Amazon may have just released the most confusingly named product to date, especially if you’re a Java developer.
At AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas, Amazon announced mainstream availability of its compute service AWS Lambda. The big sell on it is that it can recognize and respond immediately to server-side events, performing functions and processing data as soon as something interesting happens. For example, if an end user uploads an image to the system, admins can configure AWS Lambda to create thumbnails images, perform facial recognition processes and save the results in Amazon S3. And of course, the whole thing comes with the standard Amazon promise of being able to access high-availability systems, run processes within a millisecond of the event being triggered – with efficiency and cost effectiveness built-in.
But here’s the problem: This new AWS Service shares its name with Project Lambda, the major Java initiative that brought functional programming to the JVM. As far as Java developers go, lambda is a concept that is tied very tightly with Java 8 and the evolution of the language. Of course, it’s not possible to call, “stamped it, no erasies” on the 11th letter of the Greek alphabet. So Amazon hasn’t done anything wrong, but it certainly is confusing for anyone that has done some Java programming in the past.
Looking at the sample code that is presented on their online tutorial, Java isn’t even promoted as the development language. In fact, the sample “HelloWorld” application uses Node.js, let alone Java with a lambda function thrown in for good measure.
It’s hard to believe Amazon was unaware that naming its service the same as one of the biggest things to happen to the Java language in 10 years wouldn’t cause confusion. But it’s not likely Amazon salespeople are targeting developers, so it should not hurt the service’s adoption. After all, it is no doubt an amazing service, especially if it can indeed pull together task scheduling, stream processing, data synchronization, and auditing and notification systems that running in the Amazon cloud. It’s just a shame that they had to give it such a clashing and confusing name.