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Programmers Could Get Repl in Official Java

A Java logo.

Voting is underway on a proposal to add a Read Evaluate Print Loop tool to open source Java.

Credit: Oracle

Proponents of open source Java are formally considering adding a Read Evaluate Print Loop (REPL) tool to the programming language. Voting is underway on a proposal on the openjdk mailing list, as part of Project Kulla.

Featured in Lisp programming, REPL expressions replace entire compilation units; the REPL tool evaluates them and offers results. With REPL, the overhead of compilation is avoided for looping operations, says Forrester analyst John Rymer.

"From a developer perspective, it's nice to be able to interact with the code while it's running in real time without having to recompile/redeploy," notes Forrester analyst Michael Facemire.

Most dynamic and functional languages already feature REPL, says Scala language founder Martin Odersky. However, he says REPL will not be as useful for Java because it is a fundamentally statement-oriented language, while REPLs are expression-oriented. "You write an expression, and the REPL shows the result, much like a calculator would," Odersky says.

Still, Facemire believes REPL will "be in vogue before you know it," considering it is supported by new languages such as Apple's Swift.

From InfoWorld
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