The Eschatology of Java


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"What is the future of Java?" is a hard question to tackle. It should be given serious thought whether you are a veteran with a lot invested, a noob trying to figure out what is worthwhile, or just a self-proclaimed Java hater.

In this session, Abdelmonaim will start by introducing the concept of Programming Languages Darwinism to answer what really determines the fate of a technology. A series of questions will be addressed to achieve some clarity such as: How is the paradigm shifting? Why do functional programming languages matter? What is the state of mobile Java? How does the patent wars affect Java? What about the recent security threats? And many more... Expect this session to be controversial, emotionally-charged, and very opinionated.

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The Eschatology of Java

  1. 1. The Eschatology of Java Abdelmonaim Remani @PolymathicCoder @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  2. 2. License Creative Commons Attribution Non- Commercial License 3.0 Unported The graphics and logos in this presentation belong to their rightful owners @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  3. 3. About Me Platform Architect @ Inc. JavaOne RockStar and frequent speaker at many developer conferences and events including JavaOne, JAX, OSCON, OREDEV, 33rd Degree, etc... Open-source advocate and contributor Active community member The NorCal Java User Group The Silicon Valley Dart Meetup Etc... Bio: Twitter: @PolymathicCoder Blog: Email: SlideShare: @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  4. 4. This Talk Based on an Article I published on: JAX Magazine August 2013 issue @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  5. 5. This Talk Structured in such a way that Will simply walk you through my thought process as I try to achieve some clarity and find answers Will hopefully not bore you to death No predictive models, no numbers, no charts, no figures, etc... (Totally overrated!) Will attempt to keep you entertained throughout Fun facts and a lot of cheesy humor WYSIWYG It’s all on the slides @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  6. 6. Pinky Promises I am NOT promising Any definitive answers Any hard empirical evidence All I am promising My biased opinion mostly More importantly the answer to the question: Why do Java programmers wear glasses? @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  7. 7. You Be the Judge @PolymathicCoder @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  8. 8. In the words of Duke... @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  9. 9. The Title? es•cha•tol•o•gy The “[...] part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what is believed to be the final events of history, the ultimate destiny of humanity - commonly referred to as the “end of the world” or “end of time” -Wikipedia @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  10. 10. What is the Future of Java? @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  11. 11. The Java Late-Night Talk Show @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  12. 12. The Java Late-Night Talk Show @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  13. 13. What is the Future of Java? What/Who decides the fate of Java? @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  14. 14. The Pundits of the Blogosphere The Eggheads & the Romantics @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  15. 15. The Eggheads The supported features will decide the future of Java @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  16. 16. The Egghead Bash Argue over Wether the most recent feature is good or bad What should the next feature to be added They never agree on anything The egghead bias The current hype @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  17. 17. The song has the asymptotic complexity of O(log n) “The Complexity of Songs” -Donald E. Knuth (1977) 99 Bottles of Beer @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  18. 18. The song has the asymptotic complexity of O(log n) “The Complexity of Songs” -Donald E. Knuth (1977) 99 Bottles of Beer @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  19. 19. 99 Bottles of Beer written in Piet, an esoteric programming language 99 Bottles of Beer @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  20. 20. The Egghead Bash More features is not always good idea Features that are impossible to implement Features that are not consistent with the philosophy that drove the initial design of the language Is the change genuinely needed? Is the change arguably in the right direction? @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  21. 21. The Egghead Bash The hype around a competing technology The new kid on the block The “hottest” Programming Language The latest and greatest set of features at some point in time The old dog The “hot-enough” Programming Language The set of features that fulfill the needs of the general use-case at some point in time @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  22. 22. The Egghead Bash Fad or no-fad? Will people abandon the old dog for the new kid on the block? Programming Language Inertia “Hot-enough” tends to stay relevant Hotness A tipping point or critical “Hotness Differential” where the new “hot” is so “hot” it renders the old “hot-enough” “unhot” What’s up with Java? Certainly not the “hottest”, but “hot-enough” There isn’t anything out there approaching the tipping point in a serious way @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  23. 23. The Romantics The community will decide the future of Java @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  24. 24. The Community @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  25. 25. TIOBE Index @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  26. 26. The Romantic Bash The chicken-or-egg causality dilemma The relationship between viability of a programming language and the health of its community is a correlation at best not causality A healthy community only indicates current success, but doesn’t say much about the future success @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  27. 27. “The Grey Area” Argument The features & community will decide the future of Java @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  28. 28. Maybe Neither of Them Decide... @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  29. 29. Programming Language Darwinism @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  30. 