Project Panama Unites Java and C/C++
A proposal known as Project Panama is gaining a lot of support on the Internet by way of an open-source Java mailing list. The effort would provide Java programmers the ability to access non-Java application programming interfaces, including other popular interfaces such as those used by C or C++ programmers.
The project became official when Oracle engineer John Rose submitted a proposal to the OpenJDK community. Rose explained that the project's goal was to create a library that both Java and non-Java programmers could find both useful and easily accessible. Rose expanded on his goals for the project in a blog post hosted on Oracle’s website:
Building such tool chains will allow cheaper, faster commerce between Java applications and native APIs, much as the famous Panama Canal cuts through the rocky isthmus that separates the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
After the proposal went live, it began to gain traction around the Java community. As it gathered followers, it even became linked to some well-known names in the software industry.
Charles Nutter, who is partly responsible for the development of JRuby, a version of Ruby that runs atop the Java Virtual Machine, has emerged as an early champion of the proposal. Nutter has publically touted its functional benefits and improvements it could offer in terms of ease of use. "The main benefit of this proposal is that it will open up the world of native libraries—written in C or similar languages—to Java developers without requiring them to write anything but plain Java code," he told InfoWorld.
Project Panama would sigificantly impact developers who use both languages or alternate between the two. That number is quite sizable. TIOBE’s index of the top programming languages used for June 2014 listed C as the number one most popular language, Java was a close second, and C++ came in fourth.
If Project Panama is able to turn the idea into implementation, it could unite some of today's most popular programming languages and have an innovative impact on the industry.