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The Struggle To Keep Java Relevant 667

snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister questions Oracle's ability to revive interest in Java in the wake of Oracle VP Jeet Kaul's announcement at EclipseCon that he would 'like to see people with piercings doing Java programming.' 'If Kaul is hoping Java will once again attract youthful, cutting-edge developers, as it did when it debuted in 1995, [Kaul] may be in for a long wait,' McAllister writes. 'Java has evolved from a groundbreaking, revolutionary language platform to something closer to a modern-day version of Cobol.' And, as McAllister sees it, 'Nothing screams "get off my lawn" like a language controlled by Oracle, the world's largest enterprise software vendor. The chances that Java can attract the mohawks-and-tattoos set today seem slimmer than ever.'"
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The Struggle To Keep Java Relevant

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  • Groovy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:39PM (#31712712)

    THe thing that makes me think Java has a huge path forward is groovy.

    in theory groovy has all the advantage python has and more. Plus unlike python it has a path forward to a statically typed quasi compiled and generally close-to-c speed when you need it without much effort.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Jurily ( 900488 )

      Java got drowned in four letter acronyms on top of yet another layer of XML. I say let it die.

      • Re:Groovy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:24AM (#31713894) Journal

        The history of Java is very instructive for any aspiring professional coder.

        Management: Damn these irreplaceable "programmers"! Look at their goddamn salaries. We need to standardize technology, remove the sharp edges, and train people who understand! Sun has got the thing.

        Programmers: Heh. We're going to be spinning out gotta-haveit ETLA frameworks faster than your Indian developers can say 'Yes sir! Right away sir!". Good luck with that. Now bend over and take another load of XML. *cracks-knuckles*

        Live by the marketing hype, die by the marketing hype, Sun Java.


      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Would you prefer not to have name spaces? C is pretty crap you know. "import" is pretty easy in Java too.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Namespaces are useful, and custom namespaces cut down on a lot of the clutter in Java, but they shouldn't be necessary for basic functionality. The way I see it (YMMV, of course) K&R C provides pretty much the functionality that any language should have as part of the core language spec; if I can do something in n characters in C but it takes me 10n characters to do it in some newer and supposedly better language, I'm hard-pressed to consider that an improvement.

          • by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:25AM (#31713366) Homepage

            Uhuh... so you determine language quality by the terseness of it's text.


            Well, you have fun writing your terse programs with inexplicably named, but I'm sure very compact, variable and function names, while the rest of us move on to writing code other people can actually, you know, read and understand while putting up with the horrible hardship of having to type a little bit more.

            Oh, and BTW, any language that has namespaces has an import keyword. Maybe you should try it out sometime.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by forkazoo ( 138186 )

              Uhuh... so you determine language quality by the terseness of it's text.


              It's certainly not a complete measure of a language, but they are certainly worse ways to look at it. Java has some inconveniences, like famously deep class hierarchies which lead to very long lines of code. OTOH, Java has support for generics, and some inherent safety mechanisms which would need to be handled manually in C. In C, it's normal to have a set of similarly named functions that operate on floats, doubles, int,

          • by ardor ( 673957 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @06:23AM (#31714460)

            No. K&R C lacks the following things:
            * first class functions, lambda, closures
            * comprehensions
            * coroutines
            * proper generics/templates (no, macros are _not_ a replacement)
            * painless string handling
            * module system
            * namespaces
            * reflection
            * support for common oop patterns and tools, like class definitions, dynamic dispatch etc. it has to be manually constructed, which is quite time consuming

            Now, of course it is a valid point that these things do not necessarily belong in C. It is a system programming language, after all. But these features are very important for other domains, such as application development. Right tool for the right job, please. C is _not_ the shiny hammer, and not everything is a nail.

    • Re:Groovy (Score:5, Funny)

      by simoncpu was here ( 1601629 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:13AM (#31713294)
      I was about to mod you funny when I realized that "groovy" is a programming language, not something that describes Java.

