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Posted by editor on July 19, 2006 at 7:37 AM PDT

Time to request language changes?

With Mustang rolling towards release and ideas coalescing for Dolphin, a number of people are starting to talk about changes they'd like to see not just in the platform but in the language itself... hopefully in time for Dolphin-era development. We feature two of these on the front page today: one is about code clarity and compactness, the other is about performance.

David Walend blogged a few months ago about cleaning up Generics syntax by allowing dot access to type parameters' type parameters. He recently got it into the bug parade as RFE 6448707, and he blogs about it in What Giants? - Vote For My Generics RFE:

The RFE will also need some good rational discussion. I held back my irrelevant knee-jerk reaction -- "Didn't we all out-grow one-letter-variables when we traded our PETs for C-64s?" I could send a link to an old blog, but even that might distract from the cause. Please keep in mind that we want these folks to do us a favor. I'm working on a response that frames the RFE as "encapsulation vs. exposure," to dispel the "inference vs. explicitness" suggestion.

Meanwhile, lots of people saw the Slashdot article that talked up the InformIT article Debunking the Myth of High-level Languages. While the article points out some advantages of runtime compilation and optimization (like HotSpot) that make Java potentially faster than statically-compiled C, it also dings Java for performance-killing bounds-checking of arrays, and the non-existence of a Java class or type that could map cleanly to the vector processing units of modern processors (MMX, SSE, AltiVec, etc.).

The article prompted user dog to kick off a forum thread on
SIMD/Parallel processing support for Java:

"Just read this article: Debunking the Myth of High-level Languages. It was talking about high vs low level. It pointed out a flaw in Java regarding lack of SIMD support for modern architectures. If there were some sort of new 'array' construct in Java that would allow you to operate on it as a single object, then different VMs could take advantage of SIMD instructions on the CPUs to make set opertations very fast and take better advantage of the CPUs."

What do you think? Do we need another primitive or class that's built for vector processing? Do we have one already, or one that could be repurposed for this? Does it matter? Surely, there's lots to talk about on both of these proposed language changes.

Also in today's Forums,
guyo could use some help with a

XCODE documentation link:
"I'm new in the mac world. Have a lot of experience on PC platform but it's time to change for lots of reasons not to discuss here. I started with some written java code imported in xcode. I downloaded the latest java 5 bundle. If I try to select a java keyword let say PrintWriter and click on the search in documentation or reference it can't found the keyword. I tried to extend manually the links but without result. I can see all the documentation indexes on my disk in the java directory. What can I do to have this link set up properly in the help?"

Speaking of the Mac, the Java/QTJ-based replacement for Apple's QuickTime Player Pro is continuing to improve, as noted in Java Today, which notes the sixth development release of the Amateur media player is now available. This release integrates much better with the Mac Finder. For instance, it is now possible to make Amateur the default player for QuickTime and other movies. The Movie Info dialog has also been much improved. Amateur is now an essentially complete media player. Much work remains to be done to fully support editing and recording features though...

Cay Horstmann's Blog has step-by-step instructions, with pictures for Installing GlassFish and PostgreSQL on Ubuntu Server Edition. He writes "First off, apt-get is great. This was far and away the easiest JDK installation I have ever done. I didn't have to fuss with the PATH. I'll get alerted when new versions appear and can update them easily. There is some behind-the-scenes work that makes Sun's Java the preferred one (rather than GCJ). I'd love to be able to run apt-get install glassfish. I never installed much software on a headless server before and I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was. But if that isn't your cup of tea, you can use the admin web interface to do most steps."

The 0.4 early access release of Compute Server technology is principally a maintenance release, and includes numerous small enhancements and bug fixes that aim to simplify and improve pre-existing functionality. Among these, enhancements to the Output Processor interface (and corresponding changes to the class template) make results more easily accessible to developers, support for the detection and resolution of missing native libraries has been added, and on-grid VM options can now be specified by the developer. Minor UI updates have been made to the project Run Properties dialog to improve clarity. The release also features a new example that illustrates how to implement the Map/Reduce design pattern.

Rajiv Mordani takes a look at projects for AJAX enabling Java Web applications in today's Weblogs. "Sun recently announced two initiiatives at JavaOne 2006 to AJAX enable JSPs and JSF components - jMaki and JSF-Extensions. When we announced the efforts, there was confusion about the two and it was viewed as the two technologies were competing. This document helps resolve the confusion and show that the two technologies are complimentary."

Meanwhile, David Herron spells out the need for
Java DB in the JDK, and SQL in desktop applications
There was a little 'discussion' about the inclusion of Java DB into the JDK. I was on vacation and didn't read it too deeply. At least a) it's only in the JDK, and it's the JRE download size that's more of an issue than is the JDK download size ... b) it's not in rt.jar but instead a separate directory in the JDK ... What struck me, though, is the idea that a database is only suitable for server side applications.

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Time to request language changes?