Keynote session by Mark Reinhold

By: Devoxx

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Uploaded on 11/12/2015

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By anonymous    2017-09-20

Based on Mark Reinhold's keynote speech at Devoxx Belgium, Project Jigsaw is going to address two main pain points:

  1. Classpath
  2. Massive Monolithic JDK

What's wrong with Classpath?

We all know about the JAR Hell. This term describes all the various ways in which the classloading process can end up not working. The most known limitations of classpath are:

  • It's hard to tell if there are conflicts. build tools like maven can do a pretty good job based on artifact names but if the artifacts themselves have the different names but same contents, there could be a conflict.
  • The fundamental problem with jar files is that they are not components. They're just bunch of file containers that will be searched linearly. Classpath is a way to lookup classes regardless of what components they're in, what packages they're in or their intended use.

Massive Monolithic JDK

The big monolithic nature of JDK causes several problems:

  • It doesn't fit on small devices. Even though small IoT type devices have processors capable of running an SE class VM but they do not have necessarily the memory to hold all of the JDK, especially, when the application only uses small part of it.
  • It's even a problem in the Cloud. Cloud is all about optimizing the use of hardware, if you got thousands of images containing the whole JDK but applications only use small part of it, it would be a waste.

Modules: The Common Solution

To address the above problems, we treat modules as a fundamental new kind of Java program component. A module is a named, self-describing collection of code and data. Its code is organized as a set of packages containing types, i.e., Java classes and interfaces; its data includes resources and other kinds of static information.

To control how its code refers to types in other modules, a module declares which other modules it requires in order to be compiled and run. To control how code in other modules refers to types in its packages, a module declares which of those packages it exports.

The module system locates required modules and, unlike the class-path mechanism, ensures that code in a module can only refer to types in the modules upon which it depends. The access-control mechanisms of the Java language and the Java virtual machine prevent code from accessing types in packages that are not exported by their defining modules.

Apart from being more reliable, modularity could improve performance. When code in a module refers to a type in a package then that package is guaranteed to be defined either in that module or in precisely one of the modules read by that module. When looking for the definition of a specific type there is, therefore, no need to search for it in multiple modules or, worse, along the entire class path.

JEPs to Follow

Jigsaw is an enormous project that is ongoing for a quite a few years. It's got an impressive amount of JEPs which are great places to gain more information about the project. Some of these JEPs are as the following:

  • JEP 200: The Modular JDK: Use the Java Platform Module System (JPMS) to modularize the JDK
  • JEP 201: Modular Source Code: Reorganize the JDK source code into modules, enhance the build system to compile modules, and enforce module boundaries at build time
  • JEP 261: Module System: Implement the Java Platform Module System, as specified by JSR 376, together with related JDK-specific changes and enhancements
  • JEP 220: Modular Run-Time Images: Restructure the JDK and JRE run-time images to accommodate modules and to improve performance, security, and maintainability
  • JEP 260: Encapsulate Most Internal APIs: Make most of the JDK's internal APIs inaccessible by default but leave a few critical, widely-used internal APIs accessible, until supported replacements exist for all or most of their functionality
  • JEP 282: jlink: The Java Linker: Create a tool that can assemble and optimize a set of modules and their dependencies into a custom run-time image as defined in JEP 220

Closing Remarks

In the initial edition of The State of the Module System report, Mark Reinhold describes the specific goals of the module system as following:

  • Reliable configuration, to replace the brittle, error-prone class-path mechanism with a means for program components to declare explicit dependences upon one another, along with
  • Strong encapsulation, to allow a component to declare which of its public types are accessible to other components, and which are not.

These features will benefit application developers, library developers, and implementors of the Java SE Platform itself directly and, also, indirectly, since they will enable a scalable platform, greater platform integrity, and improved performance.

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