10 Years of Java… for what?

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Update (Dec 3): first should point out opinions expressed here I my own and I take responsibility for them – they are not Sitepoint’s or Maarten’s. In retrospect should have followed my first feeling and kept this opinion (which is all it is) to myself.

Last Wednesday evening hooked up with Maarten to open up Sitepoint’s Zurich office ;). Told Maarten about this amusing (to me) Java rant I was dying to post but figured it would generate too many bad vibes. But Maarten, as a fellow PHP fan, found it pretty amusing as well and told me to “Go for it!” – so blame him. In the spirit of kicking a man while he’s down (or calling in an airstike on your own position)…

Back in May this year, Javaworld was celebrating 10 years of Java. Since then Ruby on Rails has been generating much buzz, to the point where it’s got people talking about the death of Java.

That got me thinking “If Java dies, how will it be remembered by future generations?”. What is Java’s legacy? What Java applications will people still be using 20 years from now and saying “Wow – they really knew how to write code back then”?

Then it struck me – I can’t think of a single popular Java application that “everyone” (as in non-nerds) is using.

If you rule out tools for nerds, like Eclipse or [insert app server here] and web sites custom built in Java (vs. off the shelf web apps), what’s left?

If I restrict myself to “useful” (to real people) instead of “popular”, two (but only two) applications eventually spring to mind – Sitepoint’s own Editize and JAlbum.

Perhaps there’s something I’ve missed – this for example ( I found it as a result of writing this and searching Google for “java killer app” – never heard of it before ) but I’m not convinced. Where is Java’s killer app?.

For 10 years the IT industry has been swamped with Java marketing. We’ve had endless books, lawsuits, a ton of specs and a generation taught the “Java way” at University, priming them go on to sneering at experienced colleagues. And who knows how many $$$ have been burned?

All this begs a question: what the [insert expletives here] have you guys been doing?

[Remember - don't blame me - blame him]

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  • http://www.paulandmichelle.net lemkepf

    Azureus bittorent client. :)

  • kar1181

    Funny, that was the first thing I was thinking too.

    JEdit would be the only other Java app I couldn’t live without.

  • Oliver Dueck

    Teaching the “Java way” at universities means more people are learing OOP, and that is definitely a positive thing.

    Java also spawned a very useful (though infuriating) server side scripting language.

  • momos

    -Older developers write Cobol
    -Techie’s write C++
    -Companies write in .NET
    -Webdevelopers write PHP

    btw wasn’t Java created for things like dishwishers, toasters, ovens….

  • TheLunchBox

    This relates to an intertesting story.

    One of my company’s clients had a complete JSP based intranet site. They contacted us about making some updates, then about 3 months later they ask for a quote for a complete rebuild in PHP.

    It turns out that after three months of search for a developer, the found only a handful of Java guys, all of whom were asking more for updates than my company was asking for a complete rebuild in PHP.

  • Anonymously

    btw wasn’t Java created for things like dishwishers, toasters, ovens…

    I was thinking the same thing.

    Personally, I have never liked JAVA but the fact the it is writen for things like dishwishers, toasters, ovens, remotes, etc. is likely the reason it was able to work with the web in the first place.

    It really does span far with out having to write in some non-OO code…

  • http://www.lopsica.com BerislavLopac

    Teaching the “Java way” at universities means more people are learing OOP, and that is definitely a positive thing.

    Java and OOP? Don’t get me started. I just today discussed with a colleague how Java breaks the open-close principle with its private/protected access modifiers. And so on…

  • ajking

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t Zend Studio written in Java?

  • http://www.redflystudios.com Web Design Ireland

    Symbian. It powers millions of mobile phones and millions of other essential mobile applications.

    It’s all around us, we just need to look closer. And having a killer app is not a requirement of a language, functionality is.

  • http://www.yukonbiz.com Geof Harries

    I completely agree with the post by Web Design Ireland. While RubyonRails can fly the hype flag (and deservedly so, it’s a fantastic piece of work) Java has industrial strength ties into enterprise systems and applications that other languages can’t even touch. The mobile phone aspect is huge.

    Sure it’s old, complex and has a steep learning curve, but Java is still very much relevant today. It’s just lost some of the popular glamour that it once had. That’s natural for any programming language. RoR will get there one day too.

  • Trent Reimer

    You’ve obviously never heard of Jake2 (http://www.bytonic.de/html/jake2.html) the Java Quake 2 clone. I couldn’t believe how well it ran considering how easy it is to consume memory in Java. It even accepted my favourite Homer Simpson model.

