Tim Peierls tim at
Fri Sep 21 11:26:23 PDT 2012

On Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 2:04 PM, Joe Bowbeer <joe.bowbeer at> wrote:

> On Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 9:25 AM, Brian Goetz wrote:
>> I think the "if we don't support it people won't adopt lambda" is way,
>> way overstated.  Its a factor to consider, nothing more.
It never occured to me that Optional was being proposed as a sop to lambda
users. I've been using Guava's version of Optional for about a year, in
Java 6 without any thought of lambdas.

> I think there is a strong usability case for supporting nulls.  I see it
> this way:
> Q: How many Java methods return null?
> A: Countless many, and there is no type-system in place to indicate when
> they do or don't
> Q: What will lamda users want to do?
> A: Apply their methods and collect the results; perform parallel
> reduction, stream them, etc.
> We will either need to force these lambda users to create Optional-like
> adapters for all of their sources of null in the world,

Seems like a few standard adapters would help a lot.
Collection.fromNullable(collectionWithNulls), etc.

> or we will need to support the most common use cases without throwing
> exceptions.  I don't like the first option for lambda initiates because it
> presents them with a hurdle right away.

Maybe there are some very common usages that should be tolerated, but if
everything is tolerated, no one will ever change, and people will continue
to write APIs that return null, and users will continue not to test for
null, and an opportunity to improve things will have been missed.

> I'm undecided whether Optional is of any use in the bigger design effort.
>  I'm certain they won't be as useful as they are in Scala, because the
> absence of Optional doesn't mean anything in Java -- whereas the absence in
> Scala can mean no NPE.  In any event, Optional should be subservient to the
> bigger design effort.

I had forgotten that Scala has an Optional. The Optional I use is *not *Scala's


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