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The State of Java: Community, Part 3 - the Java User Groups "Adopt-a-JSR" Initiative

Posted by editor on November 13, 2011 at 4:48 PM PST

My previous "State of Java" posts highlighted JUG-AFRICA and the JCP's new openness. In this post, I talk about the new cooperation between JUGs and the JCP, which is exemplified by the Adopt-a-JSR initiative.

Looking at Java's history, both the JCP and Java User Groups have been around for a very long time. Yet, active engagement between the two has only started to happen now. Why is this the case? Different people will have different opinions. My view is that the new engagement is the result of the perception that had grown over the years that the JCP had become remote from the broader Java developer community, and the desire by both the JCP itself and developers to rectify this situation, for the long-term benefit of the Java ecosystem (which includes the JVM and all languages that run on it).

Adopt A JSR is a project started by Martijn Verburg of the London Java Community:

This program is intended to encourage JUG members to get involved in a Java Specification Request (JSR) and to evangelise that JSR to their JUG and the wider Java community in order to increase grass roots participation.

What are the potential benefits from participation of JUGs in JSRs? The Adopt-a-JSR project cites these advantages:

  • Standards get earlier feedback, leading to more developer friendly APIs
  • Standards get 'end user/developer' expert input
  • Standards get developed faster as we can help with some of the heavy lifting of building Reference Implementations (RI) and Technical Compatibility Kits (TCK)
  • JUGs can help with the management of the open source project that springs up around a JSR (managing mailing lists, triaging issues etc)

In a comment posted to the current poll, which asks "What will be the effect of active participation by Java User Groups in JSRs?", Martijn elaborates on the varied contributions Java User Groups can make to JSRs:

It's not a case of simply throwing numbers of JUG users at a JSR. There are genuine domain experts in JUGs that can server as EG members, skilled developers that can help with RI and TCK implementations and enthusiastic hordes that can help test early versions, give feedback and help deal with project overheads such as mailing lists and issue trackers as well as promoting hte JSR in general.

This brings to my mind the thought that a Java User Group of considerable size is actually a microcosm of the overall Java community. Even a smaller JUG likely has domain experts who could provide valuable contributions to a specific JSR related to their area of expertise.

Martijn's "help deal with project overheads" comment is especially pertinent given the mandated new openness in the JCP, which in practice results in enormously increased comments posted to JSRs by the developer community. JSR tech leads cannot possibly simultaneously read and respond to the flood of comments and also advance the JSR toward its primary objectives.

It's a new world for Java, and that new world is well reflected in what's happening community-wise for Java today. The new cooperation and engagement between the JCP and Java User Groups is a very important development for the long term future of Java, in my opinion.

This post concludes my presention of "The State of Java" from the community perspective. The other posts in this part of the series were:

Next, I'll look at the current state of Java with respect to stewardship. Weblogs

Since my last blog post, many people have posted new blogs.


Our current poll asks "What will be the effect of active participation by Java User Groups in JSRs?". Voting will be open until Friday, November 25.


Our latest article is Sanjay Dasgupta's VisualLangLab - Grammar without Tears. Sanjay's next article will be live on shortly.

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