    Man, you’ve got some guts bad mouthing Java in Germany of all places. Don’t they have a ton of Java shops?

    Mark me down as one of those guys who has always wanted to like Java but then has always been underwhelmed. A very good programmer can avoid the performance pitfalls, and then it runs like greased lightening. But that kind of development consumes time.

  • Trent Reimer

    Oh no! I said Germany! (above) My apologies!

  • Anonymous

    I’m not a big java fan however I have noticed that all the CompUSA’s POS (point of sale) terminals are java apps. Indirectly every day non-nerd people are using them when they swipe their credit card through the terminal at CompUSA to purchase that new PC or iPod.

    Just my .02

  • http://www.freelanceninja.net/ coffee_ninja

    Would this story read differently if Java-based web hosting was as prevalent and cheap as PHP and Ruby hosting? What about if setting up a Java web application developement platform was a little simpler for beginners?

    I’m a big fan of both Java and PHP. But the longer I write in PHP I find myself coding in a Java style, writing many classes and calling a bunch of getter methods interspersed with my HTML for output. My PHP developement style has slid so far in that direction that lately I wonder why I’m not just using Java ;) The answer to that question is the exact reason I stated above (hosting). Is anyone else in this corner?

  • NeilSaunders

    That got me thinking “If Java dies, how will it be remembered by future generations?”. What is Java’s legacy? What Java applications will people still be using 20 years from now and saying “Wow—they really knew how to write code back then”?

    Most mission critical commericial sites use J2EE. The middleware that glues most enterprise systems together is written in Java. Pay your gas bill online and you’ll use it. Use an ATM, and you’ll use it (At least for middleware)

    If you rule out tools for nerds, like Eclipse or [insert app server here] and web sites custom built in Java (vs. off the shelf web apps), what’s left?

    Rule out websites? Rule out websites for PHP and see what you’re left with. The whole “custom built/package” distinction thing doesn’t fly. There are plently of CMS tools written in Java. And what does “Tools for geeks” mean? Eclipse is a fantastic IDE – I don’t see the “Geek” distinction.

  • http://www.yukonbiz.com Geof Harries

    You can get pretty cheap Java/JSP web hosting these days. Not like bottom dollar PHP $3.00/month plans, which in my experience are low quality and lack the technical expertise to support said environment, but reasonable costs of $20/mo. on average.

    HostMySite, BlackSun and eApps come to mind – all providers that I’ve had positive experiences with.

  • http://www.deanclatworthy.com Dean C

    I was thinking of Azureus too. Doubt torrents will still be around in 10-20 years time though :)

  • http://www.yukonbiz.com Geof Harries

    Rule out websites for PHP and see what you’re left with.

    I agree. Last I heard, there was nary a PHP app that made it past a /httpdocs directory. Neil is correct – Java can and is doing things that PHP is light years away from achieving. If you step out of the web development circle and into software/complex application projects, you’ll find that PHP is nowhere to be seen.

  • http://www.paulmowat.co.uk kiltman

    Ebay is written using Java technology?

    Check out more here http://sun.ebay.com/

  • http://www.lopsica.com BerislavLopac

    If you step out of the web development circle and into software/complex application projects, you’ll find that PHP is nowhere to be seen.

    And what did you expect? Java is a general-purpose language, PHP is not — it’s a scripting environment primarily intended for serving the Web-development platform (which is also called PHP). You can’t make desktop apps in PHP (apart from some efforts like Winbinder, but that’s just a wrapper on top of classic scripts.

    But in Web-land, PHP is extremely strong and useful, powering some heavyweight Web-based applications.

  • http://www.vitaleffect.com Gamermk

    When I finished University I quickly realize that I was never likely to use Java again, but I don’t regret taking a single class of Java. The language is so well done that that it made it easy for me to learn to be a programmer. It taught me how languages should work and it is logically structured better than any other language I can think of.

    I have not given up on this language yet, but I too am eagerly awaiting the killer app that should be the flagship of this language.

  • http://www.tbz.com Quadzoola

    Zend Studio is written in Java, and I think it’s a killer app, but then again I’m a geek, does this disqualify it? ;)

  • http://www.yukonbiz.com Geof Harries

    But in Web-land, PHP is extremely strong and useful, powering some heavyweight Web-based applications.

    I concur. It’s just that PHP fanboys get all worked up about their language and seem to diss Java at any opportunity – but don’t or can’t recognize its severe limitations in desktop and enteriprise apps because they’ve never been involved at that level of complexity.

