Sunday, July 11, 2004

Java Issues & Directions

Couple weeks ago our good friend Bruce Eckel gave a talk (real) regarding Java 1.5 at UC Berkley. It's quite long - about 2 hours 15 mins - but it's well worthwhile. Highly recommend it. He begins with a wide range of issues regarding what's wrong with Java and then goes on to new features in 1.5.

Some thoughts on the talk...

He mentioned Macromedia Flex on one slide and showed some code. I was surprised at how similar the MXML code looked to ASP .NET. He also compared it to what XAML is going to accomplish on Longhorn. I somehow feel like Flex is not going to be mainstream for web applications. It's very rare to see a web app use Flash/Shockwave for its front-end. As limiting as HTML, CSS and Javascript are, they will rule for a long time. Don't see anything displacing it anytime soon. We're just too used to it.

He said some stuff about Java's lack of acceptance on the client. AWT vs SWT vs Swing with different companies (ie. IBM vs Sun) supporting different API's. Goes back to the easyness thing I mentioned in a previous post. There should be one standard that makes it easy for devs right out of the box.

Rahul - could you explain the entire array of Java technologies that are out there. J2EE, J2SE, J2ME and how they differ from Java 1.1, Java 1.2 ... Java 1.5. Now they have Java 5.0 right? Also, what about JSP, EJB's and servelets and how are they connected to the versioning?

The Generics section was particularly interesting. He mentions some gripes about "Erasure" which is where Java looses the type information when compiling generic classes vs C++/C# retaining it. C#, although differening in the actual implementation of generics, is similar with Java in having constraints when declaring generic classes/methods.

Rahul - Couple of slides on Metadata/Attributes - Might explain better than just reading about it.

During his Concurency talk, he mentioned a bug that has been in Java since the first version in "volatile". I think that's a keyword. Anyway, when using these sorts of frameworks dyou trust it completely to be solid? I feel like those guys who wrote it are gods and know 2^20 times more that I do. I mean I could never for a sec imagine that if there is a bug I'm struggling with that the problem might actually be in the library.

Dinesh - He talked about the benefits of garbage collection and that the C++ committee might be tempted to include one in the next iteration of the C++ standard. Any news on this?

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