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The future of Java – a community perspective

 
Bogomil Shopov
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Ah memories

I’ve started my interaction with Java a long time ago – in 1998, when a friend of mine show me thr good ‘ol Borland JBuilder and how to write Swing applications. I was using a very very old computer that I bought a day before that and my first compilation took 30 min or so.

Couple of months after that I betrayed Java and I’ve start using PHP and other easy to learn web languages, because my employer requires that, but I never forgot my loving Java.

14 years after

14 year after that I had the opportunity to be a part of Java community again. Of course I followed what’s going on with Java during the years and when the Oracle bought it I was shocked. They did the same with MySQL…


What is the future of Java NOW?


Last couple of months I am working with JUG and other Java boys and girls and I see that most of them are not happy, enthusiastic and don’t care about the spirit of Java (if I may use that expression).

I don’t want to start a technology flame war and I am not a Java tech person at all, but I am worried about the community around Java.

The Example
There are JUG’s with 1000 and more members, from which 50 are active online and 10 coming to an offline meeting.

Community?
Most of you can say Java is only about the technology and maybe they are right, but this is not what I think. Java is about the community also – There is no technology that can survive without a community around it and the community plays a big role to make a technology kick-ass.

That’s I want to find the way to scream “WAKE UP” and to push the technology forward.

So, where is the problem?

Is it Oracle politics about Java? Are you afraid of them?
Is it Community Management – most of the JUG lists are used as one way communication. There is no active engagement from the leaders at all. Sad!
Is it the “threat” of other languages? Really?

What do YOU think? How to bring back the passion?

I have my own vision, but I’d love to hear more about yours. Can you share it with me, please?

P.S I’d love to discuss this at FOSDEM and I may buy you a beer

The original article is here
(*) My date was wrong, sorry for that
 
Rob Spoor
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Bogomil Shopov wrote:I’ve started my interaction with Java a long time ago – in 1992, when a friend of mine show me thr good ‘ol Borland JBuilder and how to write Swing applications.

Unlikely. Java 1.0 was released on January 23rd 1996, and the earliest form of Swing on December 16th 1996. I think you've got your dates mixed up a bit.
 
Joanne Neal
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Perhaps he had Java software embedded in his time machine.
 
Bogomil Shopov
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Joanne Neal wrote:Perhaps he had Java software embedded in his time machine.


Oops, sorry fot the mistake I am an old man now ))
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Joanne Neal wrote:Perhaps he had Java software embedded in his time machine.
Of course he had; the time machine wouldn’t work otherwise!
 
Aditya Jha
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:
Joanne Neal wrote:Perhaps he had Java software embedded in his time machine.
Of course he had; the time machine wouldn’t work otherwise!

You gave "Java portability" a whole new meaning.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Aditya Jha wrote:. . . . You gave "Java portability" a whole new meaning.
Yes, yes, yes, I like it
 
Anayonkar Shivalkar
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Bogomil Shopov wrote: How to bring back the passion?

Well, I'm not member of any JUG, but I don't think that passion is gone (at least when I consider coderanch).

I'm still not clear about your question (what Oracle politics has anything to do with our passion at Java? )
 
Stephan van Hulst
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I love Java, but I don't cling on to any language. If Java does end up dying (which I doubt will happen any time soon), I'll just find another language I enjoy.

Apparently functional languages are moving from mostly academic use into the more mainstream realm. I recently found out how awesome they are. Maybe when concurrent programming becomes more pervasive, Java will become like C? An old fun language, that has its uses but is painfully outdated?
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Some languages have faded and others retained their popularity. Some of the oldest languages around, eg FORTRAN and LISP are still in common use, whereas others eg Algol, Pascal and SmallTalk have faded. Whenever Java™ fades, there will still be millions of lines of code which will have to be maintained for many years to come. I believe there is still much old Cobol code around, some of it over 40 years old, which few people know how to maintain and update.
 
