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A Java Developer's Review of 2011

12.30.2011
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2011 was a pretty eventful year for the Java community. We got the long awaited release of Java 7, watched the drawn out Oracle vs Google case and got even more languages built on top of the JVM. The following are a few of the key events and trends that I've noticed over the year. I'm sure I've missed some, so please add those to the comments section. 

The Release of Java 7

Five years after Java 6, Oracle brought Java 7 to us in July 2011, with new I/O APIs, support for dynamically typed languages and some other small language enhancements. 

As software developers, we all understand that it's tough to meet a deadline, so we really shouldn't complain about the delay in Java 7. At least Mark Reinhold and company have got a pretty good roadmap in place for the follow on release of Java 8, late 2012. 

After all the waiting, has your project moved to Java 7 yet?

Oracle vs Google

Oracle's lawsuit against Google has been going on a while now and the trial date has been pushed to 2012. It seems Oracle is keen to get the trial going as soon as possible, with their claim that Java is 'losing ground to Android'. 

Who knows what will happen next, but I'm not sure if the community is still as interested in this case as when the whole thing kicked off?

The Ongoing Rise of Android 

A review of the year would be incomplete without some mention of Android. With the latest repost of three million Android device activations over Christmas weekend, the momentum of Google's mobile OS shows no signs of stopping. 

But that latest app developer figures show iOS as the preferred platform for making money, with an estimate that the typical Android app will generate 24% of the revenue that an iOS app will generate. 

So, while the activation numbers are impressive, for developers out there looking to cash in on apps. it's clear that there are different factors to be taken into account.  

A Boom of Languages on the JVM

Writing languages on the JVM seems to be as popular as ever in 2011, with Gavin King introducing Ceylon in April 2011. Then we had Kotlin from JetBrain, and JDart, which allows you to run Google Dart code on the JVM.

If you're looking to create your own language on the JVM, Xtend is probably the solution you've been looking for.

JavaScript Will Always Be Here

JavaScript continues to amaze me. It seems like it will never, ever go away. Not that it's a bad thing. This year there's been some really cool JS projects.

This Linux terminal, completely written in JavaScript, as well as this JavaScript based JVM implementation, show that it's a language to ignore at your peril! 

Git as the Default Version Control Systems

Eclipse's Indigo release was brought the 1.0 version of EGit, and most of the Eclipse projects have migrated to Git for their source control. Google Code also provided Git support for the first time in 2011.

The simplicity and power of Git, has made it the default VCS of 2011. See DZone's poll on Git vs. the Others.

James Gosling Moves To Google, then leaves

In March, James Gosling moved to Google, a pretty big move which held a lot of possibilities.  Five months later he left Google to join a robotics startup. Check out James' blog to see what his Wave Glider robots have been up to!

Eclipse Indigo Release

The Eclipse release train has become so reliable that it's an annual event that we take for granted. But with 46 million lines of code across 62 projects, there are lessons that every software project could take away from Eclipse. 

This release included a number of great tooling additions, improvements in the JDT and huge advancements in Xtext.

The Death of Software Heroes

There were three huge losses to the software industry this year.  The death of Steve Jobs shook the industry, and shows us how important the work done in our industry is to the wider world. Many front pages of newspapers covered the news of his death, with eulogies coming from a huge cross section of the worlds leaders and celebrities. 

We also lost Dennis Ritchie, the creator of C and co-creator of Unix, and John McCarthy, creator of Lisp and the person who coined the term Artificial Intelligence.

So it's been quite a busy year. Is there anything important that I've forgotten? What will you remember 2011 for?