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#19: GraalVM

GraalVM is a set of tools that aim to improve the performance and interoperability of Java Virtual Machine. Taking advantage of GraalVM not only makes your apps run faster. It also allows running different languages like JavaScript or Python with superb speed. GraalVM consists of quite a few projects, so let's dive in. The most groundbreaking technology is the JIT compiler. To recap, JIT is responsible for translating abstract bytecode into low-level machine code. JIT is the reason why Java is actually quite fast these days. Your code is compiled behind the scenes into heavily optimized CPU instructions. Unfortunately, this wonderful piece of software was buried deeply in Java VM. 


The JIT codebase in C++ turned out to be too complex to maintain anymore. So someone thought: what if we rewrite JIT compiler in Java? Sounds crazy. But as a matter of fact, JIT is essentially a pure function that takes bytecode as input and returning machine code as output. Byte array in, byte array out. That's how GraalVM was born. Now you can plug-in a JIT compiler written in Java to a JVM. Suddenly the codebase became much more maintainable and developer friendly. GraalVM's JIT compiler quickly outperformed legacy JIT compiler. Essentially it is now much easier to write optimized machine code generation. But it turned out this was just the beginning.

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