Brian Burress
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I agree with Campbell's observations. I spent about 10 years in the COBOL/Mainframe world and heard so much about open systems replacing Mainframes, Java replacing COBOL, etc. Not only are COBOL/Mainframe systems still around, I am aware of instances where Websphere is running on a mainframe and using mainframe DB2 to service internet (i.e. not internal "intra" but facing the open WWW) applications.

From a legacy perspective alone, I think Java is here for a long time. The bigger question, is how many people will continue to learn Java as opposed to other languages/frameworks like .NET in order to find jobs. From there, how many schools will continue to use Java as a teaching tool?

I also think from an open source perspective Java is here for a long time too. The various projects that get started and provide useful tooling for Java applications will help keep Java alive. There is not a one size fits all solution for everyone need.

With all of that said, what are the short comings of Java and the write-once, deploy anywhere ability? Ironically, I have started to see some instances where the lack of a single deployment environment hampers using a new tool or product. I say hampers not so much technically but more procedurally. A large enterprise, for example, will usually have a target deployment environment (for example AIX and Websphere). If said enterprise is interested in a vendor tool that is 'certified' on Red Hat and Weblogic then you open up a lot of different issues to use it (either Enterprise needs to bring on expertise to support a new deployment model or vendor needs to find expertise and certify/support their product on the additoinal environment.) It doesn't sound like a big deal until you start thinking about all of the flavors of Linux, Windows, etc that could be in scope.

To me, this seems to provide opportunity for something like a .NET to take hold. While you are locked into Microsoft [[ can I use that word in this forum ;) ]] you can be pretty focused on your domain of deployment.
 
Henry Wong
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Rob Spoor wrote:
Bogomil Shopov wrote:I’ve started my interaction with Java a long time ago – in 1992, when a friend of mine show me thr good ‘ol Borland JBuilder and how to write Swing applications.

Unlikely. Java 1.0 was released on January 23rd 1996, and the earliest form of Swing on December 16th 1996. I think you've got your dates mixed up a bit.


My first exposure to Java was around the end of 1994 -- when I was asked to write some financial demos for Sun's upcoming webrunner browser. Of course, back then, it wasn't called Java...

Henry
 
Henry Wong
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Bogomil Shopov wrote:
What is the future of Java NOW?


Last couple of months I am working with JUG and other Java boys and girls and I see that most of them are not happy, enthusiastic and don’t care about the spirit of Java (if I may use that expression).

I don’t want to start a technology flame war and I am not a Java tech person at all, but I am worried about the community around Java.

The Example
There are JUG’s with 1000 and more members, from which 50 are active online and 10 coming to an offline meeting.

Community?
Most of you can say Java is only about the technology and maybe they are right, but this is not what I think. Java is about the community also – There is no technology that can survive without a community around it and the community plays a big role to make a technology kick-ass.

That’s I want to find the way to scream “WAKE UP” and to push the technology forward.

So, where is the problem?

Is it Oracle politics about Java? Are you afraid of them?
Is it Community Management – most of the JUG lists are used as one way communication. There is no active engagement from the leaders at all. Sad!
Is it the “threat” of other languages? Really?

What do YOU think? How to bring back the passion?

I have my own vision, but I’d love to hear more about yours. Can you share it with me, please?



This is opinion only -- so feel free to ignore. I think part of the issue is nostalgia -- maybe you are attributing some of the "passion" to Java being a new toy (and you were willing to ignore some of the warts). Now that Java is grown up, and doesn't have many of the warts, you are less tolerant of it.

As another opinion, you are unfairly blaming the lack of JUG participation to Oracle. Personally, I have not been to a JUG meeting in years -- way before Oracle took over. Back in the 90's, JUGs were cool -- the presenters where the inventors of the language. The presenters were the early adopters, which in general, had the hacker mentality. And most of all, it was a small community where everyone knew each other. You went to learn something new. And you went to meetup with people that you know.

The Java community now has many user groups. And many of these groups have thousands of users. The topics are obscure products, on obscure frameworks, or on something that some company want to sell to the community. This is what happens when something becomes sucessful -- there are a lot more users, and these users don't have the same passion as the early adopters.

Henry
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
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