What is Polyglot Native?

Video overview of an ahead-of-time compiler for Java bytecode combined with a low-footprint VM
04 August


 Popular general-purpose programming language and computing platform

Execution of JVM-based programs uses bytecode loading and interpretation, just-in-time compilation, and monolithic heaps causes JVM-based programs to start-up slowly with a high memory footprint. In recent years, different projects were developed to address these issues:
ahead-of-time compilation for the JVM (JEP 295) improves on JVM startup time while Scala Native and Kotlin/Native provide language-specific solutions by compiling code with LLVM and providing language-specific runtimes.

Now Polyglot Native is presented an ahead-of-time compiler for Java bytecode combined with a low-footprint VM. With Polyglot Native, programs written in Kotlin, Scala, and other JVM-based languages have minimal startup time as they are compiled to native executables. Footprint of compiled programs is minimized by using a chunked heap and reducingnecessary program metadata.

In this talk, you will see:

  • the architecture of Polyglot Native and compare it to existing projects.
  • live-demo of a project that compiles code from Kotlin, Scala, Java, and C into a single binary executable.
  • intricacies of interoperability between Polyglot Native and C.

String concatenation implementation in Java 9

Guide on String concatenation implementation in Java 9 with code examples 
17 October

For a start, let's see how string concatenation was implemented in old versions. The "old" way output a bunch of StringBuilder-oriented operations. Let's check this code:

public class Example {
    public static void main(String[] args)
        String result = args[0] + "-" + args[1] + "-" + args[2];

If we compile that with JDK 8 or earlier and then use javap -c Example to see the bytecode, we see something like this:

public class Example {
  public Example();
       0: aload_0
       1: invokespecial #1                  // Method java/lang/Object."<init>":()V
       4: return

  public static void main(java.lang.String[]);
       0: new           #2                  // class java/lang/StringBuilder
       3: dup
       4: invokespecial #3                  // Method java/lang/StringBuilder."<init>":()V
       7: aload_0
       8: iconst_0
       9: aaload
      10: invokevirtual #4                  // Method java/lang/StringBuilder.append:(Ljava/lang/String;)Ljava/lang/StringBuilder;
      13: ldc           #5                  // String -
      15: invokevirtual #4                  // Method java/lang/StringBuilder.append:(Ljava/lang/String;)Ljava/lang/StringBuilder;
      18: aload_0
      19: iconst_1
      20: aaload
      21: invokevirtual #4                  // Method java/lang/StringBuilder.append:(Ljava/lang/String;)Ljava/lang/StringBuilder;
      24: ldc           #5                  // String -
      26: invokevirtual #4                  // Method java/lang/StringBuilder.append:(Ljava/lang/String;)Ljava/lang/StringBuilder;
      29: aload_0
      30: iconst_2
      31: aaload
      32: invokevirtual #4                  // Method java/lang/StringBuilder.append:(Ljava/lang/String;)Ljava/lang/StringBuilder;
      35: invokevirtual #6                  // Method java/lang/StringBuilder.toString:()Ljava/lang/String;
      38: astore_1
      39: getstatic     #7                  // Field java/lang/System.out:Ljava/io/PrintStream;
      42: aload_1
      43: invokevirtual #8                  // Method java/io/PrintStream.println:(Ljava/lang/String;)V
      46: return

As you can see, it creates a StringBuilder and uses append. This is famous fairly inefficient as the default capacity of the built-in buffer in StringBuilder is only 16 chars, and there's no way for the compiler to know to allocate more in advance, so it ends up having to reallocate. It's also a bunch of method calls. 

Let's look at what Java 9 generates:

public class Example {
  public Example();
       0: aload_0
       1: invokespecial #1                  // Method java/lang/Object."<init>":()V
       4: return

  public static void main(java.lang.String[]);
       0: aload_0
       1: iconst_0
       2: aaload
       3: aload_0
       4: iconst_1
       5: aaload
       6: aload_0
       7: iconst_2
       8: aaload
       9: invokedynamic #2,  0              // InvokeDynamic #0:makeConcatWithConstants:(Ljava/lang/String;Ljava/lang/String;Ljava/lang/String;)Ljava/lang/String;
      14: astore_1
      15: getstatic     #3                  // Field java/lang/System.out:Ljava/io/PrintStream;
      18: aload_1
      19: invokevirtual #4                  // Method java/io/PrintStream.println:(Ljava/lang/String;)V
      22: return

It makes a single call to makeConcatWithConstants from StringConcatFactory