Whether you call it JDK 1.5 or 5.0, I had the pleasure this week of hearing a fantastic summary of the changes coming this fall to the core Java language. Even better, I got to hear it from two of the guys responsible for the changes, Joshua Bloch and Neal Gafter. They spoke earlier this week at the Denver Java Users Group. Their presentation slides are available on our web site.

Most people probably first learned about Joshua Bloch after his 2001 best-seller, Effective
. But Josh knows Java inside and out because he had been working on J2SE for years at Sun. Josh led the team behind the Java Collections Framework in Java 1.2 (you’ll find his name on dozens of @author tags in java.util), the assertions feature in Java 1.4, and many of the features coming in 1.5. Sun honored him recently for his work on Java by naming him a “distinguished engineer.” After completing changes for Java 1.5, Josh left Sun last month to become a principal engineer at Google.

Neal Gafter has developed and maintained the Java tools we use every day — javac, javadoc, javah, javap — and developed the JDK 5.0 language enhancements in these tools. Neal also is heading to Google as a software engineer.

Josh mentioned Wednesday that he was touched by being called the “mother” of Java by a poster on TheServerSide. The poster said if James Gosling is the “father” of Java, Josh should be considered the mother because of his nurturing of the Java language. With JDK 5, Josh and Neal have helped bring us significant enhancements to the language. Good luck at Google.

With their impressive resumes and Ph.D.’s, you’d expect these guys to have rock-star egos. But I got to have dinner with them after their presentation and was pleased to see that Josh and Neal are incredibly nice guys. When you talk to them, you can hear how much they care about Java and making it even better than it is today.

Thank you again, Josh and Neal, for your visit to Denver. I’m looking forward to your new book on Java puzzlers and Josh’s JDK 5 update to his Effective Java book. I hope to see you in Colorado next year for your book tour.

Try this: Type “Josh Bloch” or “Neal Gafter” into Google and what’s the first sponsored ad you see? “Google needs Java experts” or “Java jobs at Google.” Computer-generated algorithm? Or Google’s savvy marketing of its recent hiring of top Java talent?