Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Descent from the Summit

Just back from wallowing in geekery at another JVM Language Summit. These things always leave me overcaffeinated, exhausted, and completely thrilled.

My big discovery this year is that everyone more or less agrees on what the pain points in the JVM are, in terms of performance and convenience. The people who work on Oracle's (formerly Sun's) JVMs largely mentioned the same desiderata as the people who write languages for the JVM, which are also the things I've wanted as a library writer and occasional author of weird bytecode hacks. Those include structs and value types, arrays that behave well with type parameters and can themselves be value types, and unerased type arguments, all things I would have used recently if I had them.

Of course, just catching the attention of the movers and shakers doesn't mean a quick solution is around the corner. I attended a workshop in 1998 where many of the attendees were quite insistent that they needed value types, and James Gosling agreed and said they ought to go into Java “soon”…

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