Alex on Java

August 25, 2004

Not that I shouldn’t let this particular sleeping dog lie… but I must link to Alex’s energetic, informed, and cautiously optimistic essay on Java. He’s neither a Java-lover nor a Java-hater — just a guy making a living with the tools he’s given, but wishing for more.

Regarding point #3: I am constantly tickled by the Java posse’s propensity to jump right to an argument that we might as well call, “Those Other Sucky Java Devs Are Always Bringing Us Down, Man”. I don’t personally judge any programming language by its most rancid fruits — and come on, if that were the case then PHP would definitely be among the stinkiest — and I give other programmers the benefit of the doubt in their ability to distinguish between a crappy implementation and a crappy technology. That said, there are a lot of pragmatic reasons not to choose a technology if it can only produce satisfactory results in the hands of a master according to its own greatest proponents. The flurry of dismissive “those guys didn’t know what they were doing, they aren’t GOOD Java developers” comments that invariably accompanies discussion of any un-lovely Java project would concern me if I were a member of that community.

And come on… people thinking Java is uncool because of bad Swing clients??!?! WTF. I only know of a couple of programs I could identify as Swing clients in the first place — IntelliJ, Morphon’s XML editor, and Yahoo’s website making tool — and I thought they were all rather fine. How about Java being considered uncool because its competitive advantage lies in big, deeply unsexy enterprise apps? Just a thought.

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