  • http://www.lopsica.com BerislavLopac

    It’s just that PHP fanboys get all worked up about their language and seem to diss Java at any opportunity—but don’t or can’t recognize its severe limitations in desktop and enteriprise apps because they’ve never been involved at that level of complexity.

    Honestly, I think both Java and PHP are deeply flawed, each in its own ways. They both suffer of a decade of not too thoughtful design, trying to be too many things at the same time. I like PHP for being interpreted and dynamically typed, but hate it for lack of namespaces and broken data model; I like Java for being object-centered, but hate it for breaking some important OOP principles and for being statically typed (it’s almost as if it isn’t certain whether it wants to be dynamic language — interfaces, bytecode compilation, garbage collection — or static one),

    Unfortunatelly, they are still the two languages I know best, but lately I’m turning my attention to Ruby and (especially) Python, which seem to have the basics covered pretty well (although they certainly have their own issues, like Ruby’s “cartoon swearing” syntax).

  • http://www.yukonbiz.com Geof Harries

    RoR is great (we’re using it to build a small web app at the moment) but yes, also flawed. Everything is, right?

    As for RAD languages/platforms, a client of ours has standardized on Oracle HTML DB which is surprisingly easy to use and customizable. Add to the fact that Oracle is heavily entrenched in enterprise environments and they’ve got a strong future if cards are played well.

  • DamienGiles

    I really don’t think it’s a matter to which Java will be remebered by, but to how it was implemented as a tool to develop something that will continue to develop.

    Take eBay for example, if it is written in Java, an eBays expected to earn $4.2bn in 2005, then eBay moves away from Java to x-language… will we forget Java, or remeber it for being able to write an application (eBay) to earn $4.2bn in 2005?

    It’s a bit far fetched, but some of you are looking at it from the wrong direction.

  • Dr Livingston

    Well, we are being silly now, aren’t we? Java isn’t dead, nor is it on it’s last legs either Harry…

    God, Java is buried in any number of systems today and in any number of applications. As for Ruby, well there is still a question mark over that for me, despite the supposed uptake that has taken place in recent times.

    I’m not convinced of Ruby – at present, and I’m a believer that Java is still going to be around for a good number of years yet. If I could be as blunt as possible, people are still up for it where Java is concerned.

    At the end of the day though, it’s the same old – and it’s now getting boring btw – story of Ruby Vs PHP, Ruby Vs Java, Ruby Vs Word, Ruby Vs et al… blah blah blah

    Zzzzz….

  • Stéphane

    Eclipse is the killer app. Funny nobody takes time to kick php or perl’s butt.. it’s easy to shoot the leader :)

  • http://www.lopsica.com BerislavLopac

    Funny nobody takes time to kick php or perl’s butt..

    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=319966

  • http://www.freelanceninja.net/ coffee_ninja

    So Dr. Livingston, what you’re saying is… slow news day? :) You’re right this subject is getting a little tired, and I’d go as far as to say that this specific subject is more flamebait than legitamate developer commentary.

  • http://boyohazard.net Octal

    What’s funny is Maarten got to be a Sitepoint blogger for commenting that certain blog posts were pointless.

    So can I be a blogger now please :)

  • fsdavis

    I’m not a java programmer, nor do I want to be. I’m not a php-only programmer, either. That said, I earnestly agree with the spirit of the original post. What has java done for me lately? Not much.

  • ajking

    To fsdavis: if you paid even the slightest bit of interest to the Mars Rover robotic landings of recent years, then Java has done something for you lately. Those little robots that went about taking photos and doing measurements on the atmosphere and soil etc. were programmed completely in Java.

  • ajking

    And, oh, by the way: in the science of planetary exploration, that ranks as a killer app.

  • fsdavis

    Thanks for enlightening me ajking! I’ll warrant that planetary exploration is killer, indeed.

  • Sachin Dharmapurikar

    Great going guys! You are discussing that what if Java is dead. Some comments are really impressive. Well, lets throw java out of this world for a moment. Your millions of mobile phones, PDAs and other devices… will simply die. Lets analyze the _Killer App_ definition. Which is a killer app? The one which is very huge in size, concept and fetches millions $ to company or the app which is used by millions of people?

    If we throw java out of this world tell me a single language/platform which will accomodate java’s presence. I am from India and I see that there are good number of companies which are just developing java applications. Well, I think the server room people didn’t got to read this blog or they dont find important to face your argument. Ask them about the behaviour of Java. Its scalable, portable and its having all the things to make a big shot enterprise app. If you think, still you can replace java, please tell me that now. If java dies atleast I will get prepared for my next job :D (Which I think will not happen in near future.)

