expensive and heavyweight.

The current trend is toward MBaaS (mobile back end as a service) platforms, loosely coupled with native, Web, and hybrid mobile applications. An MBaaS — which might be focused on business applications, consumer applications, or both — places much of the logic onto the mobile device, while enforcing security and managing the data at the back end. Even traditional MEAP vendors, such as Kony, are now offering MBaaS platforms.

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Programmers could get REPL in official Java

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Proponents of open source Java are investigating the possibility of formally adding a REPL (Read Evaluate Print Loop) tool to the language.

Java advocates are considering REPL as part of Project Kulla, currently under discussion on the openjdk mailing list for open source Java. Featured in Lisp programming, REPL expressions replace entire compilation units; the REPL evaluates them and offers results. With REPL, the overhead of compilation is avoided for looping operations, says Forrester analyst John Rymer.

“From a developer perspective, it’s nice to be able to interact with the code while it’s running in real time without having to recompile/redeploy,” analyst Michael Facemire, also of Forrester, says.

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New JavaScript library adds facial detection, 3D projection to Web apps

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The open source Tracking.js JavaScript library is bringing computer vision and augmented reality to Web development.

Tracking.js can work in mobile Web or desktop applications or be paired with Node.js on the server, says developer Eduardo Lundgren. It brings computer vision algorithms and techniques into the browser, and it enables functions like facial detection, camera-based tracking, and projecting of 3D models.

“When you want to do these kinds of interactions, it was very hard to do with the technologies that were available before in C or C++,” says Lundgren, a software engineer at Liferay, which produces the Liferay Portal platform. To this end, Traking.js provides a Web component so developers can access components from HTML tags, without having to know JavaScript.

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Big Java news in late summer 2014

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As is typical when JavaOne is imminent, there has been much big news in the Java community recently. This post briefly references three of these items (Java SE 8 updates, Java SE 9, and Java EE 8) and a “bonus” reference to a post I found to be one of the clearer ones I have seen on classpath/classloader issues.

String deduplication in Oracle Java 8 JVM

In “String Deduplication – A new feature in Java 8 Update 20,” Fabian Lange introduces String Deduplication for the G1 Garbage Collector using the JVM option -XX:+UseStringDeduplication that was introduced with JDK 8 Update 20. The tools page for the Java launcher has been updated to mention the JVM options -XX:+UseStringDeduplication-XX:+PrintStringDeduplicationStatistics, and -XX:StringDeduplicationAgeThreshold. More details on JDK 8 Update 20 are available in the blog post “Release: Oracle Java Development Kit 8, Update 20.” The Lange post has also sparked discussion on this and related JVM options on the Java subreddit

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GitHub’s new CEO: We’re serious about the enterprise

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GitHub is more than a cloud service based on Git, Linus Torvalds’ popular revision control system. It’s a cultural phenomenon that marks the ascent of a new generation of developers that, although closely associated with open source, displays equally intense allegiance to social coding and the agile development movement.

Arguably the center of the programming universe, GitHub currently boasts 6.8 million users and 15.2 million code repositories, more than double the respective numbers recorded two years ago, when the company attracted $100 million in venture capital from Andreessen Horowitz. The investment came shortly after GitHub’s release of an on-premises version of its software, GitHub Enterprise, for customers who prefer to keep their code inside the firewall.

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The star of JavaOne is … JavaScript?

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Java and JavaScript are two very different programming languages, albeit with similar names. Java is generally associated with enterprise application development and the Android mobile platform. JavaScript, meanwhile, is the lingua franca of Web development. But JavaScript apparently has captured the attention of Java steward Oracle in a big way. 

Perhaps out of fear that Java developers could end up switching to JavaScript development or simply recognizing the interest in both platforms, Oracle is making accommodations for JavaScript at its JavaOne technical conference in San Francisco next month. The industry’s top Java get-together will feature a multitude of sessions covering JavaScript, including:

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Why developers should get excited about Java 9

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With work moving forward on the next edition of standard Java, developers can start looking forward to what they will get with the planned upgrade.

