Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Java Standards Annoyances

The Java Standards Annoyances session at OSCON 2011 looks like fun. I wish I could be there.

If I were there, after first expressing congratulations mixed with condolences to Ben Evans and the London Java Community on the election to the EC, I'd probably say that the most important part of building standards is knowing when and what not to standardize. The PMO measures success quantitatively, in terms of numbers of JSR stage transitions, but the inevitable result has been that a lot of the JSRs that made it to final release are junk that should never have been accepted in the first place. The EC actually did one useful thing during my time as a member: It rejected the PFD of a (well-intentioned) JSR that was not ready for prime time.

So talk of "streamlining" the process makes me nervous. I wouldn't want to make it easier to introduce garbage, and I don't trust the EC to be a responsible gatekeeper, nor do I trust the JCP as a whole to provide high-quality feedback during public review; there's too much noise, and it's too easy for a spec lead to ignore substantial criticism.

There are good JSRs. Naturally I think the JSRs on whose EGs I have served are good ones, the most recent being JSR 334 ("Coin"). But I think the enthusiasm and energy of the community should be directed more at building great libraries and frameworks than at getting them accepted as standards.