Ceylon 1.1.0 lands, with Java and Android hooks to come

Ceylon 1.1 features performance upgrades and OSGi backing, but developers are looking toward major improvements for the next release

Now that version 1.1.0 of the open source Ceylon language has arrived, plans call for tuning the language to accommodate both enterprise Java integration and Android mobile application development.

Ceylon, a Red Hat-driven project, functions with the Java Virtual Machine or with JavaScript virtual machines. Version 1.1 features better performance, smoother interpolation with Java overloading and generics, and out-of-the-box support for deploying Ceylon modules on OSGi containers.

Enhancements on the drawing board for Ceylon 1.2 include integration with Java Enterprise Edition, which could entice users of Java EE or Java applications like Red Hat's own JBoss, according to Gavin King, project lead for Ceylon at Red Hat. "It gives them a way to easily adopt Ceylon and integrate it with existing programs they have running on Java EE today." Version 1.2 is targeted for a June 2015 release.

Longer-term plans for Ceylon include a version that can be used for writing mobile applications to run on Google Android devices. "People keep asking me how can they use Ceylon to write Android [applications]. That's something we're getting up to, and that's what's going to be one of the next steps," said King in an interview.

On the JavaScript side, Ceylon provides a statically typed, modern language while JavaScript itself is considered inferior for building large applications, King explained. Ceylon code can be run on the JavaScript VM in a browser.

Ceylon, in addition to a readable syntax and elegant type system, features a module architecture and the Ceylon IDE, which is an Eclipse plug-in, King said in introducing version 1.1. A general-purpose language, Ceylon was "designed by folks who were fans of Java," King said. But King described the 19-year-old language as "old" and having design mistakes, such as primitive types and primitively defined array types. While Java continues to evolve, adding capabilities like generics, Ceylon is a newer language with capabilities like generics and functional programming designed in from the beginning.

Ceylon 1.0 was released in December, with the language itself surfacing initially in 2011.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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