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Java Turns 10: The Developer Retrospective : Page 4

Java passed the 10-year milestone this May. DevX asked developers to reflect on the language's first decade, assess where it stands today, and speculate where it's going. The diversity of responses—including industry notables from within Sun, IBM, BEA, and Borland—indicates that Java is as vital as ever.




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9. What has been Java's single greatest gift to the software community?

The responses we received most often were platform independence, the Java platform and language themselves, and the community they created.

"Two things: it made garbage-collected languages acceptable to a wider audience, and the smart IDEs that have sprung up around the language."—Jack Herrington

"Java really shook things up, including forcing Microsoft to design new products such as improvements to Visual Studio and of course .NET. Browsers implemented JavaScript as Netscape's alternative to Java. The world of server-side programming took a huge step forward and allowed for mega sites."—Michael Pilone

"Millions of students need not learn C++."—Rob Gingell

"The establishment of standardized APIs that multiple vendors could implement. This competition to provide the best implementation of a standard interface has created a very dynamic industry with a strong drive to produce high-quality solutions."—Kyle Gabhart

".NET"—Michael Smialek

10. Will the Java language remain as vital as it has been the past 10 years or could a newer, more powerful language overtake it?

"Languages have a limited period of technical leadership. Java will be no different. At some point, it's going to be interesting to look beyond Java."—Bruce Tate

"When desktops and laptops are replaced by handheld devices, we may need a much simpler and more powerful language."—Raghu Donepudi

"C# has the potential to crush Java. It's a better language."—Jack Herrington

"Microsoft is making an incredibly strong move with .NET. Owning the client side with the operating system, they have a huge advantage over Java."—Michael Pilone

"At least several years may pass before the features that already are there get adopted by the programming world. For instance, it seems like not more than 5 percent of Java programmers can handle Java generics. How many can embrace Lock/Condition?"—Vladimir Patryshev

"The Java language will remain a language that plays an extremely important part in the evolution of the industry as the focus shifts to more architectural thoughts around interoperability such as service-oriented architectures."—Rod Smith

"At some point, the limitations of the Java VM architecture might become too serious, but whatever new challenger VM comes on the scene is, it will have to be awfully good to displace the Java platform."—Ed Cobb

"We can actually write many different languages, some of which may be radically different than the one we know as Java, and still keep the ABI [Application Binary Interface]. That's why it will remain important for a long time."—Rob Gingell

"Java will remain a potent force in IT but niche scripting languages will gain ground for certain kinds of things."—Doug Tillman, Java and Python developer with Grainger.com

"No rational person that's been in this industry for more than a couple of years truly believes that any one technology is immune to being overtaken by a newer, faster, or more efficient one."—Kyle Gabhart

Happy 10th, Java

As diverse as the interests that inhabit the Java ecosystem are, the opinions about Java itself are equally mixed. (Click here to read what the Father of Java, James Gosling, had to say about it.) That's a sign of vitality that bodes well for Java's second decade—if the developer and installed base statistics aren't proof enough.

Glen Kunene is the Managing Editor for DevX.
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