      Oh well, I also realized that I'm starting to grow my own lawn...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Maybe he's barking up the wrong tree. The best young programmers I know don't have any piercings or tattoos that I can see.

    I have no data to support this, but I have always thought the best of the tech crowd were too busy being into their tech to get into the body modification scene. I don't think this is different now than it was 30 years ago.

    On the other hand, there's a lot I can't see (and in many cases, thank goodness!)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Unoti ( 731964 )
      I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you don't live or work in the San Francisco area.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Alex Belits ( 437 ) *

        I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you don't live or work in the San Francisco area.

        I do, and STILL the best programmers I know have neither piercings nor tattoos.
        Attention whores with dubious amount of talent, on the other hand...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Trepidity ( 597 )

        I do, and don't see much of that from top coders. If you go to cultural events like SuperHappyDevHouse, meetups at the Hacker Dojo, etc., there are a handful of mohawked/pierced types, but not many. Maybe up in SF proper (as opposed to Silicon Valley) there are more, but I haven't seen 'em.

        Now if you're talking web designers, yeah, there's lots of those.

    • by spiffmastercow ( 1001386 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:08AM (#31712900)
      I have tattoos, and I used to have piercings. I'm also a damn good coder. I seriously doubt the two are related.
      • by keeboo ( 724305 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @04:26AM (#31714080)

        I have tattoos, and I used to have piercings.

        According to people with piercings and tatoos that is "+4 Insightful".

        I'm also a damn good coder.

        Thanks for your unbiased opinion.

        I seriously doubt the two are related.

        I seriously doubt a person who uses him/herself as a positive example to prove a point.

        • by spiffmastercow ( 1001386 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @09:41AM (#31715322)
          I'm often amazed at the level of hostility on /. to anyone who claims they are good at what they do. In comparison to the programmers/developers/software engineers/architects/whatever title inflation demands a coder be called, I'm pretty good. And I should be, since I've been coding for 15 years. Judging someone's coding ability based on their appearance is utterly retarded, as is believing in stupid rules like 'only people who suck at something will claim to be good at it'.
  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:53PM (#31712794) Homepage

    Someone emulating the punk movement of 40 years ago is "cutting edge"? If that's his idea of "cutting edge, hot talent", he needs to stop thinking he's in the movie "hackers" and he's looking for Angelina Jolie. Associating dress or style with talent is stupid no matter if it's "you wear a suit, you're smart" or "you've got 3 piercings and drive a crotch rocket you're the next big thing"

    Demanding innovation never works. Innovation just happens from a need, not a demand from some Oracle guy who desires it and thinks it'll be good for marketing. There are interesting things happening in Java. Scala is certainly interesting. I haven't used it myself, but I'd love to try it if I had a good project to use it in.

    • by anomalous cohort ( 704239 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:45AM (#31713126) Homepage Journal

      It's no longer language constructs, data structures, or algorithms that are cutting edge. Innovation has moved on to more fertile pastures. Yes, those who build software tools, libraries, IDEs, and compilers will continue to innovate. They have and will continue to come up with some brilliant stuff. But cutting edge developers don't pick a shop because they write in groovy or whatever the language-de-jeur is. Cutting edge developers go where they believe the next killer app is going to be born.

      The best developers are multi-lingual. They don't identify with a single programming language. They're not VB developers or Java developers or even Rails developers. They can pick up any language/library/environment quickly. They don't really get off on curly braces versus colons. What feeds the best developers is the challenge of world domination through innovation.

      Change the world, right?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Vellmont ( 569020 )

        It's no longer language constructs, data structures, or algorithms that are cutting edge. Innovation has moved on to more fertile pastures. Yes, those who build software tools, libraries, IDEs, and compilers will continue to innovate.

