Brussels / 2 & 3 February 2013


A Research Platform for Java and Other (Crazy?) Ideas

This talk aims to present current ideas about enabling the Java developer community to directly participate in the evolution of their favourite programming language.

First, we briefly introduce 4 controversial Java features as seen by the research community: 1) Generics 2) Arrays 3) Wildcards 4) Overloading. We describe their intended purpose as seen by the language designers. Next, we describe what programmers actually do with them by looking at recent empirical studies.

Second, we present a new platform (Wiggle) developed at the University of Cambridge that intends to democratise studies of language features in Java. We describe the technical architecture of the platform, the research and design decisions behind it. The audience will learn about Java source code query languages, graph databases and interesting recent development in the Java compiler. In addition, we will demonstrate a prototype in live.

Finally, we present a recent idea about classifying Java language features based on different dimensions such as typical applications and conceptual complexity. We describe how such a classification could be useful both for collaborative development, software comprehension and teaching.


Raoul-Gabriel Urma