Monday, 10 February 2014

New project: ThreeTen-Extra for JDK 8

JDK 8 includes JSR-310, a new date and time library. But what about functionality that didn't make it into the JDK?

ThreeTen-Extra

The main ThreeTen project is now essentially complete. The project was developed and delivered via JSR-310 into OpenJDK and JDK 8.

However, as part of that process, certain pieces of functionality were rejected and/or excluded from the JDK. This was sometimes due to scope management and sometimes due to whether something was appropriate for the JDK.

The TheeTen-Extra project provides a home for that functionality.

ThreeTen-Extra is a project on GitHub that provides additional functionality. It is delivered via Maven Central and is dependent on JDK 8.

The following functionality is currently provided:

  • DayOfMonth temporal value type
  • DayOfYear temporal value type
  • AmPm temporal enum
  • Quarter temporal enum
  • YearQuarter temporal value type
  • Days, Months and Years amount value types
  • Next/previous day adjusters that skip the weekend (Saturday/Sunday)
  • Coptic calendar system
  • Support for the TAI and UTC time-scales

The project has spare space to add more functionality, so long as it is generally applicable. For example, additional calendar systems would be a good fit. Feel free to raise a pull request with your ideas.

Summary

The ThreeTen-Extra project is now available, providing an additional jar file of date/time code that builds on java.time (JSR-310) in JDK 8.

Comments welcome!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Turning off doclint in JDK 8 Javadoc

JDK 8 includes many updates, but one is I suspect going to cause quite a few complaints - doclint for Javadoc.

Javadoc doclint

Documentation is not something most developers like writing. With Java, we were fortunate to have the Javadoc toolset built in and easy to access from day one. As such, writing Javadoc is a standard part of most developers life.

The Javadoc comments in source code use a mixture of tags, starting with @, and HTML to allow the developer to express their comment and format it nicely.

Up to JDK 7, the Javadoc tool was pretty lenient. As a developer, you could write anything that vaguely resembled HTML and the tool would rarely complain beyond warnings. Thus you could have @link references that were inaccurate (such as due to refactoring) and the tool would simply provide a warning.

With JDK 8, a new part has been added to Javadoc called doclint and it changes that friendly behaviour. In particular, the tool aim to get conforming W3C HTML 4.01 HTML (despite the fact that humans are very bad at matching conformance wrt HTML).

With JDK 8, you are unable to get Javadoc unless your tool meets the standards of doclint. Some of its rules are:

  • no self-closed HTML tags, such as <br /> or <a id="x" />
  • no unclosed HTML tags, such as <ul> without matching </ul>
  • no invalid HTML end tags, such as </br>
  • no invalid HTML attributes, based on doclint's interpretation of W3C HTML 4.01
  • no duplicate HTML id attribute
  • no empty HTML href attribute
  • no incorrectly nested headers, such as class documentation must have <h3>, not <h4>
  • no invalid HTML tags, such as List<String> (where you forgot to escape using &lt;)
  • no broken @link references
  • no broken @param references, they must match the actual parameter name
  • no broken @throws references, the first word must be a class name

Note that these are errors, not warnings. Break the rules and you get no Javadoc output.

In my opinion, this is way too strict to be the default. I have no problem with such a tool existing in Javadoc, but given the history of Javadoc, errors like this should be opt-in, not opt-out. Its far better to get slightly broken Javadoc than no Javadoc.

I also haven't been able to find a list of the rules, which makes life hard. At least we can see the source code to reverse engineer them.

Turning off doclint

The magic incantation you need is -Xdoclint:none. This goes on the command line invoking Javadoc.

If you are running from maven, you need to use the additionalparam setting, as per the manual. Either add it as a global property:

  <properties>
    <additionalparam>-Xdoclint:none</additionalparam>
  </properties>

or add it to the maven-javadoc-plugin:

  <plugins>
    <plugin>
      <groupId>org.apache.maven.plugins</groupId>
      <artifactId>maven-javadoc-plugin</artifactId>
      <configuration>
        <additionalparam>-Xdoclint:none</additionalparam>
      </configuration>
    </plugin>
  </plugins>

Ant also uses additionalparam to pass in -Xdoclint:none, see the manual.

