Yesterday, I attended an awesome conference at the Toulouse JUG [FR] (an association of Java-lovers in the city of Toulouse, see Java User Group).

The talk was given by Jose Paumard. The subject was Java 8 and more precisely, the Lambdas, the Stream API and the impact on the use of the Collection API. Here are the main points I remembered from this talk.

Toulouse JUG

You can find the whole presentation in french here.

Lambdas

The lambdas are a clear an concise way to represent a mono-method interface. Our code will be shorter and easier to read so we will save time and money! Let’s take a simple example. I have a Vehicle which has a number of wheels.

public class Vehicle {
	private Integer numWheels;

	// Constructor, Getters & Setters
}

I want to sort a list of vehicles and write a comparator:

List<Vehicle> vehicles = ....;

Collections.sort(
	vehicles,
	new Comparator<Vehicle>() {
		@Override
		public int compare(Vehicle v1, Vehicle v2) {
			return v1.getNumWheels().compareTo(o2.getNumWheels());
		}
	}
);

It works but it’s a lot of code for a small business logic… Here is how it can be written with lambdas:

List<Vehicle> vehicles = ....;

Collections.sort(
	vehicles,
	(Vehicle v1, Vehicle v2) -> v1.getgetNumWheels().compareTo(o2.getNumWheels());
);

// Or even shorter:

Collections.sort(
	vehicles,
	v1, v2 -> v1.getgetNumWheels().compareTo(o2.getNumWheels());
);

It is shorter, as understandable as the Java 7 version and more readable.

Streams

If you program in Java, you make at least a daily use of the Collection API which contains the lists, the sets, the maps and all their implementations.

With the brand new Stream API, we will be able to change the way we usually go throught Collections in order to simplify the code, parallelize our algorithms and adapt to other data sources (sockets, databases, etc.). Let’s take an example.

We have a list of Vehicle. Each Vehicle can transport a number of passengers and has a number of wheels.

public class Vehicle {
	private Integer numPassengers;
	private Integer numWheels;

	// Constructor, Getters & Setters
}

We want to get the sum of the passengers that we can transport with the vehicles which have at least 1 wheel. The classic method would be:

List<Vehicle> vehicles = ....;
int sum = 0;
for (Vehicle vehicle : vehicles) {
	if (vehicle.getNumWheels() > 0) {
		sum += vehicle.getNumPassengers();
	}
}

But we can do better! This process can be modelized with the Map-Filter-Reduce pattern.

The Filter will determine if the Vehicle should be excluded or not, the Mapper will extract from a Vehicle its number of passenger (an Integer) and the Reducer will perform the sum (important: Red(Red(a, b), c) = Red(a, Red(b, c)), this will enable us to crawl our collection iteratively).

Let’s write it with interfaces:

public interface Mapper<T, K> {
	public K map(T t);
}

public interface Filter<T> {
	public boolean filter(T t);
}

public interface Reducer<K> {
	public K map(K t1, K t2);
}

And implement our example with the Stream API:

List<Vehicle> vehicles = ....; // Not null and not empty :)

Integer sum =
vehicles.stream() // We create a stream on the collection
	// Only keep when 1 wheel or more
		.filter(v -> v.getNumWheels() > 0)
	 // Retrieve number of passengers
		.map(v -> v.getNumPassengers())
	// We add the passengers of each couple of vehicles
		.reduce(v1, v2 -> v1.getNumPassengers() + v2.getNumPassengers());

It is WAAAAY more elegant than our loop and it has an enormous advantage: the Java 7 example tells exactly to the compiler how the algorithm should be executed. Here, in Java 8, I only specify what I want to do and the compiler is free to implement it in its own way. By the way, the last line could be replaced by a built-in method: .sum() :)

With a Reducer which respects the previous formula (which is associative and commutative), we can go through our streams in any order… so we can parallelize our code!

vehicles.stream().parallel() 			// The JVM handles the rest!
	.filter(v -> v.getNumWheels() > 0)
	.map(v -> v.getNumPassengers())
	.reduce(v1, v2 -> v1.getNumPassengers() + v2.getNumPassengers());

Simple, isn’t it?

There are a lot of operation for each category which are already included in the JDK, for example: collect which retrieve the results in a collection, sum, min, max, etc.

Conclusion

During the conference, we talked about a lot of other things such as performance, contention points in the parallelization and Jose gave us lots of interesting examples. I think there is a lot to learn in order to master Java 8 but the challenge seems exciting!

It is the biggest modification of the way we handle the collections since the creation of the Collection API 15 years ago so I expect a lot of bugs, training and hard work to handle this properly :)

I will soon write new posts on Java 8 since there are a lot of subjects to talk about: default implementations in interfaces (multiple inheritance?), other formats of lambda expressions, etc.

Did you already try the Java 8 beta?