        Hmm.. language conststructs, data structures, or even algorithms are simply much harder to innovate in since they're so basic to software.. but I just don't agree there's no innovation happening in these areas. It just happens with less frequency because it's harder. The pa

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jez9999 ( 618189 )

        whatever the language-de-jeur is

        I believe you mean language-du-jour.

  • um (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:55PM (#31712806)

    um google app engine? spring? android? gwt? groovy?

    Please it's evolving and even finding new uses.

    All those "java is going to die" people are silly and not grounded in reality. Plenty of talented developers see its power and use it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jurily ( 900488 )

      All those "COBOL is going to die" people are silly and not grounded in reality. Plenty of talented developers see its power and use it.

  • by ilmdba ( 84076 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:01AM (#31712844)
    piercings and mohawks somehow make someone 'cutting edge' or a better coder?  i think not.

    good developers will follow the jobs.

    i'll save you the trip to, here are some search results from there:

    search  results
    ------  -------
    java    5000+
    .net    4581
    c++     3706
    c#      3369
    perl    2569
    python  1035
    ruby    547
    cobol   286

    - 5000 is apparently the limit for the number of results a query can provide at (weak) so there are most likely far more that 5000 java jobs in their database
    - couldn't figure out how to search for C reliably, but it's probably up over 5000 as well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hurricane78 ( 562437 )

      Actually, if you look at smaller data sets (regional ones), and data from other job sites that have language categories, you will notice, that Java tops out even C by a good bit.

    • by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:23AM (#31713352) Homepage

      - 5000 is apparently the limit for the number of results a query can provide at (weak) so there are most likely far more that 5000 java jobs in their database

      Yeah. Apparently their java-based search engine runs out of memory at around 5000 results....

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by noidentity ( 188756 )

        Yeah. Apparently their java-based search engine runs out of memory at around 5000 results....

        It's evolved beyond those other languages that don't limit population growth, and later crash due to overconsumption.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by _newwave_ ( 265061 )
        Actually, it's a cached page from google, because this stupid end user (aka, comment author) didn't have the sense that the JVM takes 5 hours to start and set is browser timeout settings appropriately. the last time this article was actually worked it stopped at 5k results when the dinosaur that "engineered" it thought that 10 minutes of up-time with results he liked meant that the http request to MSSQL Reporting worked.
    • Eheh (Score:3, Insightful)

      And you are aware most job offerings tend to take the kitchensink approach? "Lets include every word we ever read and then demand 4 years experience with it. iPAd, senior engineer!".

      Also (java) matches javascript.

      I know you are blowing smoke because PHP is not listed. Oversight or some other reason?

      Oh and wouldn't your query also match "Need highly skilled X developer who knows enough Java to migrate us away from the steaming pile of crap?".

      Or indicate that there are no good Java developers to be found?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by _newwave_ ( 265061 )
      No, GOOD developers will follow the GOOD jobs. Now try resorting the list by both the average quality of job and the most elegant syntax offered to do just that with the given language.
  • JVM keeping it alive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by godofredo ( 198906 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:05AM (#31712864)

    Java will remain relevant because of the large number of languages being built for the JVM: scala, erjang, clojure, groovy etc. Thus writing libraries in java has significant appeal.


  • by jason.sweet ( 1272826 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:05AM (#31712870)

    like to see people with piercings doing Java programming.

    The amount of drugs involved in the decision to get said piercings is not conducive to good software engineering.

  • by grepya ( 67436 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:08AM (#31712898)

    The problem with Java today is... it's syntax looks too much like C. And as everybody knows, C is for geezers. Can't we write java code as follows:

    <if_block>walkFaster </if_block>

      Once the java manufacturing association fixes the syntax to my satisfaction, I'd give up on my 10 GL super auto functional metaprogrammers language (Saufml) and start writing java code. Until then, I'll keep working on my latest NoSql data-store for my soon to be mobile-social-media-empire (leveraging P2P crowd-sourcing) in my beloved Saufml.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by travisb828 ( 1002754 )
      To get buy in from the geezers, you should get in the habit of formatting your code. It makes things easier to read, and it just looks more professional. CamelCase also is helpful in improving readability, and to enforce proper code formatting you should make formatting part of the syntax.

