As I have argued before, in IT everything is dead. That is- if its in production, its “dead”. When a commentator says Technology A is dead, they generally just mean its not an Apple or Google product. So what about Java, in light of Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, and the complete win of the web over everything else? What role can Java play in a world of dynamic languages?
According to Tim Bray:
“And finally, as a citizen primarily of the Web, I can’t help but notice that in recent years, its interesting bits (Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, 37 Signals, Ravelry) are largely not being built in Java.”
So the cool kids aren’t using Java. Or are they? One of the hottest trends in tech right now is NoSQL (If you’re a software developer get acquainted with it). Many of the hottest NoSQL technologies are written in Java.
MapReduce – one of the core technologies Google and Yahoo use for fast response times across large data sets is Java-based. A whole new industry ecosystem is growing around Hadoop, Apache’s MapReduce implementation. Ask our client Mike Olson from Cloudera if Java is dead. What about HBase? Java… Neo4J? Java. And so on. Of course we’re also seeing innovation from the new hotness – thus Erlang underpins CouchDB and RIAK. But Java is certainly core to the innovation. Lets look at RabbitMQ for example – which though written in Erlang was acquired by SpringSource as a messaging engine to underpin a Java-based programming model.
The Apache Software Foundation can hardly keep up with the pipeline of cool new technologies. Apache SOLR for large scale text search is of course Java-based. And so on.
NoSQL came from the web, but it willl find a natural home in the enterprise. The enterprise Java shop.
For a software stack that really isn’t in the NoSQL game I would say look at Microsoft .NET. myspace was one of the few major web properties built end to end on Microsoft technologies. In fact one wonders whether one reason myspace lost competitiveness with other web properties is because it had access to fewer cool technologies.
The irony of Bray’s argument is of course that Android – the part of Google that pays his salary, is also Java-based (well, pending the outcome of the Oracle suit anyway) and extremely innovative.
Anyway the point of this post is really just to riff on the data from simplyhired, as per the graph above. A 59% increase in bobs since January 2009? Not bad for a dead technology. Java has plenty of runway left and plenty of room for innovation.
disclosure: The ASF, Basho Technologies [RIAK], Cloudera, Microsoft and Neo4J are clients. Oracle is not but we have done work for them.