This week has seen the programming world gorging itself on yet another piping hot pan of FUD fudge, thanks to a recent missive to InfoWorld by “a former high-ranking Java official.”
In an article titled, “Insider: Oracle has lost interest in Java,” Paul Krill laid out the main thrust of the email, which apparently carried the header “Java — planned obsolescence.” The mysterious insider claims that given the San Francisco giant’s obsession with competing with the cloudy thrust of Salesforce, “Java has no interest to them anymore.” Moreover, the source claims that, in dog in the manger spirit, Oracle also plan on ensuring that nobody else tools on the platform either, trimming down Java EE and sidelining the JCP.
So far so ominous. Confusingly though, for the next few years at least, there are in fact very well defined plans for the evolution of Java. Namely, the modularisation of the language by way of Project Jigsaw in Java 9, as well as plans for Java 10. Additionally, Ben Evans reports in InfoQ that the swallower of Sun wants to “reinvigorate the state of mobile Java” with a newly proposed Mobile OpenJDK Project.
In the official post by proposed project lead Bob Vandette, he writes that the focus of this initiative will be on porting the JDK to leading platforms, namely iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile. A seasoned mobile developer, Vendette states that Oracle will work to contribute the necessary build system, Hotspot and JDK source changes to target these platforms. This will also include “the ability to produce static Java runtimes and modifications to the Zero interpreter required for iOS ARM devices.”
Oracle will also work on “a JavaLauncher helper interface for simplifying the process of including Java in Mobile applications,” and “Sample HelloWorld applications and/or project templates for each platform.”
Although Oracle won’t be stepping up with GUI support, Vandette suggests that members of the community who have already worked on projects to adapt FX to mobile platforms might be interested in combining these two efforts.
Whilst there’s yet to be a formal approval for the motion (voting closes on October 12th) the initial feedback for full-bodied Java on mobile (take that and shove it in your candy jar, Google) appears to be quite positive. And although it’s early days, the fact that Oracle is still attempting to give Java in its “pure” form find a new lease of life on mobile should offer at least a glimmer of hope that the future of the platform could be something other than just another legacy language.