Apt and Extensible Programming

Over in the java.net community forums, Bruce Chapman suggests that we deprecate javac in the next major Java release. Yup, that's right: no more javac. Instead, he suggests that we all start using apt, which allows developers to run their own code inside the compiler. As he says, "Do you want a compiler error when you implement an interface and the javadocs say that implementations must have a public default constructor, and yours doesn't? Well apt [can] do that..." It's a pretty cool idea. It's also a perfect example of the kind of extensible tools that I think are going to dominate programming in the years to come. If I'd read it a week earlier, I would have mentioned it in my extensible programming article, which has just gone off to ACM Queue. Maybe I can throw it in as a late footnote...
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