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Make Room for JavaSpaces, Part I
Ease the Development of Distributed Apps with JavaSpaces
by Eric Freeman and Susan Hupfer
First Published in JavaWorld, November 1999

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Origins of JavaSpaces

We've described JavaSpaces as a new distributed computing model, but its origins can be traced back to Yale University in the early 1980s. There, Dr. David Gelernter developed a tool called Linda for creating distributed applications. Linda consists of a small number of operations combined with a persistent store called a tuple space. These operations are orthogonal to any particular programming language; they are part of a coordination language that can be added to any other computation language. The result of the Linda research was surprising: by using an object store along with a small number of simple operations, you can easily implement a large class of parallel and distributed problems using techniques that alleviate many of the pitfalls of building networked systems. In other words, space-based systems are not only simple (requiring only a few operations), but also expressive (lending themselves well to solving many distributed problems).

Dr. Gelernter's work inspired Sun's JavaSpaces service, and also influenced the design of the lookup and discovery components of the core Jini technology (which you'll see as the Jiniology series progresses). While JavaSpaces inherited the space model from Linda, the designers of JavaSpaces have updated the model in significant ways, leveraging the power of Java objects, Jini, RMI, and object serialization.

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