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Java Culture Update

Scott Mark leaves a fun comment on Steve’s post about mashupcamp:

Sounds like Java “got served” at this conference – what do you make of the fact that Java doesn’t feature in mashups? Is it too stodgy of a platform for this culture? Does it just not lend itself well enough to cool and efficient feed parsing from the presentation tier?

Or maybe large enterprises where Java has it’s hold just wouldn’t cough up to send their devs to mashup camp? 🙂

To cater to those of you, dear readers, who long for shorter posts, I’ll bullet my thoughts. Given that, some context and fat will be missing:

Stuck in the Country Club

All that said, my feel is that the bright Java people out there want more, they’re just stuck in a Java rut, largely due to the getting paid point above. Java is a huge success, and it’s not going away or “dying.” I love Java and could code in it all day (I’d get pissed when I couldn’t deploy my apps on my web servers, though). But, once you’re not hungry anymore, you slow down the search for new ways of doing things.

Multi-lingual Programming

As I’ve said before, I’m very interested in the idea of using the VM as a platform for a multi-lingual environment. The development style would be similar to the fine art of Unix programming, except with the VM and dynamic languages instead of unix and command line programs. My long-time podcasting buddy and good friend Charles has been doing interesting work along those lines, and hopefully once he ships, we’ll have something else to point to along those lines.

Disclaimer: of the companies and people mentioned, only Sun is a client.

Categories: Programming, The New Thing.

Comment Feed

10 Responses

  1. I think your comments about Java are on the money. I do Java for work, but if I want to do something for fun, I rarely turn to Java because I want to learn something new that I can run on my web host easily. Also, I think Java has evolved into something that is great for easily maintained large-scale systems, which things like PHP are not as good at, and PHP is good at quick results without the maintainability. Sure, there are probably some counter examples (if you have motivated developers, anything is possible!) but the overall feel is different. (Is Ruby a good trade-off? Only time, and the community, will tell.) I think Sun has not helped Java overcome this because of its (justified, to me) fear of upsetting enterprise developers, like in its design of generics – which is sad since upgrades to the new platform are already slow in most enterprises. Pushing Groovy through the JCP isn’t the answer, either, although encouraging more JVM-based languages is a nice idea to shake up the overall Java community. Getting back to the point, though – I think the Java community views a lot of the mashup stuff as toys at this point, and “real Java developers” don’t build toys. They build heavy-duty, scalable systems! And their employers only support heavy-duty conferences, too, I’m sure. 🙂

  2. Well done, Cote’ – I think you answered my questions. The digging holes comment resonates, and was my first suspicion (not quite so elegantly thought out, though).

    But I think this is the telling comment: “Java simply isn’t available in most affordable hosting plans”. That is not a cause, but rather the symptom of an underlying disease. Why isn’t Java offered? I think this really hints at the underlying platform issues that have led to the other effects you mentioned. Java is robust, but I wouldn’t call it easy.


  3. Hey, I have been doing Java for 8 years. I have been coming home every day and doing more of it. I am still happy doing this.

    I have looked at C#. It is a bad Java clone. No open source libraries to add so much power that just is not there in .Net yet…

    Vinay SoniFebruary 27, 2006 @ 10:37 am
  4. I have looked at C#. It is a bad Java clone.

    Then why does Sun keep on copying C# features?

    Dave LopezFebruary 27, 2006 @ 9:31 pm
  5. Then why does Sun keep on copying C# features?

    LISP! Both are copying LISP features. LISP is to programming languages as UNIX is to operating systems: all others eventually gravitate to the ONE TRUE WAY 🙂

    Joke ranting asside, I feel that the recent trend in dynamic languages can only be a good thing, and I'm pleased to see some of the features slowly but surely make their way into the mainstream OO/Procedural culture. It all looks good to me.

  6. Zimbra is Java

  7. Well, to be more precise, C# itself is copying or reusing features that have been around in languages like C++ (or Microsoft's VC++) and Visual Basic (including VBA) for quite a while.

    Just taking the dynamic typed for loop, or the varargs as 2 examples. Other features like strong typing, boxing, etc. were also around in those languages.

  8. I worked in the Java world for a few years right out of college (at IBM, on the WebSphere App Server Perf team) then switched to the ASP.NET/C# world (at One of the things that surprised me the most is the different mentality between the two camps. This is a (probably weak) generalization, but the J2EE camp seems to be very devoted to patterns, frameworks, and the like, while the ASP.Net camp isn't so much. After making the switch I spent some time trying to figure out what the ASP.Net equivalent of Struts & Tiles was, or what other frameworks were available for developing enterprise apps. The idea of getting a DataSet from SQLServer (using a stored procedure, not a prepared statement, no less) and slamming it right into an aspx page with a few formatting instructions was (and still is) abhorrent to me.

    This makes me wonder if the Java/J2EE mentality is perhaps a little anti-mashup. J2EE people tend not to 'mash' things up, they prefer to architect them. The idea of throwing something together using PHP (which seems to be what a lot of mashups are) is just not appealing, mostly because of the language. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see J2EE devs using Ruby-on-Rails for 'mashup' like projects because it provides a clean OO language and a MVC framework that can be hosted cheaper than a JVM.

    Anyway, great entry.

  9. Friend,

    Grow up. You guys need to learn something from the Ruby and Pythin guys. I used build custom web sites and web applications in Java taking couple of months to build those. Now I do it in less than 10 days, after moviung to Django and RoR.

    Java sucks in big way, C# is worser. It is a losing battle. Trust me in 3 years time you will still work on Java platform, but will code in Jython, JRuby or Groovie.

    Mark my words

  10. Dave: I like it. Dynamic languages on-top of the VM. Money!