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Java Performance

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Java Performance, 9780137142521 (0137142528), Prentice Hall, 2011
Today, Java is used at the heart of the world’s largest and most critical computing systems. However, when I joined the Java team in 1997 the platform was young and just gaining popularity. People loved the simplicity of the language, the portability of bytecodes, and the safety of garbage collection (versus traditional malloc/free memory management of other systems). However, there was a trade-off for these great features. Java was slow, and this limited the kinds of environments where you could use it.

Over the next few years, we set about trying to fix this. We believed that just because Java applications were portable and safe they didn’t have to be slow. There were two major areas where we focused our attention. The first was to simply make the Java platform faster. Great strides were made in the core VM with advanced Just In Time compilation techniques, parallel garbage collection, and advanced lock management. At the same time the class libraries were tweaked and tuned to make them more efficient. All this led to substantial improvements in the ability to use Java for larger, more critical systems.

The second area of focus for us was to teach people how to write fast software in Java. It turned out that although the syntax of the language looked similar to C, the techniques you needed to write efficient programs were quite different. To that end, Jeff Kessleman and I wrote one of the first books on Java performance, which was published back in 2000. Since then, many books have covered this topic, and experienced developers have learned to avoid some of the most common pitfalls that used to befall Java developers.
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