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Java is Dead (Again)

02.18.2013
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Here is a couple of responses to this annual question I thought worth sharing.

The Day Java lost the Battle

There is a common myth amongst technologists that better technology will always be the most successful or that you must keep improving or die. A counter example I use is the QWERTY keyboard. No one who uses it, does so because it is a) natural or easy to learn b) faster to use c) newer or cooler than the alternatives. Yet many developers who couldn't imagine using anything other than a qwerty keyboard insist that Java must be dead for these reasons. I have looked at predictions that Java is dead from the year 1996 and found these predictions follow Java's popularity and when there was a drop interest due to the long age of Java 1.4 and Java 6, there was also a drop in predictions that Java is dead. (When IMHO that would have been a good time to question such things) I have come to the conclusion that passionate calls that Java is dead is a good sign that Java is alive and well and annoying developers who would prefer people used a "better" language.

In a discussion on the same topic I added.

Tiobe Index This table suggest Java has the highest interest of any language. (Possibly in part due to a security issue) Secondly, the other languages which are it's main competition are both older and lower level. While there are many who would like to believe that higher level languages are winning, there isn't any evidence this is the case. For example, the security hole was in using Java with medium security level (not the default) as an applet. While Java applet are not that popular, running ruby, php or python in a browser is far less popular.

Published at DZone with permission of Peter Lawrey, author and DZone MVB. (source)

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Claude Lalyre replied on Tue, 2013/02/19 - 4:45am

But how many lifes this language does have ? This is at least the fifth time I heard about Java's death...

I think that this language came with a big innovation : the JVM. This was an old idea which came to earlier, and with Java this idea came back at the right and relevant time  !

If you want to avoid Java language, the next big thing you bring should bring a new innovation as revolutionary as the JVM ! Good luck with that, and keep searching....


Fabien Dumay replied on Wed, 2013/02/27 - 3:17pm

Java, like all progamming langauges, are subject to evolution. And like some species will disappear, so do computer languages. Survival of th fittest, more or less.

In the mid 1990's, there was a strong conviction tha COBOL would be on its last legs, but it still survives until this day, and it will take some time, before it becomes extinct.. As long as it fits a purpose, a progamming language will survive and evolve. Java will disappear at one point in time, but so will all these now still new, hip and cool languages. 

As for developers, it is wise to keep up-to-date with the new languages, you do not need to learn all of them, but  at least keep up with them and give the ones you find interesting a try. 

Peter Lawrey replied on Wed, 2013/02/27 - 5:36pm in response to: Claude Lalyre

Doing a google, I have predictions of Java being dead every year from 1996 (the year after it was released)

My contention is that Java's popularity is due to it's simplicity (making it easy to get started with) and it's commercial focus making it attractive from a career perspective.  It was never popular for being cool or fun which is why some would wish it would die.

Being less cool or less fun that other languages isn't going to make much difference to Java as it never had much difference in the past.

What the author of this article I referenced points out is that there was a serious bug in running applet's security. This is notable since it has been a very long time this this happened and it is possible that Oracle's take over has left some of things we took for granted in Java slip.

I think it a leap to suggest this is the beginning of the end.  I think it's more of an indication that Oracle is moving faster, and perhaps taking risks Sun didn't.

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