Gradle does not expose additionalparam but Tim Yates and Cedric Champeau advise of this solution:

  if (JavaVersion.current().isJava8Compatible()) {
    allprojects {
      tasks.withType(Javadoc) {
        options.addStringOption('Xdoclint:none', '-quiet')
      }
    }
  }

See also the Gradle manual.

Summary

I don't mind doclint existing, but there is no way that it should be turned on to error mode by default. Getting some Javadoc produced without hassle is far more important than pandering to the doclint style checks. In addition, it is very heavy handed with what it defines to be errors, rejecting plenty of HTML that works perfectly fine in a browser.

I've asked the maven team to disable doclint by default, and I'd suggest the same to Ant and Gradle. Unfortunately, the Oracle team seem convinced that they've made the right choice with errors by default and their use of strict HTML.

Comments welcome, but please note that non-specific "it didn't work for me" comments should be at Stack Overflow or Java Ranch, not here!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Exiting the JVM

You learn something new about the JDK every day. Apparantly, System.exit(0) does not always stop the JVM!

System.exit()

This is a great Java puzzler from Peter Lawrey:

  public static void main(String... args) {
    Runtime.getRuntime().addShutdownHook(new Thread(new Runnable() {
      @Override
      public void run() {
        System.out.println("Locking");
        synchronized (lock) {
          System.out.println("Locked");
        }
      }
    }));
    synchronized (lock) {
      System.out.println("Exiting");
      System.exit(0);
    }
  }

What does the code do?

  1. Our code registers the shutdown hook
  2. Our code acquires the lock
  3. Our code prints "Exiting"
  4. Our code calls System.exit(0)
  5. System.exit(0) calls our shutdown hook
  6. Our shutdown hook prints "Locking"
  7. Our shutdown hook tries to acquire the lock
  8. Deadlock - Code never exits

Clearly, calling System.exit(0) and not exiting is a Bad Thing, although hopefully badly written shutdown hooks are rare. And there are also deprecated runFinalizersOnExit, another potential source of problems.

What are the alternatives?

The System.exit(0) call simply calls Runtime.getRuntime().exit(0), so that makes no difference.

The main alternative is Runtime.getRuntime().halt(0), described as "Forcibly terminates the currently running Java virtual machine". This does not call shutdown hooks or exit finalizers, it just exits.

But what if you want to try and exit nicely first, and only halt if that fails?

Well that seems like its a missing JDK method. However, a delay timer can be used to get a reasonable approximation:

  /**
   * Exits the JVM, trying to do it nicely, otherwise doing it nastily.
   * 
   * @param status  the exit status, zero for OK, non-zero for error
   * @param maxDelay  the maximum delay in milliseconds
   */
  public static void exit(final int status, long maxDelayMillis) {
    try {
      // setup a timer, so if nice exit fails, the nasty exit happens
      Timer timer = new Timer();
      timer.schedule(new TimerTask() {
        @Override
        public void run() {
          Runtime.getRuntime().halt(status);
        }
      }, maxDelayMillis);
      // try to exit nicely
      System.exit(status);
      
    } catch (Throwable ex) {
      // exit nastily if we have a problem
      Runtime.getRuntime().halt(status);
    } finally {
      // should never get here
      Runtime.getRuntime().halt(status);
    }
  }

All things being equal, that really should exit the JVM in the best way it can. In the puzzler, if you replace System.exit(0) with a call to this method, the deadlock will be broken and the JVM will exit.

Summary

System.exit(0) does not always stop the JVM. Runtime.getRuntime().halt(0) should always stop the JVM.

Final thought - if you're writing code to exit the JVM, have you considered whether you even need that code? After all, exiting the JVM doesn't play well in embedded or cloud environments...