Monday, March 22, 2004


Do we need a Jython JSR?

Last May I made a blog entry on Jython that covers a lot of background material, including the idea of embedding Jython in Eclipse and web servers. BEA WebLogic already supports Jython. AFAIK, nobody has added Jython support to the main JBoss distribution yet, but someone should as Jython is being used with JBoss.

After reading about JSR 241: The Groovy Programming Language last week, I had to wonder why the authors didn't just embrace Jython instead? According to one of the advisors, the developers are certainly aware of Python and Jython, because "Python is a strong inspiration for Groovy", but the developers "wanted to re-invent".

Jython is a mature production quality language running in the JVM so it has full access to the J2SE platform and J2EE. Jython programs compile to Java class files, but you can also use the Jython interpreter to interactively manipulate Java classes at runtime. Besides Java, Jython is arguably the most popular language running in the JVM. What other dynamic language running in the JVM has several books written about it?

Sean Gallagher has written two articles on why now is such an important time for a language like Python or Jython: Java, meet Python. Python, meet Java and So what about Jython? The first article also appeared in LinuxWorld.

James Strachan, one of the spec leads for JSR 241, addresses some of the concerns over the Groovy JSR.

After reading these articles and comments I doubt we need a JSR for Jython, because Jython doesn't need to be re-specified or re-implemented, but perhaps how Jython relates to Java needs better definition within the JCP? Certainly Jython could use additional developers to keep it up-to-date with the latest implementation of Python. What Jython really needs is more recognition from Sun and IBM and some resources to keep Jython development active. Those companies should also be bundling Jython with their products, providing support through code examples and articles, and evangelizing Jython to their customers.

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