Several JEPs (JDK Enhancement Proposals) for Java Development Kit 9 were updated this week, offering the latest perspectives on what to expect with JDK 9, which has been targeted for release in early 2016 and is based on the Java Standard Edition 9 platform. Headlining the release at this juncture is a modular source code system. Oracle has planned a modular Java via Project Jigsawwhich had been planned for JDK 8 but was pushed back; the existing JEP is part of Project Jigsaw. Standard Edition Java becomes more scalable to smaller devices with this technology. “The module system should be powerful enough to modularize the JDK and other large legacy code bases, yet still be approachable by all developers,” says Oracle’s Mark Reinhold, chief architect in Java Platform Group, in a recent blog post.

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Walmart’s investment in open source isn’t cheap

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In a recent blog post, a senior developer at Walmart Labs explained that the company’s embrace of open source costs big money. Eran Hammer observed that Walmart’s backing for the Hapi project is a “significant expense (exceeding $2m).”

Why does Walmart bother with open source at all? Why not use proprietary code from somewhere else and save the company the trouble?

The Hapi.js project is an open source Node.js framework that “enables developers to focus on writing reusable application logic instead of spending time building infrastructure.” Hammer explains that Walmart uses it extensively for production applications, so investment in it is a cost of doing business. Indeed, many companies invest in custom frameworks for their development work, including the internal customization of open source code. But Walmart has gone further, spending over and above the cost of internal development so that Hapi can be used by companies unrelated to Walmart.

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Autoboxing, Unboxing, and NoSuchMethodError

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J2SE 5 introduced numerous features to the Java programming language. One of these features is autoboxing and unboxing, a feature that I use almost daily without even thinking about it. It is often convenient (especially when used with collections), but every once in a while it leads to some nasty surprises, “weirdness,” and “madness.” In this blog post, I look at a rare (but interesting to me) case of  NoSuchMethodError resulting from mixing classes compiled with Java versions before autoboxing/unboxing with classes compiled with Java versions that include autoboxing/unboxing.

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Five ways Docker is taking over the world

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In a little more than a year, Docker has gone from being a new kid on the block to a widely used and respected technology. For any project to become that big a draw in so short a time is an eye-opener, but evidence suggests Docker’s growth is the real thing — the creation of a standardized software platform for delivering apps at scale. Here are five signs of how Docker’s rise is not likely to be mere faddism.

1. Docker usage
The most direct and obvious sign of Docker’s success is where and how widely it’s being used. Multiple cloud providers support it directly, and Google is one of the most visible and active. Rackspace is in the game as well, using it internally for a plethora of functions. Even Microsoft’s Azure is now Docker-friendly, which has provoked speculation over whether Docker will someday run on Windows itself.

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What I wish I’d known starting out as a programmer

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As the old Faces song “Ooh La La” goes, I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger. Back then, I simply loved to code and could have cared less about my “career” or about playing well with others. I could have saved myself a ton of trouble if I’d just followed a few simple practices.

1. Take names. I was really focused on computers early in my career and considered people to be minor annoyances who kept me from being one with my beloved machine. OK, I’m exaggerating a little. Despite meeting many industry luminaries and people that would have been worthwhile to befriend, I didn’t keep any business cards. I didn’t bother to remember their names and never checked in on them. I only went to user groups (there wasn’t meetup.com when I started and it wasn’t a big thing for a while after) when I needed a job.

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How to crack an open source community

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For a community founded on peace, love, and free-flowing code, the open source community can be a difficult crowd to crack. As new academic research details, newbie developers often struggle to find acceptance in established open source communities for a wide variety of reasons.

As much as we may want to think of open source communities as welcoming meritocracies, the reality is much more nuanced. For those thinking of contributing to an open source project, here are the top obstacles.

Social interaction

Not surprisingly, developers can be a prickly lot. Even when they’re not, it’s hard to break into an established community where everyone knows each other or, to the outsider, appears to.

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Web acceleration protocol nears completion

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When it comes to speeding up Web traffic over the Internet, sometimes too much of a good thing may not be such a good thing at all.

