Open Source Swift could send Java to hang out with Fortran and Cobol

Java is still one of the most popular languages in the world only because of Android, but that could be about to change soon.

This year I had the privilege to attend the latest JavaOne conference and under Oracle pulling the strings, it seems Oracle really has no interest in adopting any new developers in the future.

There were very few mentions of Android in most of the talks, probably because of their legal beef with Google it was a taboo subject, and it mostly focused on Java9 and the insanity of the unnecesary modules complexity which will deter any new young developers from adopting the language. The price of the conference tickets actually excluded the audience in their 20s, very few young people attended.

There was also a feeling that JavaOne was sort of kept hidden away from all the flashy marketing of their cloud offerings.

Oracle seems to be only interested in how Java will serve its enterprise customers and nothing more.

Meanwhile at Cupertino…

Apple has open sourced its Swift programming language, and has even put its source code on github.com showing that they’re not out of touch with reality.

Github is the place where most opensource projects and developers work together. It’s currently offering the most convenient collaboration tools and for me it has become an indispensable tool not just for coding, but for project management and team collaboration.

With Apple being such a big brand, and with the project being a programming language, just 12 hours after the announcement we can already see almost 40 fixes (pull request) sent to the project, people are fixing all sorts of things from the language, to tools, to documentation.

Java has the OpenJDK initiative, but good luck with their collaboration environment, it’s a pain to browse the code, and let alone submitting fixes with the overly complex processes they have in place. If you work on github, it’s really a matter of submitting a fix, and iterating over it if it makes sense to get it merged.

What would happen if Google would use Swift on top of the Android Runtime Environment?

The moment this happens, tons of developers that haven’t ported their apps to iOS would consider porting everything to Swift, and work with a single language to deploy on mobile.

Those who are currently developing in both Java and Objective-C, or Java and Swift, would immediatly start the process of having all possibly common code (those algorithms and utilities independent from Android or iOS’s peculiarities) in Swift and eventually would port their entire Java apps to swift, one language, less complexity, same/similar tools for your development process.

The stars seem to be aligning for Apple as Oracle drops the Java ball.