Java User Group
South Wales

Part of BNCOD

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[Progress with Orthogonal]
[Persistence for Java]

[Malcolm Atkinson]

Java has achieved rapid adoption as a object-oriented, portable programming language available across a wide range of platforms. A prolific growth in intefaces (Java APIs) to persistence mechanisms and an abundance of commercial products are emerging as it as it becomes the preferred choice for new "enterprise" applications. These leave application programmers struggling with complex interactions and operational models, but provide essential access to legacy systems.

For twenty years, as proponents of orthogonal persistence, we have promised to relieve application programmers from the burden of such complexity. Java was a green-field site in which it might deliver. After three years of attempting to deliver industrial strength orthogonal persistence for Java it is possible to identify both solid success and residual hurdles. The successes are mainly technical. The hurdles are mainly political and commercial though some interesting technical issues are currently under investigation.

The talk will briefly review the Java phenomenon as it relates to persistence, with a quick classification of the alternative approaches to providing persistence for Java. It will then outline the way in which we provide orthogonal persistence. This covers both the convenient safety and structure of Java and a few of the semantic challenges it presents. The freely available operational prototype, PJama, will be described and demonstrated. It's current achievements and the approaches to remaining hurdles will be reviewed.

Professor Malcolm Atkinson has led a campaign for orthogonal persistence to become part of application programmers' weaponary against complexity, since 1978. Twenty years on, he leads the PJama team at Glasgow, where he is a professor, in an alliance with Mick Jordan's team at SunLabs, California (where he is a visiting professor) in an attempt to build the world's first industrial strength orthogonally persistent programming language. He hopes to persuade industry and commerce to take advantage of its obvious benefits by the start of the next millenium.

[Java User Group, South Wales]