Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Writing our own stories

"I write my own stories. Honestly, I do"

I attended the Java 7 meet-up the other day where Oracle spoke about the Java 7 release as well as about the development of Java taking place here in Stockholm. I didn't know the Stockholm offices of Oracle had so much to say about the future of Java, but obviously they do.

They also promised to answer all our questions as long as we didn't ask anything about any ongoing lawsuits. Right, Oracle hates Google, or as they put in the talk: "We have a bad story" with smart phones. A bad story. It seems they are writing that bad story themselves. I just can't see how I as a developer can benefit from company A suing company B about patents. None of that makes sense to me. Lawsuits are symptoms of large corporation disease ("corporitis"?). The questions is: What can big Oracle do that a small startup in Gamla Stan cannot?

So what's new in good old Java. Nothing much it seems, apart from a candy bag of syntactic sugar: Project Coin. Syntax is our user interface into the programming language and I find syntax enhancements very important. But it's of course hard to change the syntax of an existing language.

There is a solution that requires no committee meetings or consensuses. The IDE makers can innovate freely and provide new views of your code (without changing the actual source). I think the time has come to go beyond font size and line length in code editor view settings. There is even the opportunity to scratch our own itch and make an IDE plugin with the sugar we crave. IDE:s have come along quite a bit since I started programming and the next chapter is even more promising.

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