    -Older developers write Cobol
    -Techie’s write C++
    -Companies write in .NET
    -Webdevelopers write PHP

    Well, where is enterprise in the list?
    -Enterprise uses Java!

    If I am correct, all Oracle apps/ DB2 consoles are in Java? Why didn’t they got any other “GOOD” language? May be they are not in to your list.
    Did somebody said that there are very less programmers in java… well buddy goto http://www.theserverside.com and you will find there tons of people who can code excellent in java. And if you didn’t found any, catch me anytime. I am so called a lucky Java programmer to serve a person without vision.
    RoR may be good thing. But I have seen, many apperantly good or easy to use things in the beginning result into serious problems after some time. Then at that point switching back to good old platform is very much painful and I know many of you will agree for it. Lets wait for more couple of years and please mention at that times stats about RoR. I will love to see a newly emerged language capturing Java’s enterprise share!!!

  • JaredB

    Harry..I think I have the answer for you..Did you know that SAP is built in Java?

    Regards

    Jared

  • http://www.saumendra.com saumendra

    YEah As Sachin rightly pointed out that JAVA leads the enterprise domain, I wuld like to put the fact that in india specially in Silicon City (Banglore) the Compannies requirs more J2EE, J2ME, Java programmer than any other Language. Wash your hands by going hrough the JOB sites Naukri.com, jobsahead.com, monster.com.

    Well 2 some extent JAVA is live for its existance in mobile computing, wap devices, embedded systems and big enterprise application where platforms differ.

    Look out for dot.NET comming into picture with its implementation in open source.

  • farshad

    Every programming language is a totaly separate way of thinking about computers and IMHO java did its rule best.

  • Dr Livingston

    > If we throw java out of this world tell me a single
    > language/platform which will accomodate java’s presence.

    There aren’t any. Period. Java has got to be the most beutiful language that has been devised by man. It is well thought out, well designed and well developed technology.

    More importantly, it has more than proved it’s self over the years.

    To me, it’s more than just a language – it’s something that encompasses our ability to reach further and achieve more.

    If by any means, that there are Java developers moving away from Java, then that in it’s self has nothing to do with Java, but more to the point that the movement towards open source is expanding.

    Does open source threaten Java? Possibly I think that it does, but Java is an adaptive technology. It’ll adapt – that’s what makes Java great and wonderful.

    As for Ruby? Bah…

  • http://www.phppatterns.com HarryF

    Thankfully no death threats (yet!). Can’t really retract but added note at top to take full responsibility. Was meant in humourous / provocative vein but I should know better by now and feel free to call me the fool.

    Please note I’d be the first to say (and do) that languages which lack support for “basics” like Unicode should not be regarded the hiers to Java.

  • JosephRagsdale

    If the GNU folks make Binutils, Glibc, and GCC easier to cross compile for different architectures that might threaten Java. Java was, after all, designed to make development across many architectures easier.

    I use the aforementioned toolchain to build C applications on a PowerPC Mac targeted for x86 Linux. I could do the same for ARM Linux, x86 HURD, x86_64 Linux, x86_64 HURD, etc.

    Crosstool is voodoo. Damn cool voodoo, but it’s still voodoo.

  • JosephRagsdale

    I suppose it ought to be written Hurd and not HURD. I see it written both ways so whatever.

    Obviously, Java has an impressive standard library in addition to it’s ease across many architectures. The C and C++ standard libraries pale in comparison. But many libraries outside of the standard libraries exist for C as well as C++. As for Unicode support, ICU adds that functionality in C and C++.

  • http://science3.net freak

    If ebay is powered by Java technology? What do you mean by there’s no killer apps in Java? Last I read statistics, ebay is the 4th most visited website in the world and one in 6 Americans have sold online before. Now, no killer apps?

    I must admit that I am in my first year of Uni and do not have much experience with a variety of languages, but I love Java. I think it is really well designed, and well planned. I coded in numerous languages before (including Pascal, Visual Basic and of course, my most proficient language before Uni, PHP) and I have looked at a couple more but I still like Java more. And after picking up Java, I can’t seem to make myself think out of the Java circle, every programming task I get, I think Java first. I think of Objects, of classes and stuff like that.

    I think there aren’t many Java programs in the mainstream because of the Virtual Machine thingy. I mean would non-nerd users know what is it? Will they go to that extra trouble to go download on extra program to run your program? Specially with all the spyware, adware junk on the net now?