30. Biological Darwinism Develop a logical argument from the analogy drawn between the Darwinian theory of evolution of species and the evolution of programming languages The concepts from evolutionary biology that are relevant to our analogical inference include: Survival of the fittest, and the existence of the common ancestor @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  31. 31. The Voyage of the Beagle “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” -Charles Darwin (1859) @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  32. 32. Darwin’s Finches What causes the finches living the individual islands of the Galapagos Archipelago to be different from one another? @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  33. 33. Evolution by Natural Selection Species are not immutable The environment establishes a bias towards certain traits and against other ones The fortunate organisms that possess the favored traits thrive, whereas the unfortunate ones that possess the unfavored traits die off @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  34. 34. Further Reading @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  35. 35. Programming Languages Darwinism What would the theory of “The Evolution of Programming Languages by Means of Natural Selection” be? If programming languages were to be finch species The beak forms of the individual finch species would be the feature sets supported by the individual programming languages The population of the individual finch species would be the community around the the individual programming languages But, what would the environment of the individual finch species be analogous to? @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  36. 36. Programming Languages Darwinism Defining the environment to the individual finch species as The specific island of the Galapagos Archipelago it lives on The kind of available food on its specific island We draw the following analogy about the environment within the context of the individual programming language as follows The specific island of the Galapagos Archipelago would be the specific hardware architecture on top of which the binaries of the compiled individual programming language artifacts are executed The kind available food to the finch species would be the problem space of the individual programming language (the kind of software to be written using the individual programming language) @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  37. 37. Programming Languages Darwinism Biological Evolution Programming-Language Evolution The Finch Species The Programming Language The Finch Population The community The Beak Form The Supported Feature Set The Kind of Available Food The Problem Space The Island The Underlying Hardware @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  38. 38. The environment decides the fate of programming languages @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  39. 39. The Java Finch Java has been successful because it is well-fitted to write currently needed software on currently available hardware It is reasonable to assume that it will continue to be successful as long as the environment stays unchanged @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  40. 40. Programming Languages Darwinism The Common Ancestor Question? @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  41. 41. To answer the question: What is the future of Java? we should answer questions: Are there any significant environmental changes? How do these changes, if any, affect Java? Are they gonna make Java less fitted or more fitted? @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  42. 42. The Real Java Finch Juggy, The Java Finch A Java User Group mascot Created by Bruno Souza, Founder of SouJava (Java User Society) @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  43. 43. Environmental Change? The Hardware We Depend On @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  44. 44. Moore’s Law The number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years “Cramming More Components onto Integrated Circuits” -Moore (1965) The performance gain is automatically realized by the software @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  45. 45. Gordon E. Moore, Co-Founder of Intel The Legendary Mr. Moore @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  46. 46. The Legendary Mr. Moore @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  47. 47. Moore’s Law @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  48. 48. The End of Moore’s Law “Reality hits you hard bro!” -George Lindell The Laws of Thermodynamics and Quantum Mechanics limit the computing power of the one silicon-chip (Heat & Leakage constraints) The era of the multi-core chip @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  49. 49. The Imperative Programming Paradigm Dominant and intuitive Java is an imperative programming language Computational instructions are expressed as sequences of statements with the side-effect of mutating state Managing state is the responsibility of developers Parallelism One single-core chip State mutation and access needs be synchronized among concurrently executing threads. Not as simple as it sounds! One multi-core chip State mutation and access needs be synchronized among concurrently executing threads across multiple cores Good luck! Most end up writing software that does not take advantage of all core @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  50. 50. Ada is the world’s first computer programmer Known for her work on the Analytical Engine, the first programmable general-purpose computer invented Charles Babbage, the father of the computer The Analytical Engine @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  51. 51. The Analytical Engine “It must be evident how multifarious and how mutually complicated are the considerations which the working of such an engine involve. There are frequently several distinct sets of effects going on simultaneously; all in a manner independent of each other, and yet to a greater or less degree exercising a mutual influence. To adjust each to every other, and indeed even to perceive and trace them out with perfect correctness and success, entails difficulties whose nature partakes to a certain extent of those involved in every question where conditions are very numerous and inter-complicated” - Note D @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  52. 52. Further Reading @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  53. 53. The Paradigm is Shifting All imperative programming languages are doomed to extinction Java is no exception! @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  54. 