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Which Company is Best at Java?

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OK, so we all know that Sun invented Java, but the inventor of something isn't necessarily the best in the world at using it. I mean, seriously, do you really believe Al Gore is the best in the world at using the Internet?

So, in your honest opinion, which company today is the best in the world at Java and why? Is it one of the usual suspects like Sun, IBM, and Oracle, or is there someone else like Terracotta or SpringSource who you feel more properly deserves to be considered the best in the world at Java? What companies do you feel are runners-up or deserve honorable mention?

PS - I'm pretty clear that I didn't define precisely what I mean by "best in the world at Java." Feel free to elaborate if you think it is necessary.


John Denver replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 12:24am

IMHO SpringSource, the Apache Foundation and JBoss brought Java to the next level in open source. Bea Systems and Jetbrains on the commercial side.

But the best of all I think SpringSource, they changed the way on how J2EE should be with the Spring framework and it's the principal part of Java for the enterprise development.

James Sugrue replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 1:32am

I'd have to go with SpringSource too. The changes that their portfolio of products make for developers are fantastic. They've made programming simpler with their architecture, and much more enjoyable.

Guido Amabili replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 5:27am

Hi Rick,

Well for me it is still Sun.

If I think of a particular technology then it is Glassfish and the upcoming JRE Update N.

And as another big merit I can also think of adopting the GPL license :-)

Rick Ross replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 6:34am

I think I made a mistake by framing the question in such a way as to request a singular answer. Perhaps the more interesting question is "Which companies and organizations are the best at Java and why?" What I'd really like is to have a short list of who the true leaders are and what we consider to be their most persuasive and winning achievements.

This could expand into an intriguing series of questions, which perhaps we should run as a survey. Who makes the best Java interfaces? What are the best Java tools? Which universities are best at teaching Java development? It would be pretty cool to have a well-informed, community-driven set of the bests of Java - not one of those lame awards that get sandbagged by every vendor hoping to claim the glory.

dee bak replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 7:59am


I learned Java in a french university which is called "Université de Marne la Vallée". My teacher has a website http://www-igm.univ-mlv.fr/~roussel/ and he wrote a book on Java with other teachers from the same university.

David Lee replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 9:44am

Well, one of my favorite java tools is JDOM. It's one of the rare utilities where all of the classes have clear, but most importantly, the expected method and attribute names, unlike dom4j. For XML manipulation and parsing put JDOM at the top of the list.

Another great java app is the Resin app server. I just don't understand why this product is not more widely used. This product seems to simply blow Tomcat out of the water in just about every way that matters to me at least. It's open source, but there is a pro version w/more features. It's backed by a company that offers support. The pro version costs a measly $500(if you're a developer u shouldn't mind paying for good software), With my web applications, it uses less memory than Tomcat, but I suspect this is true in most cases. Even the open source version seems to be faster than Tomcat, but don't quote me on that. It has a implementation for most if not all of the JEE stack. The pro version can run PHP apps. The list goes on. Their documentation is not the best, but it hasn't been a problem for me thus far.
Put Resin and Caucho on the list.

phil swenson replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 9:47am

JBoss?  Haha.  Takes forever to start JBoss, hard to configure, spews tons of stack dumps.  All not signs of good coding.  I haven't looked at the source, but the result sure isn't pretty.

Onur Ersen replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 9:51am

Who develops robust & stable applications with enhanced support , I mean everytime when you have problem with their product who prefers fixing bugs or showing you the way to fix it - not telling you to upgrade to another version of the software is the BEST.

- > This is who IBM is NOT.

Nirav replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 9:58am in response to: phil swenson

You obviously haven't worked with Websphere or weblogic. JBoss is one of the most developer friendly app server ever, and yes I've looked at the JBoss code; and it's prettier.

Rick Ross replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 10:01am in response to: David Lee

[quote=sybrix]Another great java app is the Resin app server. I just don't understand why this product is not more widely used. This product seems to simply blow Tomcat out of the water in just about every way that matters to me at least. It's open source, but there is a pro version w/more features. It's backed by a company that offers support.[/quote]

I have to stand with you on this one, David, Caucho's Resin is a great product, and everyone we have dealt with at that company is really top-notch. They truly deserve a place on the list of Java's best. Good call! 

Nirav replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 10:09am

Here's my list: Frameworks & Utilities: - Apache Software Foundation: Tomcat is incomparable, not to mention all those commons utility and Struts MVC framework (good initiative atleast). - JBoss: App-server, Hibernate - Spring Source: Obviously the best application framework - OpenSymphony: High quality components/frameworks OSCache, Quartz, Webwork (now merged with Struts) Tooling: - Eclipse Foundation: Eclipse Platform has made wide open eco system of best of the breed OS tools around Java - Sun: NetBeans is fast catching up with Eclipse and Sun has done more for Java than we can describe here. I'm little biased towards OSS :)

Konstantin Chikarev replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 10:10am in response to: phil swenson

You don't understand. Subject is about Companies not single products. I don't like JBoss for the same reasons, but Hibernate is good enough. So Redhat isn't so bad at all. I thank Apache for Tomcat, Ant, Struts etc but their documentation always makes me angry. So I can't say who is better. May be all together?

Clinton Begin replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 12:22pm

As far as contribution goes, if it were not for Apache and Spring, the question wouldn't even be about who is best. It would be about whether Java could have survived at all.

As for "who's best at Java"... I don't think that's a question that can be answered. Organizationally Sun, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft (for sake of argument) and probably any product/service combo vendor sucks. While they each have some smart individuals working for them, I don't think the best of the best work for any such company. If I were to hire consultants, I would stay away from the product vendors and hire someone with less bias (perhaps with opinion, but not bias). Independent consultants, or possibly a specialized consulting company that does more than put hands on keyboards.


Mike P(Okidoky) replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 12:47pm

Company wise, a head to head race between Sun and IBM.  IBM is waaaay underestimated.  Hardly ever brings anyone something up from IBM.  IBM does a *LOT* of Java stuff.

IBM should do a better job reaching out to the community I think.

Other companies.  Company wise who's "best" at Java?  Quantitiy of Java stuff they do, quality... combined as a gut feeling opinion, I don't think anyone reaches 25% of what either Sun or IBM does.

Sam Barnum replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 1:10pm

Best at Java, or most popular?  Spring is certainly popular.  So is Eclipse.  IntelliJ not as much, but it's an amazing piece of work.  

Open-source is going to be more widely used, obviously, but I bet there are some companies working on proprietary projects that are pretty impressive, but most people haven't heard about.  Palantir comes to mind, although I've not seen their source code or used their projects.  They have a nice blog, though!


Ignacio Coloma replied on Thu, 2008/03/27 - 2:20pm

After examining LOTS of source code from every open source (and some not-so-open) project you can imagine, the SpringSource team wins hands down even when some of their projects do not reach the same quality level.

The only other contenders in the field are glassfish and the JDK (if we leave Swing out, please :), both from Sun. 

Rainer Eschen replied on Mon, 2008/03/31 - 1:56pm

Sun for a standardized platform, called JDK

IBM for a standardized IDE, called Eclipse

SpringSource for a usable J2EE core architecture, called Spring Framework

RedHat/JBoss for a standardized ORM, called Hibernate

Apache for the useful rest ;-) 


Not to forget Adobe for a high-quality frontend technology for J2EE, called Flex ;-)

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