    However, most professionals I talked to who are coding huge government projects code in Java ;)

  • http://www.errewf.it RaS!

    Many big companies use Java for own application, like BroadVision. I prefer PHP than Java, but I’ve studied it at university and I choice Java for “complex” webapp.

  • http://boyohazard.net Octal

    Was meant in humourous / provocative vein but I should know better by now and feel free to call me the fool.

    You are certainly no fool, there have been some good points raised in this blog entry despite me originally thinking it was pointless.

    A couple of questions, out of curiosity:
    Why limit or rule out “tools for nerds…[insert app server here]…web sites custom built in Java…“useful” (to real people) instead of “popular””?

    but more importantly; has the ensuing comments changed your outlook on Java at all?

  • Dr Livingston

    My outlook in Java hasn’t changed but then again I’m not going to hold it against anyone – Harry for example ;) lol – who disagrees with Java or the direction(s) it’s heading.

    But what does annoy me is the endless debate about Ruby and how it’s taking over the world – it isn’t. I don’t see much how Ruby is going to – for the short term anyway – go beyond Rails.

    That is a limitation I believe? Unless anyone has an idea that Ruby doesn’t have that limitation… Is there anything else bar Rails for web development?

  • yosoyminero

    Apart of SAP and Oracle (which I really didn’t know), many companies in the telecom sector have a lot of software implemented on Java.

    In fact, I work in one of those big telecom companies and can tell you that all the management systems have been rewritten in Java.

  • linuxdragons

    ever heard of prject looking glass? I think Java is preety “cool”, and it is still being used. Java is still in use, and will continue to be used.

  • Scheisskopf
  • Anonymous

    I use java apps all the time – albeit games on my mobile phone :)

  • NeilSaunders

    Does open source threaten Java? Possibly I think that it does, but Java is an adaptive technology. It’ll adapt—that’s what makes Java great and wonderful.

    What does this mean? Java IS open source.

  • fishball

    The greatest contribution of Java (atleast for me personally) is that it spawned the creation of Microsoft’s DotNet that without it there’s no DotNet in the first place.

  • Scheisskopf

    exactly, java has been hugely influencial

    what is the author on about?

  • http://www.rideontwo.com z0s0

    WDI – What does Symbian have to do with JAVA? Symbian is an operating system, and indeed the fastest/most capable apps running on top of it are native C++, not JAVA.

  • http://science3.net freak

    What does this mean? Java IS open source.

    Last I checked, no, Java isn’t open sourced ;)

  • ramp_r

    imagine if java being open source, wat could happen to it…. different flavors of java will come out into the industry. take a good look at linux distros.

  • sf2k

    wasn’t bitorrent a python app first? then ported to java? haha

  • sf2k

    I agree from the student perspective; once you go with java, that kind of thinking follows you around. After working with java for awhile, i had to prog a vb app. I made into a bunch of modules calling each other rather than a straight one-off vb app. i was thinking java all the way.

    the ephiphany aspect of oop with java was far greater than c++. with java games coming along and MMOG like runescape.com completely in java, the mindspace is vast. Games are still mostly a c++ domain, but this is no longer just limited to that language.

    by no means will java be my only tool, but only when you hit the enterprise wall can you see it with new eyes.

    good luck

  • sf2k

    just one last comment. this blog is great, not only in defining what java is, but what it isn’t. In the end the choice is yours, but java will still be around when you need it.

    anyone recommend any killer apps in JSP?

    thanks

  • NeilSaunders

    Last I checked, no, Java isn’t open sourced

    It depends on how you define Open Source. Does it have a traditional OSI licence? No? But the development process is community driven, the source code IS available, officially, here:

    http://www.sun.com/software/communitysource/j2se/java2/download.xml

    and the source for the core classes has always been available.

  • ivalladt

    What does Symbian have to do with JAVA? Symbian is an operating system, and indeed the fastest/most capable apps running on top of it are native C++, not JAVA.

    But the GSM application and of course STK applets running on most SIM cards in the world are programmed in Java. Yes, a restricted version of the language and a restricted virtual machine. But the Java concept’s definitely there. If something that hundreds of million people use every minute every day is not a killer app, forget about killer apps.

  • Jaen

    Don’t be so clueless, cellphone software isn’t written in Java, it includes a Java runtime for running games or tiny applications, which is completely unessential.

    Symbian is written in C++. BREW isn’t Java either. But if I would have to vote for a killer app, then yes, Java mobile games would probably be it, which is ironic considering their size compared to most Java applications.