      Doesn't this look so much nicer? I almost forgot. You will need a declaration.

      <?saufml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
  • by hedrick ( 701605 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:08AM (#31712910)
    Java isn't about to become irrelevant. There's no chance it's going to be the latest thing, because that opportunity only comes once. But if you want a language for doing major projects with long lifetimes, there's really Java, .NET and C++. For a lot of things, Java or .NET makes more sense, and realistically .NET limits you to Windows. For that class of things, the limiting factor in Java now is that Sun does't support the same range of APIs that MS does. Particularly desktop APIs needed for things like multimedia and games. If I wanted to make Java as useful as possible I'd put some manpower into that, and find ways to put some of the newer interpreted languages on top of the Java JVM. That would give them access to a good compiler and to the range of packages available in Java. (Despite a more limited set of APIs than .NET, there's still more than a newer language would otherwise have available.)
    • by TheTurtlesMoves ( 1442727 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:30PM (#31716912)
      Despite what a lot of people think. The games market on PC/servers etc is pretty small. Sun was wise not to push it really. For games you would need Xbox..etc to support a jvm for it to really make sense. And that will not happen for a number of reasons.

      However there is lwjgl (opengl/openal binding for java), and most common higher level languages can run on top of a JVM these days. (Jython, JScheme, Kawa, lua, ....)
  • by neiras ( 723124 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:11AM (#31712922)

    I make a lot of money working with Java. I have piercings. I've been known to have hair in a primary color.

    Seriously though. Android applications. Eclipse. Adsense, GMail, Wave - in fact, just about every big Google web application (yes, even the client side stuff is written in Java and translated to Javascript []). Openfire XMPP. Tomcat. Geronimo. ActiveMQ. Azureus.

    You can badmouth Java all you want, but performance and tooling are excellent and there seems to be an infinite supply of libraries and sample code. It runs in lots of different places. There are 100% open source implementations. You can compile it to native code. You can run it in the CLR.

    I know it's trendy to play with Ruby and Python, and that's fine. I'm a big fan of Scala, which runs on the JVM. I believe Twitter's backend is at least partially built on Scala []. El Reg, I know, I know.

    Anyone who thinks Java is fossilizing needs to give their head a shake. It's everywhere, and it's being used in very diverse ways.

    If that doesn't excite this mythical "pierced programmer", then said idiot is too busy practicing the Hipster Doctrine - studied disinterest.

    • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:47AM (#31713140) Homepage

      I just recently got a job at an all-Java shop. I might, if I feel the need, write a shell script or two. From what I can tell, Java's still accepted in the "real world", but it doesn't have the hype it used to.

      Java's Big Thing was its ability to be written once, and run on VMs on any platform. That advantage was promptly killed by the rise of AJAX and all its cross-platform happiness. The same buzz Java once enjoyed is now held by cloud computing, for much the same reason: it allows programmers to write something once, and not worry about the future as much. As languages have progressed, we've consistently moved away from hardware-specific details. Today, I see Java as a sort of middle ground between using the "edgy but immature" languages like Python, and the "old but crusty" languages like C and C++. It has enough libraries and tie-in packages that any modern technology can be easily implemented.

      Programmers today don't want to (and shouldn't need to) deal with memory allocation, pointers math, or any such arcane matters. They also don't want to have to refactor as their chosen language tries to stabilize itself. This is why C rose to such prominence. It allowed programmers to stay away from the processor. Java currently allows programmers to stay away from the operating system. Eventually, I expect we'll move toward even more abstract languages, where we just need to specify what we want, and the compiler (or something) will figure out the steps needed to reach that goal. It'll be an automatic software engineer, just as compilers are automatic replacements for the grad students who used to translate programs into machine code.

      Here's to the future, where I, too, will be obsolete.

