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Beyond Java

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2006

    valuable insight for those who love Java...

    Beyond Java will torque off many developers. Bruce Tate (no Java neophyte himself) articulates his and others¿ frustrations with the language and frameworks developed to make creating web applications easier. He gives a background for Java¿s parallel development with the web, and the opportunity it had through Servlets to displace other CGI languages, like Perl or C. Compared to C development, Java was easier. Its numerous classes and better implementation of cross-platform compatibility delivered on the promises of C++. As the Internet grew in popularity, so did Java. Great developers migrated to Java because it allowed them to implement their ideas quicker. Bruce persuasively argues that many alpha geeks now prefer different languages, namely Ruby and Python. He dissects some of popular development languages for their strengths and weaknesses. Bruce says if a language has the following characteristics: ¿ Has an established community ¿ Is portable across platforms ¿ Provides economic incentive (such as increased productivity) ¿ Demonstrates technical advantages Then it could displace Java. He notes that Microsoft¿s C# is too similar (being strongly typed) to Java to be the next `killer¿ development language, and says that Python¿s `intangibles¿ prevented explosive growth in the development community. Bruce introduces the reader to the Ruby on Rails framework as an alternative to developing web applications, quantifying how much more productive it made his team for implementing a website. Many independent developers who create web applications are migrating to the Rails framework, and eventually smaller, then larger companies will be unable to ignore the productivity difference between Java and Ruby. The book is important because it allows developers to step away from their keyboard, put down their Blackberry, and gain insight into what is happening: growing dissatisfaction with Java. Its numerous APIs that were supposed to ease web and enterprise development have been its Achilles heel ¿ they make such development either less productive or the learning curve too steep for novice developers. Java isn¿t going away ¿ its open source community, ability to run across multiple platforms, libraries of code, and the numerous developers have made it the `king of the hill¿ of development languages. But monolithic, entrenched systems have been displaced before. If Ruby gets a decent Eclipse or Visual Studio plug-in, the migration could be swift. Finally, this is one of those rare computer books that one doesn¿t need to place next to a computer to gain insight. Its style is conversational and open, and you could read it anywhere. I would highly recommend it to any developer or PM.

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