Who Killed Java?

Posted by: Rea Maor In: Programming - Friday, June 11th, 2010

And what was the motive, anyway? Why do people hate Java?

Mainly because people want to attach so much drama to it. E.G. asking “Why do people hate Java?”

Stage one, mid-’90s: Java was HYPE! HYPE! HYPE! It will cure cancer and impotence and replace the Internet and bring peace to the middle East! “Java” becomes the first word every newborn baby speaks.

Stage two, late-’90s: Java is in fact a drop-in proprietary replacement for C/C++, with extra padding and Styrofoam packing to make sure you don’t hurt yourself. It is designed, from the first line, for the convenience of code-monkey farms. It smells of cubicles and fluorescent lighting. All of a sudden, you can’t get a job without Java certs, even to be a ditch-digger.

Stage-three, early-’00s: People suddenly discover that if you can do without C/C++, maybe you can do without C-like languages altogether! Renaissance, Lisp re-discovered, Python matures, Perl revisited, Javascript improved, the great language surge. Sun frantically waves its arms crying “No! We didn’t mean that at all!”

Stage-four, mid-’00s: Java becomes the great language nobody uses and everybody talks about. Like Paris Hilton, everybody can’t resist following its daily gossip. Java was caught with heroin in its purse! Java was seen sleeping with a Washington intern! Published blog posts about Java now outnumber all the lines of Java code ever written. Meanwhile Javascript is re-discovered, and with that, AJAX replaces Java as the four-letter buzzword of choice.

Stage-five, late-’00s: Sun, bleeding money like a speared mastodon, fires off the open-source escape-pod for Java as it falls down to be consumed by the Oracle-saurus. By then it’s too late. There are now ten other technologies that can do everything that we were promised Java would eventually do, without being encumbered by all the drama.

Seriously, outside of the enterprise (where it still dominates from stage two thanks to the zeal of pre-dot-com-bubble vendors) name one successful end-consumer product done in Java, not aimed at Java developers themselves. Popcap games, LimeWire, some mobile phone gizmos. Lots of web pages hosted on college campus servers running animations of fractals. And…?

The day people start treating it like just another programming language, in other words stop caring if anybody hates it or not, that’s the day people won’t be rubbed the wrong way by it anymore.

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