  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:14AM (#31712956) Journal

    I remember taking a long, hard look at the state of various VMs awhile back, and here's what I came up with: .NET isn't a bad design, but it's entirely controlled by Microsoft.
    Rotor doesn't change that at all.
    Mono changes it a little, but Mono (at least back then) wasn't really a great platform in its own right -- not enough tools, not enough reason to use it, always playing catch-up. Plus, there's the whole patent issue.
    On top of all of that, it was never really designed to be cross-platform, and instead seems to be primarily aimed at creating native apps.

    The various "scripting" languages have been moving towards VM architectures, and some are quite good, but none that I know of actually feature any kind of ahead-of-time compilation, even to bytecode. That includes Perl, Python, Ruby, JavaScript, and plenty of others.

    Lisps are better, but they generally don't compile to an intermediate form -- if they compile at all, it's to something platform-specific, likely machine code.

    Smalltalk is interesting, but is even more closed off than Java, and basically requires an entirely different set of tools for working with. It's not really designed to work as a text-based language.

    The closest would seem to be Erlang, but it's radically different. While I know of at least one other language trying to target the Erlang VM, it's something that's really designed to work with Erlang. I'm also not entirely sure if the performance is there.

    LLVM looks very, very good, but very few languages actually target it, beyond, say, C. It seems to be targeting runtime optimizations, not portability.

    I probably looked at a few others I'm forgetting now...

    Basically, the top two are still Java and .NET. Both present a VM that supports multiple real languages. In Java, this is by accident, it's hackish, but there are plenty of robust, mature languages other than Java which target it -- Scala, Groovy, Clojure, JRuby... In .NET, this is by design, but the more interesting other languages targeting it seem to be in an alpha state.

    So Java is pretty much it. And it means we can take our fun, dynamic languages, and (eventually) compile them to Java bytecode, and create entirely cross-platform apps with no local dependencies other than Java. It means we get much of the work that's been put into optimizing Java for free -- for example, the Java garbage collector. It also means that even when designing a native app, well, Ruby just got threads in 1.9, and there's still a GIL, so no support for multicore. Python has and probably will always have a GIL. JRuby has had real, native Java threads almost as long as it's existed. Ruby has plenty of options for concurrency, but if you want to take advantage of multicore, your options are either JRuby or a unix fork(), and Ruby's GC is not COW-friendly, so fork() is potentially much more expensive than in other languages.

    I don't know if Java is the way forward. I hope someone builds something cool on top of LLVM. I certainly hope Java the language dies. But the JVM is about the best we have in terms of open-source, cross-platform, compile-once-run-anywhere VMs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by devent ( 1627873 )

      I don't get it, why you want the java language to die? I programming Java now for 4 years and the only thing I'm missing are closures.

      The core of Java is very robust, you have class, enums and interfaces. Generics are do what they are suppose to do (and they are backwards compatible). Threading is integrated in the Java with synchronized and the threading API. In addition, Java have neat features like annotations and anonymous classes.

