Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Sematext Blog

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Michael Yuan's Java Blog: "Is Ruby Replacing Java? – Not So Fast"

"I do not think [RoR] will replace Java in web applications."

Is Ruby Replacing Java? – Not So Fast

Okay, I have heard it all: Ruby On Rails (RoR) is so much cooler and simpler than Java EE. It allows you to write web applications 10X faster. And Ruby has nifty language features we can only dream of in Java. So, Ruby must be replacing Java to become the "next" programming language just as Java "replaced" C++/COBOL and C++ "replaced" Fortran.

Well, in my opinion, this kind of talk has some serious logical problems. First of all, as the short history of high technology has proven again and again, the "superior" solution does not always win over "inferior" ones. In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true. The question regarding to Ruby versus Java is NOT how much more advanced RoR is compared with Java EE -- the real question is whether Java EE is good enough for most developers.

The reason, in economics terms, is that the choice of a technically "better" programming language does not bring you competitive advantage in terms of overall cost and productivity. Instead, it matters far more to have better requirement gathering, better customer feedback, better development process, better trained developers, and better development tools (e.g., IDEs). In software engineering speak, the actual implementation of a system using a specific programming language has the lowest value in the value chain, and can be easily outsourced.

Okay, now you may ask: "If that is true and programming language does not matter, how come Java became so successful and replaced an array of older languages?" Well, did Java really "replace" any other language? I have recently been in graduate school for a science PhD program, and all the new bleeding-edge number crunching software we wrote was still Fortran. It is not being replaced by C++ or Java. Fortran is good enough and switching to a cooler language does not make scientific computing better / faster -- and the re-training cost for the entire team eliminates any potential productivity gain. Another example: for rich UI application developers, the dominant languages are still C / C++ / VB. Even heavily marketed languages like C# and VB.Net have little traction -- let alone Java.

So, my observation is that one language does NOT replace another one. The rise of a new programming language always comes with the opening of a new application area and an influx of new developers who are willing to try out a new language -- since there is simply no incumbent language in this brand new area. That is, you need to grow the big pie to make room for new languages. Fortran rises with scientific computing; Cobol rises with business computing; and Java rises with web applications. Is there a brand new computational field opening up for mass Ruby and RoR adoption? No. The software industry is not on the verge of another big expansion.

Now, Ruby is good at simplifying the development task for an already simple problem -- build simple database driven web applications. I firmly believe that Java is already good enough in this area. There is nothing a RoR web site can do that a Java web site cannot (Granted, there are things the Ruby language can do but Java cannot. But that does not concern web users in front of a browser). Java just takes a little more time for *beginners* to get started, and it scales to the high end and legacy applications. The cost to re-train the developers for RoR (language, framework and IDE tools) would not really justify the productivity gain. And work-arounds to scale RoR applications could be very costly.

Having said that, of course, Ruby and RoR are important technologies to learn in two aspects:

  • The most important impact Ruby/RoR will have is to drive the innovation in Java EE -- much the same way C# drives the Java 1.5 innovation. We are already seeing this happening.
  • For people who need to build many web sites quickly, e.g., consultants and startups, Ruby/RoR is a great tool to try out the ideas and get a quick beta/prototype to the market.
  • So, while I encourage every Java developers to learn Ruby / RoR, I do not think it will replace Java in web applications. Anyway, just my 2c.

    More Stories By Michael Juntao Yuan

    Michael Juntao Yuan is a member of JDJ's editorial board. He is the author of three books. His latest book, "Nokia Smartphone Hacks" from O'Reilly, teaches you how to make the most out of your mobile phone. He is also the author of "Enterprise J2ME" - a best-selling book on mobile enterprise application development. Michael has a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. He currently works for JBoss Inc. You can visit his Web site and blogs at www.MichaelYuan.com/.

    Comments (0)

    Share your thoughts on this story.

    Add your comment
    You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

    In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


    @ThingsExpo Stories
    WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
    Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
    Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
    "We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    "Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data professionals...
    Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
    As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
    "IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    @GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
    Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
    Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
    The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
    Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
    Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
    More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
    20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
    Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
    Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
    "ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.