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2017: The year in programming languages
Source: Paul Krill

For programming languages, languages like Java and Kotlin garnering a lot of attention in enterprise
and mobile development in 2017. The JavaScript ecosystem, critical to web development, continued to expand as well.

Overall, the year presented a mixed bag of improvements to both long-established and newer languages.

Developers followed a soap opera over Java, with major disagreements over a modularization plan for standard Java and, in a surprising twist, Oracle washing its hands of the Java EE enterprise variant.

Microsoft’s TypeScript, meanwhile, has increased in popularity by making life easier for developers looking for an alternative to JavaScript. Microsoft also launched Q#, a language for quantum computing.
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Java’s many plot twists

Java Development Kit (JDK) 9 was released as the latest implementation of standard Java in September after disputes were resolved over its complex modularity technology. Although the module system is intended to offer benefits in scalabilty, performance, and security, key participants including Red Hat and IBM disagreed with Oracle over how to implement it. They expressed concerns about application compatibility and voted against the initial proposal, which initially failed in a Java executive committee vote in May. But the objecting parties were satisfied enough with subsequent modifications to pass the proposal on a revote the following month, clearing way for the much-delayed release.

The Version 9 upgrade of Java is set to be followed quickly by JDK 10, due in March 2018 and featuring a garbage collector interface and a local variable-type inference.

On the Java EE enterprise side, Oracle appeared to have smoothed things over with the Java community, which had been upset with the company’s perceived neglect of the platform in 2016. In September 2016, Oracle laid out plans for retooling Java EE for environments such as the cloud. But in August 2017, Oracle decided to divest itself of enterprise Java stewardship. The platform ended up under the jurisdiction of the Eclipse Foundation. Meanwhile, Oracle did release Java EE 8 the same time that Java 9 was released. Java EE 8 features cloud, HTML5 and HTTP/2 functionality.


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