  • Anonymous

    If anyone has taken a look at ebay…it uses java ;)

  • mwolfe

    If anyone has taken a look at ebay…it uses java ;)

    i hope that was a joke.. I think its been mentioned about 12 times above..

    Java is a great language for large scale apps, and even for learning oop basics, since it is completely object oriented. This is why its taught in universities nowadays. I wouldn’t be too surprised if it only got bigger rather than die out..It may not be a good language for creating basic dynamic websites or gui applications. But it seems to be getting faster and more comprehensive with every release. I wouldn’t dismiss java anytime soon.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t dis Ruby unless you’ve tried it. Long Live RUBY!!!!!

  • http://science3.net freak

    It depends on how you define Open Source. Does it have a traditional OSI licence? No? But the development process is community driven, the source code IS available, officially, here:

    http://www.sun.com/software/communitysource/j2se/java2/download.xml

    and the source for the core classes has always been available.

    I believe when 90% of the people talk about opensource, they mean software realeased with the GNU license :)

  • Antony Fernandez

    I to have to disagree. I don’t think Java was meant as at tool for killer apps. But for flexible enterprise solutions.

    Although most of the most complex website’s and tools I’ve come across have been built with Java technology. I.e. World of Warcrafts website – which needed connectivity to their backend. Cisco’s IP Telephony Solution – CTI, is built on Java. And like some of you wrote what about the numerous mobile phone applications out there. Most of the Poker sites online I’ve come across use Java-based game boards. And what about this – which I think is what Java is going to used for in the future more than today.

    As far as I know nobody ever ‘brags’ about building an applicatin in C++ or Cobol i.e. And that’s where Java’s heading! To be a part of the tech society. An obvious choice for certain solutions. Not something you wear on you T-Shirt anymore.

    Ruby and Ruby on Rails will take it’s place, but it wont be even close to the areas Java is meant to rule.

  • http://www.hyfen8.com Viflux

    Killer Java App?

    Our Java App is used by roughly 5 million Canadians every month ;)

  • ajking

    Just got back from the Sun Tech Days Conference in Toronto. Two days of demos of the latest Java IDEs from Sun and other Java technologies like EJB 3.0, Real Time Java, Java for RFID, J2ME, etc. There were a lot of terrific apps on display (NetBeans 5.0 is a worthy alternative to Eclipse). The IDEs weren’t the killer app. But we saw the “killer app”. Literally.

    We watched a video of something Boeing has built for the Department of Defense called “Scan Eagle”. It’s a jet powered aircraft that does video reconnaissance and targeting for missiles. Real Time Java flies the aircraft with no human inputs while a person remotely operates the targeting camera. The video showed a missile being steered right into its target by the human operator — the jet flew perfectly straight and level all the while.

    Made me think that perhaps Sun could try a new slogan: “Programming languages don’t kill people, people kill people.” . . . . or something like that.

  • http://www.yukonbiz.com Geof Harries

    ajking’s comments highlight how poorly Sun is marketing Java – they should focus more on the science, innovation and unique opportunities that it brings to the technology world. You sure don’t hear much about .NET, let alone PHP or RoR operating lunar vehicles or jet-powered aircraft.

    Most people in the web industry, our tiny piece of the puzzle, think that Java is just an archaic programming language that’s difficult to learn and build with. And in some ways it is. But when you read what can and is being done, that’s a pretty exciting community to be a part of. Capitalize on the possibilities Sun!

  • javaRulez.com

    Ever thought about the numerous Apache Servers with tomcat as a Servlet container behind it?

  • http://www.lopsica.com BerislavLopac
  • Anonymous

    JBidwatcher made me lose a lot of cash (and won a ton of auction…) — it is in Java ;-)

  • http://www.sitepoint.com Matthew Magain

    And so the discussion continues at Slashdot

  • bonefry

    What a stupid blog entry.

    I’m really dissapointed with you Harry.

    How will Java be remembered ?
    What about applets ?
    What about the millions of phones that ship with Java applications ?
    (250 million in March 2004 and counting)

    Are you beginning to switch sides to Ruby allready ? What happened ?
    PHP is not the silver bullet you thought it was ?

    For a PHP advocate you are doing a really poor job.
    DHH from http://www.loudthinking.com does a nicer job than you.

  • Anonymous

    I have to say reading some of these responses is hilarious.

    Honsetly some of you should try learning other languages (prefably NON C-derived, NON C-dalect languages) for once because it seems like you have no experience beyond Java. Therefore you have a very limited view on problem solving, your worth as a developer very low.

