The Eclipse Foundation has announced the release of newest version of its Xtend 2.4 statically-typed programming language that translates to readable Java source code.
Eclipse provides extensible tools and frameworks that span the software development lifecycle, including support for modeling, language development environments for Java, C/C++ and others, testing and performance, business intelligence, rich client applications and embedded development.
To that end Xtend has been focused on seamless and bidirectional interoperability with Java and runs on all Java VMs and Android’s Dalvik VM.
According to Sven Efftinge, project lead of Xtend, one reason this has been done is because a number of new JVM based languages have been introduced into the Java ecosystem, such as Clojure, JRuby, Groovy, Scala, and others.
“Each new language aims to improve the language design and simplify the task of software development,” he said. “Xtend provides a better Java language by adding language features such as lambdas, operator overloading, and extension methods that reduce the verbosity of the Java language.
Unlike most other JVM languages, he said, Xtend works seamlessly with Java, allowing developers to easily reuse existing Java libraries, frameworks, and tools.
The new features in the Xtend 2.4 release include support for writing Android applications, allowing development of efficient Android applications with less code than the normal Java language. Xtend works with the existing Android Development Kit so has minimal impact on the size of the final application.
Efftinge said the new Active Annotation feature in Xtend builds upon Java annotations and makes it possible to participate in the translation process of Xtend source code to Java source code.
“Code patterns can now be formally implemented and automatically expanded during compilation,” he said, “which significantly reduces the amount of boiler plate developers have to write, read, and maintain.”
Xtend 2.4 introduces several new language features, including collection literals, extension variables, and support for declaring enums, interfaces, and regular annotations.
In addition, the Xtend plugin for the Eclipse IDE has been improved, providing even better developer tooling support than other JVM languages. This new release includes organize imports, extract method refactoring, formatter, improved content assist, and more.
“We are particularly proud of the new Active Annotation feature,” said Efftinge, “since it solves many of the problems developers are working around with wizards and code generators today. Eclipse Xtend 2.4 is now available for download