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Adopt-a-JSR and Java SE 8

The long awaited, much anticipated release of Java SE 8 is nearly upon us. March 18th is the official release date, though numerous "launches" and other events will follow. A lot of work went into this release, with contributions coming from many quarters -- including Java User Groups (JUGs) around the world who participated in the Adopt-a-JSR program.

The Java Community Process (JCP), which manages the development of standard technical specifications for Java technology, launched the program in December 2011. Adopt-a-JSR encourages individual members of the Java community -- average developers working with Java day-to-day -- to "adopt" a Java Specification Request (JSR) by following its progress, supporting its expert group, reporting back to the wider community on its progress, and evangelizing its benefits.

The program aims to get JUGs involved in the Java standards process, and through those organizations, to promote "grass roots, developer-level participation in existing and emerging Java standards," the JCP says. The idea it to generate "earlier feedback, leading to more developer-friendly APIs;" "end user/developer expert input;" and to get the developer community to do more of "the heavy lifting."

To get that level of participation, the organization turned to the London Java Community (LJC) with the idea. LJC members Martijn Verburg and Ben Evans got the ball rolling, and the JCP considers the program to be "JUG-led."

"This is one of the best things to happen to the [JCP]," JCP chair Patrick Curran told ADTmag in a recent interview. "It has added some great energy and real enthusiasm."

The initial list of JUGs participating in the Adopt-a-JSR program included SouJava in Brazil, GoJava (Brazil), Houston JUG (US), and Chennai JUG (China). That list now reportedly comprises 20 JUGs, including Belgium JUG, Campinas JUG, CEJUG, Cologne JUG, Congo JUG, Faso JUG, Guadalajara JUG, Hyderabad JUG, Indonesia JUG, Istanbul JUG, Joglo Semar JUG, Jozi JUG, LJC, Madrid JUG, MBale JUG, Morocco JUG, Peru JUG, Silicon Valley JUG, and Toronto JUG.

Participants engage with the program on three levels: Starter, Intermediate, and Advanced (details here).

The JUG members contributed to many of the signature changes coming in Java SE 8, including JSR 335 (Lambda Expressions for the Java Programming Language), and JSR 310 (the new Date and Time API). The latter effort was led by LJC members James Gough and Richard Warburton.

JUGs have long been a valuable community resource for Java professionals. These volunteer organizations create opportunities to share information and to network, in person, with other Java practitioners. Most groups have some kind of Web presence, and there are some virtual groups out there.

Oracle also sponsors an Adopt OpenJDK program, which was launched in 2012. It has the same goals as Adopt-a-JSR, but focused on the open-source Java reference implementation. The program currently has 147 participants, and is administered by the LJC's Verburg.

Of course, the final release of Java SE 8 on March 18 doesn't end the Adopt-a-JSR program. For more information on how to get involved in work already under way for Java SE 9, go here.

Posted by John K. Waters on March 12, 2014