Java 9: Project Jigsaw and the move to modularity


Since the recent launch of the new Java Platform Module System (JPMS), also known as Project Jigsaw, web developers have been coming forward to share their thoughts and feedback. The new system is a unique release for Java 9 as it introduces modular components, segments and major changes throughout the entire Java development kit (JDK).

What is Project Jigsaw?

Project Jigsaw is an umbrella project launched by Oracle that has created a module system under the Java language that can be applied to the JDK source. Jigsaw uses language constructs and environment configurations in a way that defines a scalable module system for Java standard edition (SE).

How its modular system improves Java

Upon first glance, it’s easy to see why so many developer reviews have been positive. Project Jigsaw changed the way code is written in the module system. Its features and tools make it very easy to scale the Java SE run-time and the JDK so that they perform well on small devices. The system also enables users to modularize JDK libraries and update the run-time to support modularity.

By using the new system, developers are able to create smaller runtime with a subset of modules from JDK. Some of the basic tools featured in Project Jigsaw such as jdeps, jdeprscan, jlink, and jmod help developers organize their code into modules and then analyze it.

How it benefits developers

Some of the biggest benefits of the new system include its reliable configuration, strong encapsulation, scalability, improved security, and increased JDK development speed. Run-time images can be created by simply using the models that you actually need, making the process a lot more efficient.

Developers who use the new system no longer have to manually guard code as this is done automatically by JPMS. Making changes to existing code has never been easier with the increased development speed which stands to dramatically improve the quality of the Java experience.

The system includes features that improve application performance of existing code and facilitate look-ahead program optimization techniques. In addition, it simplifies the application development process within Java SE by enabling developers to construct libraries and applications from their own modules or from a modular JDK.

The business case for modularity

The excitement around Project Jigsaw has put the spotlight on modularity’s role in the ICT industry, leading many in the developer community to demand modularity solutions that can optimize their performance.

However, when looking at the future potential that modularity can offer, it is important to view it as a universal concept that has been successful applied in other industries. In fact, it is found in manufacturing, finance, healthcare, logistics, and building management, as well as the production of automobiles.

Why developers are moving to modular systems

Above everything else, modularity is used to increase output, improve quality, and reduce costs. Essentially, these are the same advantages that are seen when modular systems are applied to code writing and software development. As a result, everything from desktop applications to application servers see various benefits from the adoption of a modular design.

If anything, the growing number of developers and programmers shifting toward modular systems is an indication that the industry is increasingly demanding new solutions that make software development, code writing and management easier to scale and maintain.

Marketing in the modular age

A lot has been said recently about the Internet of Things (IoT) and the fact that consumer have been slow to embrace this concept due to the complex nature of modular systems. A recent study by Cisco revealed that there will be 50 to 100 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2050, which include a wide range of product such as smartphones, PCs, and ATMs, manufacturing equipment and products that are shipped.

In order for IoT to see a widespread adoption among consumers around the world, existing modular systems will need to evolve in a way that where their products, services and features are easy-to-use, offering flexibility and scalability for the non-technically minded.

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