"Bleah, Layers are too complicated!" (was: Updated State of the Specialization)
brian.goetz at oracle.com
Sun Dec 21 16:57:03 UTC 2014
I can understand why everyone is inclined to jump all over layers as
being "too complicated"; we have our own concerns there too, which I
think we've been honest about. But, you're all getting ahead of
yourselves; it feels like you're having a collective panic attack of
"OMG, they're going to kill Java with complexity, so I'd better freak
So everyone ... relax.
Right now, we're still *figuring out the problems* (which includes
separating the real problems from the perceived ones). The one thing I
know is that the final solution will almost certainly look very
different. (Everyone says they want us to work more openly, rather than
emerging from our cave with the final answer -- but you have to do your
part by showing some awareness that what we're sharing is work-in-progress.)
We've only thought about these issues for maybe a thousand hours so far;
that's not enough to get a good answer to hard problems like this. So
*of course* the solutions we've got so far are half-baked. How could
they be anything else?
Until we fully understand the problems, we are going to focus on the
theoretical characteristics of the possible solution, how well it solves
the problem, and how the solutions fit in with how the language actually
works (i.e., the type system, overload selection, method dispatch, etc).
The fact that it looms too large in the user model or the syntax is
weird or has a lot of surface for what feels like corner cases can't be
our top priority now; focusing on the surface aspects distracts from
figuring out whether we're even on the right track or not.
Now, it's common that the solutions one ends up with after the first or
second or third round is still more complicated than you'd like, so then
begins the agonizing slow process of peeling back perceived requirements
in order to simplify how the solutions fit into the user perception of
the language. It seems that people want to "help" by jumping right to
that end stage by saying "this problem isn't important to solve". But
unexamined opinions of which problems can be punted on is not really
that helpful to us.
The thoughts we're sharing are very much work in progress. Please
engage accordingly; at this stage, constructive help looks like
generating better understanding of the problems.
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