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News October 2011

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What an interesting time it is in Java and Java performance! I'm seeing more Java activity now than I can remember. Ever. It's not just that a well received JavaOne has recently finished. There's a new Java performance book out; The LMAX Disruptor architecture shows how we are now so efficient in Java that even small details of hardware architecture matter; times are being measured in nanosecond resolution because they need to be; the speed of light as the limiting property of network communication is now an issue for an increasing number of apps; AOP, caches, a huge variety of sophisticated and specialized data structures are all available as commodity items to Java applications.

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Going back to the Disruptor, Martin Thompson, one of the Disruptor architects, emphasizes in his blog the performance and scaling benefits of avoiding contention by letting any shared state have only one mutator (not one mutator at a time - that's just correct programming, this is one mutator execution context ever for any shared state), a useful design principle that I'm happy to recommend as one that I think would make code more readable (you always know who is doing the updating), more maintainable (no write-write race conditions ever), more scalable (no locks needed) and faster (fewer delays waiting for locks to be acquired). Martin calls this the 'Single Writer Principle'.

And still with the Disruptor, the talk I went to this month by the LMAX team just emphasizes how 'happening' Java is. Organized by the London Java Community (which seems to have several events every week), it took place on mild autumn evening in London, the week after JavaOne. That evening I got off the underground at South Kensington, one block away from the Natural History museum, one of the most fabulous museums in the world, and walked 10 minutes past ballerinas and some fabulously dressed people next to a huge Ralph Lauren store along the fashionable Fulham Road, to get to Playfish's bohemian and very colourful offices where the talk took place. Apart from LMAX, there were three other interesting lightning talks, free soda and beer from Playfish, JAX providing pizza, and a chance to meet up with around 100 Java people from every type of business, from the huge BBC to tiny startups, along with a people from financial, media and many many types of orgs. This used to be the sort of networking and knowledge transfer you get from once-a-year conventions - now it's happening on a weekly basis! How much more 'happening' does it get?

The blog, the book, and much more are all linked to in this month's newsletter, and all our usual Java performance tools, news, and article links with, as usual, all the extracted tips from all of this month's referenced articles.

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Jack Shirazi

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