      Reflection is very easy to use, but the exception model is perhaps debat

      • by u17 ( 1730558 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @08:33AM (#31714970)
        A couple of reasons why Java sucks:
        1. No proper support for namespaces (see my other comment [])
        2. No support for storing members in-place. If you want a Vector3d class, (i.e. an array of 3 doubles with an associated set of functions), and you want it to be fast, without referring to the members by pointers, you have to enumerate the members: {double x; double y; double z;}. If you wanted to have an array of doubles, you could only store a pointer to the array, and with an extra allocation: {double[] data = new double[3];}. For a Vector3d this is not so bad. But imagine the code for Matrix4x4d. This is a real shortcoming, if you look at Java3D, it actually uses a matrix with members defined like this: {double m00; double m01; double m02;... etc, 16 times}, instead of a double[][] array. If you do it this way then in functions you have to manually unroll loops, you can't just iterate over the values.
        3. No support for proper templates. The "generics" are only syntactic sugar. You can't have something like template <int N, int M> Matrix<N, M> for faster code. ArrayList<int> doesn't work. When you write "arraylist of integers", you expect an object with a tightly packed array if ints. But the only way to do this in Jave is to box them, and if you do, think of the waste: the array actually holds pointers and each Integer is separately, individually allocated. Additionally, each Integer not only holds an int, but also a mutex, which leads to the next problem.
        4. Every object has a mutex. WTF? Why endure such a huge waste, why increase the size of every object, when only very few of their mutexes are actually used?
        5. No operator overloading. OK, this can be abused like everthing else, but when you're working with a custom number class or with BigInteger, you don't want to clutter your code with method names that represent operators.
        6. No unsigned types. Of course there are conversion issues when mixing signed/unsigned in expressions. Normally you're fine with just signed, but what about, say, file formats that have uint64_t in them? Should you store them in BigIntegers?
        7. The standard library is a mess. They keep putting more and more stuff into it, never deprecating anything, and the result is pretty bad in many places. The library is over-engineered and in many places the implementation shines through the interface. They keep shooting themselves in the foot by having to maintain crap code like Swing for eternity. Coding in Swing is horrible when compared to, say, Gtk.
        8. Missing lambda functions/closures, 'nuff said
        9. No function pointers. This leads to one-function interfaces which only clutter your code whenever you use them.
        10. No typedefs. Especially when using generics, you don't want to type Map<String, List<Integer>> all the time, you want to type MyFancyMap instead.

        There are more things, these are just those that irk me most. I love the idea of applets, webstart, and portable bytecode, and I'd love to see Java succeed, but the language is so badly done I can't see this happening.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        If Java get closures, what are you missing in Java?

        Others have listed other reasons, but let's see...

        It's statically typed. Understand, I don't mind strict typing (Ruby is strictly typed), I just get annoyed at having to declare variable types all the time.

        The generics is a mess -- as u17 says, it's a hack, and it's also incredibly difficult to understand, and requires a lot of heavy thinking and planning about types and interfaces. Compare to what you get for free from a language like Ruby.

        And most of that mess is in the name of backwards compatibility. Ex

    • by Just Brew It! ( 636086 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:58AM (#31713196)
      Google has been working on a version of Python that targets LLVM [] instead of the Python bytecode interpreter. They're also planning to attempt to tackle the GIL issue, but that may be wishful thinking...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by deblau ( 68023 )

      Perl has bytecode []. Yes, it's experimental, but I've played with it and it works.

  • by Marrow ( 195242 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:29AM (#31713036)

    Ok, so they want to get the love back and show that java is still relevant. Maybe they want some people to expand their skillsets and add java to their toolbox. Well I thought, lets see how heavy this thing has become. I found the necessary magic words to install it on ubuntu from apt. And then: SPLAT! Upon trying to install it, I get this very unfriendly looking licensing message during the install!

    Sun is willing to let you install this under the condition that you accept the terms of this 15 PAGE! licensing agreement! In order to install, you must accept the terms, do you accept the DLJ license terms? YES or NO?

    If you say NO, then the installation -crashes- and you get prompted again, in a loop asking you to accept the terms again! Ok, after 3 declines, it bails out completely.

    You know what? I dont remember that kind of love when I installed PYTHON. Maybe this is what they mean by tough love.

  • by hedrick ( 701605 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:42AM (#31713104)

    What they had better NOT do: treat it like Solaris. You're only allowed to use it in production if you have support, and the only support they sell is a site license which costs $25 * the number of people in your company + the number of users for your application.

    I'm not being entirely silly. I have an application for which I would have been willing to pay for Java support. But the only support Sun would sell us (late 2009, when they had already started Oraclizing) was an unreasonably expensive site-wide support contract.

  • Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Foredecker ( 161844 ) * on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:47AM (#31713144) Homepage Journal

    This question is ask as if Java is somehow imporant in and of itself. It isnt. Neither is perl, or PHP, Phython or gasp - C++ or even C. Throw C#, F# and VB into that group as well.

    These are tools. We (as in devleopers) should simply use the right tool for the job. If thats Java - then okey-dokey. If its C#, then groovy, if its C++ then thats ok to. Hey, I still use assembly language for a few things.

    Do real engineering work folks! Pick the right tools for the job based on the business and technical requirements.


    • by shaka ( 13165 )

      If thats Java - then okey-dokey.
      If its C#, then groovy, if its C++ then thats ok to.

      This doesn't make sense. If Java is the right tool, then I should use "okey-dokey", if C# is the right tool, I should use Groovy, and if C++ is the right tool (is it ever, though?) then it would be ok to use Thats?

  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:03AM (#31713224)

    As far as I know, pretty much every “enterprise” server software still in written in Java, and hence the developer base is gigantic. I mean just look at the job offers. 9 out of 10 say Java, the last time I looked.

    What is he talking about?? Does he even know anything about what he is supposed to manage?

  • Lemmings (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:13AM (#31713298) Homepage

    I was just by the Apple Store in Palo Alto, CA. There are people lined up for the iPad launch, some sleeping in tents. Three TV stations are covering the waiting line. Reminds me of Apple's "Lemmings' video. []

    Actually, the state of the art in programming languages still sucks. The mindset that "it has to be unsafe to go fast" is so deeply entrenched in the C/C++ community that fixable problems aren't fixed, and as a result, millions of programs still crash every day. The "virtual machine" thing has resulted in ".NET", a virtual machine for x86 only. The "scripting language" approach is useful, but fanatical late-binding coupled with naive interpreters makes for very slow execution, as with Python. Few mainstream languages do concurrency well; the notion that concurrency is the operating system's problem results in pain for all concerned.

    Looked at that way, Java isn't bad. Memory safety is good. There are efficient compilers. There's some language support for concurrency. It's not too weird, and not too theoretical. Java is mediocre, but better than most of the alternatives when you need to get large amounts of work done.

  • Young developers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:35AM (#31713414) Homepage Journal

    Java attracted the young developers because more experienced ones had already watched the "new next thing" come and go too many times to be blinded by the hype. Many of them realized that the whole bytecode, write once run anywhere was done in 1969 (p-code) and that if those hyping Java didn't know that, they didn't have enough experience to know if it was good or not. If they did know that then they were liars. Of course, the p-code interpreter fit on a single sided floppy with room to spare and ran acceptably on a 6502....

    It is amazing to me the way the hype machine strapped JATOs on that pig and sorta made it fly, but that can only last so long.

    Now with Java in the clutches of the enterprise people who are the leading source of anti-cool, it doesn't stand a chance.

    • Re:Young developers (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @09:24AM (#31715200)

      Java got off because of several reasons, system became so complex and distributed that C++ simply was a sure tool to make such a project fail, and java was very simple back then but could pull off things which C++ was not able to in a decent matter of time only with a few locs.

      The other issue was Smalltalk, ParcPlace single handedly killed with a stupid business move the entire Smalltalk market, they bought the most popular Smalltalk vendor on the PC side, Digitalk promised to unify their apis and the Digitalk ones and what happened was that they killed digitalk never fullfilled their promise, it did not help either that Digitalk was the cheap kid on the block why ParcPlaces Smalltalk did cost a fortune. Add to that some infighting at ParcPlace which drove important people away and a load of Smalltalk programming companies gotten burned and you had the perfect fiasco, which even IBM with their Smalltalk could not fix anymore.

      Java was just heavens sent for those companies, while not as powerful as Smalltalk and in its infancy, it was the perfect next choice.
      Funny thing is, that Smalltalk already had most things in place which languages like Ruby etc... try now to achieve, but in my opinion in a leaner and more thought out manner.