54. The New Sheriff in Town The Functional Programming Paradigm Oh yeah... Lisp is back! with a posse: Scala, Clojure, etc... @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  55. 55. When Pigs Fly Java, the language Functional Java? It’s only a matter of time before it becomes COBOL Java, the platform (The JVM) Functional Programming Languages on the JVM The Da Vinci Project (JSR 292) “The legacy of Java will be the platform, not the language” -Martin Fowler I recommend reading Neal Ford’s “” series on developerWorks search_by=java+next: @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  56. 56. Not so bad... At least the JVM is gonna make it Turned out to be a lot more than “Write once, run anywhere” @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  57. 57. Environmental Change? The Software We Write @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  58. 58. The Omnivorous Finch As a generic programming language, Java has proven itself suited for almost every use case WTF!!! There are no Omnivorous finches! @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  59. 59. Nephologia JEE, the de facto standard of the enterprise applications Addresses the needs of the most complex requirements Matured an impressive technology stack and a number well-defined and standardized APIs The impact of “Social” The line between enterprise applications and consumer applications is blurred While other platforms continue to struggle, Java continues to thrives Lightweight JEE 5 with a focus on developer productivity Cloud computing and the emergence of PAAS @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  60. 60. It’s all good news... Server-side Java is up on cloud number 9 Sounds like Java ain’t going nowhere! @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  61. 61. The Mobile Space Plagued by fragmentation, constrained hardware, and scarce data connectivity only JME could provide a programming model that unites all An explosion of smarter and innovative devices No Java phone Spread so thin, JME failed to fulfill the promise of “Write once, run anywhere” Early JavaFX failed as much (Today’s JavaFX is significantly different) @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  62. 62. Android on a White Horse The best thing that happened to Java? Filled the void left by deficient JME and JavaFX Gave Java a much needed rejuvenating jolt Introduced it to a wider audience Made it cool again @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  63. 63. Android Only if you happen to believe that Android is Java Java classes are compiled into a binary that is nothing like the Java byte code Executed on Dalvik, a VM that is nothing like the standard JVM Java standard class library is not fully supported or implemented in a way that is counter-intuitive to the Java SE developer @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  64. 64. The Wolf in Sheep Clothing Android is NOT good for Java in the long term Considering the paradigm shift, nothing is endangering the future of Java as a platform more than Android It gutted the soul of Java by opting for Dalvik instead of the JVM, and reduced it down to the syntax language Java is good for Android Google free loaded on the goodwill of most popular programming language Java How much success would Android have Google pushed for Go or Dart instead? How much choice did Google actually have? @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  65. 65. iOS How many love Objective-C? Java on iOS? No JVM on iOS Apple keep a tight lid on it @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  66. 66. The Workaround Ship the JVM with the app Gosling suggested that the new JEP 178 (JDK Enhancement Proposal) will allow shipping the runtime, native app code, and Java code in single binary without the need of shared libraries @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  67. 67. Not So Fast! There are some concerns The size of the final shippable app Project Jigsaw (JSR 337) is still dragging Apple’s App Store terms and conditions are subject to change at anytime @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  68. 68. The Real Challenge Writing apps of comparable quality to native iOS apps JavaFX Will need support for iOS controls and look and feel consistent with Apple’s guidelines Apple’s hardware JavaFX brings in outstanding performance in handling audio, video, graphics, and animation According to Gosling “The JIT code generator has to be turned off” Better off using PhoneGap-like technologies @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  69. 69. The state of mobile Java is very concerning The biggest fear is the day where “Write once, run nowhere” becomes reality @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  70. 70. The Elephants in the Room @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  71. 71. Vulnerabilities It is the end of the world... Disable insecure Java! S#!t happens! Show me a technology that has no security issues It mostly affected the Java browser plugin Only 5.5% of browsers were running the patched version as of March 25th, 2013 Drawing the line of responsibility Developers’ vs. Oracle’s If you are still writing Java Applets in 2013, the chicken have come home to roost @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  72. 72. Titanomachy Oracle America, Inc. vs. Google Inc. The Java APIs are non-copyrightable because they are functional in nature and are required by others to use the Java language @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  73. 73. An Extract from the Article @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  74. 74. “This is one of those questions better asked to a palm reader in the old souks of Marrakech, or a gypsy fortune- teller in the streets of Stolipinovo. Now, you can spend your time reading into the visible exhalation of vapor rising from that steamy cup of Java, asking yourself "Is it really as hot as it seems to be? Or is the temperature of the room just too low?"  I say... take a sip before it gets too cold to drink when all the vapor there is to be is diffused through the air. We all know it's been there long enough not to burn your tongue.” - The Eschatology of Java by Abdelmonaim Remani Thursday, August 15, 13
  75. 75. JAX Magazine August 2013 issue @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  76. 76. Questions/Comments @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  77. 77. Why do Java Programmers wear glasses? Because they don’t C#! -Courtesy of @ProgrammingCom @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13
  78. 78. Thank You @PolymathicCoder @PolymathicCoder Thursday, August 15, 13