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Top Reasons Why People Think Java Un-Cool - Debunked

Top Reasons Why People Think Java Un-Cool - Debunked

Paul Graham's Great Hackers essay has really touched a lot of people's nerves. The wires are choked with people giving their point of view.

Yet again, though, I have had to stop and think - what is it about Java that makes people brand it as the most un-cool language on earth? I have had friends look at me like I was a poor sod for "having to" develop in Java. So, let me list all the reasons I can think why people consider Java un-cool.

Java has considerably fewer surprises and prefers not to add complexity to the language for rarely used features thereby resulting in a language where you cannot really make your friends go ga-ga at amazingly brief programming constructs. You need to write something substantial [like Gosling's Huckster] for them be to impressed with your programming abilities and not your language knowledge. This is probably the biggest reason Java is un-cool. It's too easy (although programming or software development remains as tough as ever). Java was always touted as the language that the "average" IT programmer can use. It's such a language-for-the-masses that yet again, it fails the "geek" test. And if you use Java, so do you.

Java has been considered slow for ages. The earlier allegations (1995) were true. However, with the recent advancements in the JVMs from Sun and IBM, Java runs pretty close to C/C++. Check this benchmark. Contrary to this, there are other benchmarks that prove that Java is slower. All considered, it would be fair to say that Java cannot be considered "slow" anymore, yet its stuck with the label.
How cool is to be the jock with the second fastest race-car in the block?

Swing disasters continue to give Java a bad name. Swing is a brilliant, although hard to learn, API. But the vast majority of Swing applications are so bad that they give Swing and therefore Java a bad name.

Java is a strongly typed language therefore you have to tell the compiler exactly what you intend to use. And if you make a mistake in the way you use it, the compiler has the guts to tell you that you were wrong. Too much chaperoning?

Java has a vast library that is available to all Java developers without any ambiguity. Thus, if you wrote yet another Map you would not be considered a data structures guru by Java programmers but a guy who hasn't heard of java.util.*.

Java did not have a good IDE that compared with MS Visual Studio. I think this one was true. I am not so sure it is any more with IntelliJ. The absence of good tools probably pushed away a lot of good programmers.

Java is popular. Anything that is popular has lost its elite status and therefore is not cool.

Java is an application programming platform. You cannot do cool things like device drivers and games, etc (until recently - but Java gaming is coming in a big way).
 

More Stories By Sachin Hejip

Sachin Hejip, an architect with Sonic Software, is currently part of Sonic's ESB tooling intiative where he is leading a team of engineers develop Eclipse plug-ins to take Sonic ESB development to the next level. A recipient of Pramati's highest award for technical excellence, the Pramati Fellowship, he has been a core member of the Pramati engineering team where he led the Web Server intiative and has been a key member of the Pramati Studio R&D team. He has a keen interest in development tools and was the architect of the IDE's parser framework, which formed the base of his implementation of the code completion and Java/J2EE Refactoring tool set. He has designed and developed Pramati's paradigm of J2EE development called "Express Development" including the server-agnostic deployment framework.

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