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Six Years and Counting: Developers Weigh in on the State of the Java Market

As part of our comprehensive analysis of the past, present, and future of a breakthrough development technology, we asked Java developers where they stand on the tools and technologies that make Java work for them.


f you look at it from one perspective, the Java programming language at age six is only in first grade. On the other hand, Java's significant strengths and large base of devoted followers mean that in many respects this versatile technology resembles more a seasoned veteran than a grade-schooler.

There's no denying that Java has made an impact of unprecedented proportion in the development world and will continue to do so. And with this year's JavaOnetrade show and expo just around the corner, DevX decided several months ago to set about the task of looking closely at the state of the Java market, with a special emphasis on where Java is making its biggest impact in today's business environment. We also wanted to find out how our readers feel about Java's accomplishments and failures to-date and what the future holds in store for Java developers and the businesses who rely on it to drive their success behind the scenes.

There are several components to our special report, "Judging Java." There will be three pieces in this series: This week, we begin with our comprehensive analysis of Java based on recent private research, which you are about to read (click here to skip this intro). You'll also want to read the adjunct article Server-side Subjects Drop Java's GPA, in which Java expert and regular DevX contributor Brian Maso of DevelopMentor takes a critical look at what Java can and can't do on the server side. Finally, please don't miss Java in Retrospect, a complete timeline of Java's history, which charts every event and nuance of Java's development from 1995 to 2001. We believe this is the most extensive and comprehensive history of Java ever compiled. You're sure to refer to it often, as both a source of reference and entertainment.

You'll read our exclusive interview with Sun's Dr. James Gosling, the man who led the nascent Java specification to completion six years ago and who created the first Java Virtual Machine and compiler. We'll also take an in-depth look at the Java job market. We wanted to find out whether there's a "skills gap" emerging in the Java development community. Are there really enough Java developers with the advanced enterprise knowledge needed to develop high-availability, high-scalability applications that today' business environment requires? You'll find out whether your skills meet the expectations of today's recruiters. And throughout the week, you'll get daily reports from the show floor at JavaOne.

In Part III, launching July 11, you'll read reviews of major products and technologies released at JavaOne. And you'll get an early introduction to the newest member of the DevX family, Java2theMax. Java2theMax Editor John Zukowski is the founding Java guru of jGuru, served as About.com's Java expert, and has written three books on Java. He is hard at work putting together a complete source of Java development resources and thought-leading editorial, tailored to the advanced Java programmer. You'll read what John has in store later this summer for the DevX Java audience.

But first, read on to find out how more than 2,600 professional Java developers view the state of the Java market.

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