"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Jini/JavaSpaces/Rio... and Jython?

This one slides out off my sphere of awareness and then it's not too long before something pops it back inside. Are JavaSpaces still the best thing going for Java and yet still the least adopted capability?

I'm thinking about code replacement, etc. to keep a distributed system evolving. Erlang does it explicitly. Smalltalk does it well, too.

Java per se has class loaders, etc. But the still-too-secret-weapon that Java really has going for it is JavaSpaces (and the surrounding capabilities like Jini, including Rio).

JavaSpaces provides a simple distributed-shared-memory model for Java objects. While class loaders, etc. support dynamic loading, the mechanisms inside the language and VM per se do not support evolving interfaces very well. JavaSpaces is that "dynamically typed" (if you will forgive the phrase) surface in which "objects" [1] can actually change entire interface definitions over time. Not much more care is needed for this than for, say, a Lisp or Smalltalk system.

I'd rather be using Smalltalk, but JavaSpaces deserve much more attention. I wonder how well JavaSpaces and Jython fit together?

[1] I use "object" in quotes because I do mean to imply that a POJO will change its entire interface. Rather the POJO that is playing the role of some conceptual object will go away over time, to be replaced by some other POJO that is playing the same or some evolved role. This is like the observation that over time the cells of our bodies go away, being replaced by new cells. After some time and degree of replacement, do we have the "same" body that we had earlier? This is the core essence of a survivable complex system.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.