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Let's Go Crazy

Posted by editor on November 23, 2006 at 6:28 AM PST

Java forks for all!

With Sun offering an Open-Source Java implementation under a GPL license, forks are inevitable and even desirable. Maybe it can't be called "Java" or use the coffee cup icon, but even still, aren't there some things that you'd like to set right, if only for yourself?

Author (and Amateur project owner) Elliotte Rusty Harold came away from a presentation on open-source Java with a list of language changes he would like to make, even if it's only to set things right for his own development (after all, his list of changes wouldn't square with the language as defined in the Java Language Specification and ratified by the JCP). He calls it RatJava, in homage to an early 70's cleanup of Fortran called RatFor.

Take a look at his list of changes and see how many you agree with:

  • No semicolons
  • Require braces for multiline statements
  • break by default at the end of a case
  • Permit switch on types other than int
  • Ban tabs
  • Make multi-line String literals easier to write
  • Make final the default
  • Make UTF-8 the default and only encoding

There are already a couple dozen interesting talkbacks to Elliotte's list; as Curt Cox points out while adding his wish-list, "it's easy to come up with lots of really useful Java 'skins'.

What's interesting is that you can get a lot done while still maintaining bytecode compatibility. After all, as Elliotte points out "we can finally clean up some of the little annoyances in the Java language, while still maintaining full compatibility with the Java VM and Java libraries; simply by making a few modifications to javac."

So how about you? How would you redefine the language to suit yourself and your programming practices and preferences?

Also, in Java Today,
InfoQ's JRuby brings Rails applications to Glassfish points to a blog by Naoto Takai that shows how to deploy a Rails application to GlassFish by way of JRuby. InfoQ points out that the use of GlassFish allows for "a more robust and scalable deployment platform." However ONJava blogger Robert Cooper argues that the approach sacrifices the simplicity of WAR-based deployment.

Think you know NetBeans? Try the NetBeans Community-Contributed Quiz. "Following true Open-Source style, the questions for this quiz were contributed by NetBeans Community members. All submissions with the correct answers will be entered in a drawing for four NetBeans Field Guides (2nd edition). Only one submission per participant is accepted."

Open-Source Java topics dominate today's Weblogs.