    You have no clue what a good/decent programming language really looks like and i’ll tell you one thing Java isn’t good. Regardless of having that “killer app” or currently being the mostly widely used language for “enterprise development” Java the language & platform itself is fundamentally flawed on so many levels. Are you really that ignorant to follow the hype?

  • bonefry

    Mr. Anonymous, first of all, learn some English.

    On a second note, your comment is not related to the subject of this blog.

    > You have no clue what a good/decent programming language really looks like and
    > i’ll tell you one thing Java isn’t good.

    You haven’t told it :)
    There is no such thing as the perfect language/platform.
    All languages/platforms are flawed.

    Hilarious is your comment ;)

  • Anonymous

    > Mr. Anonymous, first of all, learn some English.

    <edit>

    My command of the English language is absolutely fine, as far as I’m concerned making sure spelling and grammar is 100% correct is not exactly critical for a comment on a blog.

    Beside the point, my comment still holds, if you have nothing intelligent to stay in a polite manner then get lost.<edit>

    > On a second note, your comment is not related to the subject > of this blog.

    Actually, it is, it’s indirectly related but since I was not talking to you and it has absolutely nothing to do with you .

    > There is no such thing as the perfect language/platform.
    > All languages/platforms are flawed.

    This is true however Java is *more* flawed than many others.

    The language itself is *fundamentally* flawed in many ways, this is more significant and one of the reasons for its short-lived and abrupt death. I am not saying it is dead now but it is on the way and well over due already.

  • http://www.freelanceninja.net/ coffee_ninja

    Woah… cool your jets gentlemen :) Why don’t you tell us exactly why you think Java is flawed instead of using your energies to berate each other :)

  • bonefry

    > Actually, it is, it’s indirectly related
    No, it is not.
    Still, if it is common for you to wait for opportunities to spread midless FUDs, don’t let me stop you.

    > … as I’m concerned making sure spelling and grammar is 100% correct is not
    > exactly critical for a comment on a blog.

    LOL.
    And you were the one laughing at others.

    > The language itself is *fundamentally* flawed in many ways, this is more
    > significant and one of the reasons for its short-lived and abrupt death. I am
    > not saying it is dead now but it is on the way and well over due already.

    Short-lived ?
    Last time I checked, Java was succesfull ever since the year of it’s release, which was 1995.
    It is 10 years later, and Java is known to be most popular language, acording to the TIOBE index.
    It is 10 years later, and Java is the most popular language on SourceForge.
    It is 10 years later and Swing is the dominant GUI tookit.

    At its 10th birthday, Java is known to achieve:

    155+ million Java software downloads from java.com
    4.5+ million Java software developers worldwide
    140+ global wireless carriers providing mobile Java services
    708+ million Java Powered mobile phones
    1+ billion Java Cards

    Abrupt death ?
    According to what ?
    To your <edit> claims ? Should I believe someone who doesn’t bother to check his spelling ?

    It is fundamentally flawed ?
    Again, according to whom ?

    <edit>

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    Yep, chillout a little Bonefry and friend. We like a bit of spirited discussion, but the more recent rounds of jibes and taunts aren’t doing a lot to flatter either side of the argument.

  • http://www.dcddesigns.com dc dalton

    My main question HAS to be, Why does there need to be one almighty killer app to make a language viable? Isn’t the fact of all the everyday uses for a language make it more important than something that has a “hit”… Is this the Billboard Top 40 of Languages.

    Every language has it’s uses (well most), the languages I find worthless are those that can only be used on one platform or situation, and brother Java isn’t one of them!

  • http://www.vinniegarcia.com/ vgarcia

    “Why does there need to be one almighty killer app to make a language viable?”

    There doesn’t need to be, but the basic human urge to follow the “leader” (the “leader” in this case being the killer app of the week) ends up taking over in the minds of many programmers who forget that skill and design are more important than language in creating a killer app.

    Java is a nice language. It’s not the greatest for everything, but no language is.

  • Anonymous

    j2me 4 teh win

  • asj

    Java runs on more devices than any other language out there.

    As someone mentioned, it’s predominant in the enterprise servers, there are some cool desktop apps like Azureus (desktops being where Java is weakest), and it is unparalleled in its dominance in the smaller devices arena –

    More than 1 billion smartcards (including the SIM cards in your cellphones) are powered by Java to run the national healthcards of several countries and security cards (inc part of the US army)

    Nearly 1 billion cellphones/PDAs run Java applications, and Java games are driving the profitability of the carriers and manufacturers.