  • by basiles ( 626992 ) <> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:31AM (#31713696) Homepage
    I believe what would be significant is to improve the JVM bytecode, to add some additional instructions. Tail-recursive calls is an example. There are some others. If the JVM specification was improved (and implemented by Oracle & other major JVM sources), several new languages (or language feature) could flourish. And the important part is not the Java language; it is the JVM. Better languages (Clojure, Scala) can be implemented for the JVM, and if the JVM was improved, even better languages could be experimented, all able to use the legacy of Java. Regards.
  • Modern-day COBOL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @05:21AM (#31714242) Homepage

    'Java has evolved from a groundbreaking, revolutionary language platform to something closer to a modern-day version of Cobol'

    So Java has gone from immature, constantly changing and buggy to stable, reliable and fast? I can see how that would be a problem for somebody that wants to attract unexperienced scriptkiddies to a programming language.

  • The whole point (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @06:02AM (#31714386) Journal

    Java has evolved from a groundbreaking, revolutionary language platform to something closer to a modern-day version of Cobol.

    The whole reason why Java enjoys the widespread popularity that it has is precisely because of that. Most projects aren't made by "trendy" guys in a basement somewhere - they're made by corporations, most of them not exactly small, who value predictability and the peace of mind that comes with it over new & trendy.

    The advantage of Java there is that it is a well-known quantity, and it has been in that state for a while, with few changes. There are many development tools, all top-notch, with code editing features unmatched by IDEs for any other language. There is a huge amount of useful code in third-party libraries, most of them under liberal (free, non-copyleft) licenses. There is a large workpool, and it's going to remain that way for some time to go.

    There's nothing wrong with that. It's a niche that has to be filled, and Java is doing remarkably well in doing so. Don't fix what's not broken.

    And in the meantime, the trendy guys always have Groovy, Scala etc to play with.

  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @06:14AM (#31714434)

    Java (specifically J2EE with an Oracle or similar database back-end) seems to be second only to .NET/ASP.NET/C#/VB.NET with SQL Server in terms of jobs I see when I look on the job sites here in Australia.

    Plus Java is still the #1 mobile language. Not just on Android but on the 1000s of feature phones out there running various incompatible versions of J2ME for applications (I have owned 3 feature phones, all of which have supported Java apps in some form)

    Java on the desktop is dead (if it was ever anything but stillborn in the first place). Java for client side web development died and got replaced with ActiveX, Flash and other technologies.

    But Java in the enterprise and mobile spaces is far from dead.

    If anything, Oracle should be pushing J2EE even harder (Oracle is the dominant choice of database to use alongside J2EE)

  • Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kaffiene ( 38781 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @09:27AM (#31715226)

    Who cares if Java is cool or not? It's getting a lot of actual work done. In fact, there's a crap load more stuff getting done in Java than Ruby or 'The Cloud' or whatever is supposed to be cool these days. In the end, 'coolness' has absolutely no engineering benefits whatsoever.

    The fact that Java has lasted as long as it has and is as prevalent as it is now is testament to its ability to GetShitDone(tm). ...along with a lot of other useful languages which are useful regardless of whether some hack or slashdot group-think thinks it's trendy or not.

  • by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @10:04AM (#31715456) Homepage Journal

    Java is not and never has been groundbreaking and revolutionary. All the features people used to tout about Java back in the day were things that existed before it. A lot of smart people have poured a lot of effort in research related to Java, and the platform has grown stronger as a result, but even most of that seems to be just re-implementing existing ideas for Java.

    However, that by no means implies that Java isn't relevant. It has certainly taken the software world by storm, and, as far as I can see, Java is still going strong. People are taking Java courses left and right, either to learn it for the first time or to deepen their understanding. There are so many Java projects that it's hard to find something for those in our company who would prefer to use something else. Even with .NET being backed by a company whose products usually get adopted as a matter of course, I don't see nearly as much demand for .NET knowledge as for Java. Java irrelevant? It sure doesn't seem that way to me.

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