Posted by:Ranjani Rao September 1st, 2011

The future of enterprise applications is moving towards cloud computing. Languages that have enjoyed popularity in previous years must evolve and adapt quickly to remain favorites of developers. One such language is Java. Java 7 has come out after a long hiatus and after Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010, is already under the microscope. With languages such as Scala seemingly built for cloud computing, new age developers are looking for Java 8 to deliver big time.

Java 8 – Cloud Computing on Agenda

Java 7 was expected to come out with a lot more features than it did. It was important for Oracle to release a new version of Java in 2011 and it decided to sacrifice features for timelines. For the next Java 8 release, Oracle and members of the JCP (Java Community Process) are focused on getting the language ready for the Cloud.

According to Mark Little, senior director of engineering for Red Hat’s middleware business and its primary link for the JCP, two features will make Java 8 ready for wide scale cloud deployment – modularity and multitenancy within the JVM.

Modularity would require the reorganization of JDK into segregated interdependent modules. This would reduce the size of Java deployments drastically as Java’s entire core library will not be loaded on every occasion. Modularity will also ease the coding process for developers by avoiding ‘classloader hell’ that arises out of calls to classes of the same name in multiple JAR files or a JAR file already in use. With the JVM supporting modularity, the mayhem caused by this confusion can be avoided. According to Java 8’s release notes, Project Jigsaw, a standard module system for the Java SE Platform, is on the agenda.

Multitenancy support would allow multiple programs to run on one JVM safely. This is a must for cloud computing where multiple applications share common infrastructure. ‘Adding multitenancy to JVM is important,’ agrees Forrester Research analyst, John Rymer. ‘Today, each vendor must come with its own way of virtualizing its application server.’ Multitenancy in the JVM will reduce vendor lock-in and time spent on the learning curve, mastering various approaches.

One more feature that Java must support to become a language for enterprise apps on the cloud is closures. Java 8 release notes mention Project Lambda/JSR 335 that suggests extending Java to support lambda expressions (aka ‘closures’) and have related language and library features to enable effective use of Java SE APIs. There’s also JSR 294 that’s about language and VM support for modular programming at compile time and runtime through language enhancements and VM specification.

Lots of hopes are hanging on Java 8. With a release date tentatively set to October 2012, analysts hope Java does not miss the bus with languages such as Scala, Ruby and Python becoming the main players in the cloud computing arena.

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