The Internet Engineering Task Force is putting the final touches on HTTP/2, the second version of the Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP). The working group has issued a last call draft, urging interested parties to voice concerns before it becomes a full Internet specification.

Not everyone is completely satisfied with the protocol however.

“There is a lot of good in this proposed standard, but I have some deep reservations about some bad and ugly aspects of the protocol,” wrote Greg Wilkins, lead developer of the open source Jetty server software, noting his concerns in a blog item posted Monday.

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Pivotal packages a lighter Java Web application stack

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Watch out Oracle, Pivotal is offering a lighter alternative to the Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) stack.

The company has collected many of its technologies into a single integrated package, called the Pivotal App Suite, that can act as a platform for running Web applications.

“What we’ve found is that most of the enterprise Java customers are deploying apps that use a small subset of the JEE stack,” said Randy MacBlane, Pivotal vice president of engineering.

The App Suite includes a number of widely-used open source technologies that Pivotal either oversees or contributes to.

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Iterating over collections in Java 8

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The Java platform includes a variety of ways to iterate over a collection of objects, including new options based on features introduced in Java 8. In this article John Moore revisits the Iterator design pattern with attention to the difference between active and passive iterators. Learn how Java 8’s forEach() method and features of the Stream API can help you fine-tune and parallelize the behavior of your iterators, then conclude with some performance benchmarks that might surprise you.

Anytime you have a collection of things you will need some mechanism to systematically step though the items in that collection. As an everyday example, consider the television remote control, which lets us iterate over various television channels. Similarly, in the programming world, we need a mechanism to systematically step through a collection of software objects. The mechanism used for this purpose is known by various names, including index (for iterating over an array), cursor (for iterating over the results of a database query), enumeration (in early versions of Java), and iterator (in more recent versions of Java).

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Oracle hasn’t killed Java — but there’s still time

See the original posting on JavaWorld

Oracle’s last two crap quarterly earnings can most definitely be described as the chickens coming home to roost. The core of the problem is that Oracle lacks anyone who can have a big idea, and a sales machine won’t produce the results that investors are accustomed to unless they have something to sell.

The Sun acquisition was a mixed bag: Oracle leapt from the low-cost, high-margin business of software sales into the high-cost, low-margin business of hardware sales just as the cloud era kicked off in earnest. That had to be fun for investors. What was even more fun was what investors were unable to see: that Oracle failed to capitalize on the most important part of Sun.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

New JavaScript library adds facial detection, 3D projection to Web apps

See the original posting on JavaWorld

The open source Tracking.js JavaScript library is bringing computer vision and augmented reality to Web development.

Tracking.js can work in mobile Web or desktop applications or be paired with Node.js on the server, says developer Eduardo Lundgren. It brings computer vision algorithms and techniques into the browser, and it enables functions like facial detection, camera-based tracking, and projecting of 3D models.

“When you want to do these kinds of interactions, it was very hard to do with the technologies that were available before in C or C++,” says Lundgren, a software engineer at Liferay, which produces the Liferay Portal platform. To this end, Traking.js provides a Web component so developers can access components from HTML tags, without having to know JavaScript.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Apache Cordova lets developers create Android apps from third-party WebViews

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Help is on the horizon for mobile developers dealing with the nuances of the numerous Android OS versions in circulation — at least if they’re developing Web-style apps.

An upcoming upgrade to the open source Apache Cordova device APIs will accommodate third-party WebViews to help developers get their apps up and running on the various Android versions, says Joe Bowser, a primary lead at Adobe Systems for Cordova on Android. This support comes in version 4.0 of Cordova, which is expected later this year, with Intel’s Crosswalk slated as the first WebView supported.

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Fresh attacks on open source miss the mark

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Despite hefty successes like Hadoop, Linux, and Android, the open source movement has come under intense pressure recently. On the one hand, the New York Times’ Quentin Hardy questions “whether it makes sense to build free stuff at all” given open source’s commercial floundering. On the other hand, InfoWorld’s own Galen Gruman chides “open source mobile efforts” as having “a history of failure.”

In these and other broadsides, the critics miss the open source forest for the trees.

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