Thursday, September 28, 2006

What is all this about?

Business Objects wishes to establish dialogue with researchers, teaching staff and the software community at large regarding a technology, code-named Quark, that has been developed in its Research Group since 1999. To this effect, announcements have been made on some special interest group mailing lists, and some early information about Quark has been made available. Further information is being prepared, and we are hoping to make the actual software available soon, under an 'early access' style license (no support). The purpose of such consultation is to establish whether Quark is of sufficient interest to various parties to warrant its proper release as some form of 'software libre', and/or whether there is interest in collaboration on further development.

Quark is a framework for the definition and execution of functional components on the Java platform. The motivation for this was the ability to create certain kinds of business logic as reusable, dynamically composable pieces. These discrete units of composable logic are called "Gems", and these can be created with a number of developer tools, or generated programmatically under the control of a Java application. Gems compile on-the-fly to very efficient Java bytecode, and can be used in a regular Java program with considerable flexibility. The side-effect of focusing on our specific goals then, has been the creation of a high-performance, general purpose functional language, having tight integration with the Java platform and language.

As we are at the very beginning of the rollout of information to the community, there may be frequent further announcements. To avoid too many update posts to mailing lists, and to encourage some more specific and lengthy discussion on Quark, this blog has been set up. This might be a temporary home for such discussion, but should allow an exchange of information and ideas to begin quickly.

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