Standing on the Outside

This week I read Life outside .NET, or “How to check out your neighbours”. I really like posts like this. They’re instructive about the culture of a particular community.

For over a decade I’ve been a Java developer (since JDK 1.0.2). Like most Java developers I have a love-hate relationship with the language, the libraries and Sun. Java didn’t invent the virtual machine but it certainly popularized it. 5-10 years ago (in particular) Java was a hotbed for the development of many technologies, concepts and frameworks.

As the author notes, MVC and DI (dependency injection) are simply assumed in Javaland. It’s true. Good luck finding a non-MVC Web framework in Java out of the dozens that exist.

My experience and exposure with .Net is at best peripheral. ASP.NET always struck me as somewhat primitive in the sense that it’s what would’ve happened had JSP been taken to the nth-degree instead of being supplanted by Struts and all that came after. That’s not to say ASP.NET is bad or doesn’t do it’s job but to a Java developer it seems somehow crude.

Beyond the boring and irrelevant comparisons of Java vs. .Net performance, the more interesting comparison is as a proxy for decentralized vs. centralized platform progression.

The Microsoft Way definitely has its advantages. Where once Redmond was playing catch-up on Java (technically speaking), Sun’s inability to lead (and no clue where they were going if they could) has left Java largely stagnant. Java 7 is due at the end of the year but has been delayed years. Thankfully it’s now getting closures if for no other reason than we can all stop bitching about it (frankly, I think some form of function pointers or delegates in “C#-speke” will be sufficient for 99% of use cases).

It can be useful not to have a diaspora of Web development frameworks (even at the cost of innovation). Takes a Struts developer and put them on a Wicket or Tapestry project and their experience won’t be especially applicable.

It will certainly be interesting to see if Oracle can provide more leadership than Sun. Oracle was always heavily invested in Java  so I’m hoping Java isn’t simply collateral damage to Larry’s acquisition of Sun’s server business. Bizarrely Oracle seems committed to JavaFX of all things.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, JavaFX is Sun’s “me too” Flash alternative and a prime example of Sun’s boondoggles of recent years.

I for one welcome our new insect overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted blogger, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.


Radman said...

I for one, like JavaFX. I've found it much easier to use than Swing to describe my UIs.

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