    Java will power the new high-definition blu-ray DVD players coming out this year, which will replace today’s DVD format.

    Java will power interactive HDTV cable broadcasts by 2009.

    End of Story

  • asj

    (cont)

    Btw, Oone interesting new kit coming out allows Java developers to easily program SPOT objects (allowing the creationg of swarm networks, etc)

    http://sunspotworld.com/

    Some cool stuff keeps coming out for Java…

    PHP? Phhhhtttt….spaghetti code that runs as scripts for webpages.

  • paul works with java everyday at work sine ’94

    hi-

    I have been working with j2ee in corp. shops in the usa (boston) since nineties. I agree wholeheartedly with the original poster.

    It is possible to see j2ee corp apps that run fast, but the entire j2ee tech stack must be configured perfectly and every line of java code perfectly written. Never happens in practice, or very rarely.

    Programmers that write in java are less productive because of all the framework configuration, discovery and learning curves, etc. that are needed to build the scalable applications they are tasked to create. I work on j2ee apps that scale, but badly – poor performance and low availability at high numbers of concurrent users.

    RIA with applets is a no-go, and a j2ee programming team capable of RIA without applets in j2ee along the lines of the very impressive thinkfree office will not be easy to assemble. applets in general are a deadend and the incompatibilities are astounding on a WORA-billed platform.

    The entire universe of j2ee accoutremont: maven, ant, hibernate, jrun, junit, jmeter, on and on… the xml configuration files, all of this adds complexity, and team members, and increases code and chances for misconfiguration and errors in deployment.

    Performance of j2ee is much better in recent years, but in 2008, i still use s-l-o-w j2ee applications every single day. the author of the post is right: ten years with little to show for it.

    j2ee means all to frequently: no firefox ’cause we can’t support it, no mac, no linux. so, j2ee in the corp world means windows and IE. Not very hackerish. Or cool. Or fast. And I love windows as much as the others. I’m knocking most corp j2ee app development in the us, certainly 95% of it in boston in 2008.

    The j2ee web application servers, and servlet containers frequently have their own problems which delay deployments and crash sites, etc. Things like weblogic, tomcat. Sometime you work in a j2ee shop that has one piece of the j2ee chain that’s a little older and it holds things up during deployment, retards performance of the j2ee application, or causes a recurring availability issue.

    Jboss and related and similar j2ee enabling and complementary technologies are developed by toolmakers and when added to all the frameworks out there (ICEfaces, millions more), before you know it you’re using tech from dozens of vendors and keeping track of the lifecycles and updates becomes unmangeable. How about five, ten years from now? Where are the j2ee apps then? Who maintains them?

    j2ee programmers need to know so many j2ee technologies that they even the best ones lack experience across the entire spectrum of technologies and so they learn on the job. And that takes time, and makes projects using j2ee later. They have less time to learn about anything but j2ee, and they think (my personal observation of many of them) you don’t know anything about computers if you don’t know java. Many have no experience of anything before java.

    I already said above, j2ee apps scale – mostly not that well. Again, in my personal experience.

    The JRE is not great. It is the weak link in many j2ee apps. Frequently incompat. between different j2ee apps which need a diff. version.

    I have never ever seen a j2ee dev team that did anything more than pay cursory lipservice to agile development methodology.

    I have seen during the nineties ecommerce buildout many scaled perl and scripting language LAMP applications and sites that filled millions of orders, charged millions of dollars, served millions of pages. So I know they scaled, because I saw them. J2ee’s scalability, to my mind, is frustratingly unevident when judged against these personal recollections. Most of the j2ee applications i have worked on slow down the more people are using them, etc. This is based on my daily working life in many j2ee-only shops in boston. I work with it for a living, and j2ee has paid my bills and put food on my table. I’m just simply agreeing with the original poster’s comments.

    j2ee UI’s and UI development (JSF, java server faces): ack. Swing, struts, AWT: it just never happened correctly. Every j2ee dev team i work on has poor UI. I know, I know, your experience is different. Mine has been – java, j2ee UI is usually bad. I’m working on a VUI dialog designer for work that is an applet that interfaces with a j2ee backend. The UI is good, almost very good. I mentioned thinkfree office above. But almost all j2ee apps have poor UI and interface. In ten years, j2ee UI will be one of the main complaints about j2ee in hindsight, along with bloat, complexity, gross overuse, inappropriateness for a wide variety of programming problems, perfomance. Java is still too slow too often in 2008.

    Gotta go work with more j2ee tomorrow at work, so I have to go. Just kidding about java and j2ee. It’s great.