Don't Give us your Tired Your Poor

by Daniel H. Steinberg

I'm getting tired of guys who have done just a little bit of Ruby telling us that Java isn't cool. I'm ok with Java not being cool but the examples I keep seeing (other than the Rails examples) are how much faster you can write "Hello World" in Ruby than in Java. I'm not here to refute that - Ruby does look cool and it is on my list of languages to learn.

I'm currently having a blast playing with Smalltalk. I should have taken the time to learn it long ago. I'm sure Smalltalk will help me when it's time to tackle Obj C and Ruby and it is already improving the Java code that I write. Despite those benefits, the real reason I'm finally seriously looking at Smalltalk is because I want to teach my eldest daughter to program with Squeak, Croquet, and Scratch. These are some killer environments - there is a lot of "cool" left in this aging programming language.

It's not just the Ruby guys who have been picking on Java as not being a cool language - it's all those Perl guys. There are a lot of things wrong with Java, but having the Perl guys lecture us on what's cool would be like me telling my wife which shoes to wear with some outfit.

In any case, I think I'm hypersensitive about this right now because I'm trying to recruit cool Java talks for this year's OSCON in Portland. Now that Java is so commonly seen as an important part of many enterprise applications, that is all that folks see it as. I had breakfast last week with Head First Java authors Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates. They are working on a Java Champions project with Sun and Kathy is also on the program committee for OSCON. The three of us ran through a number of open source cool Java projects we'd like to see present at OSCON.

Sure, we're going to also look at the Harmony and Eclipse proposals - but give us something to show these Ruby and Perl folks. Give us something to show them that Java is still a compelling language and programming environment. Submit your cool Open Source Java proposals to OSCON today.


2006-01-23 12:17:13

Thatís fine, us Perl guys feel the same about the Java guys. :-)

2006-01-23 20:23:22
Right on, man!
Hi Dan -

I couldn't agree more. I am still with the Java faithful and laugh at all the silly Ruby folks! I am doing a Web 2.0-style startup on 100% Java (but in reality, 99% open source!) Java is better than all other languages because everything I could ever want is in open source - no matter what problem I run across. I wouldn't dream of hacking around in a scripting language - I'd rather have a full toolshed of free stuff than the freedom to rewrite everything from Jakarta! :-)

Ed Lyons

2006-01-23 20:25:07
Right on, man!
P.S. That should be the session! "Doing a Web 2.0 startup in Java"
2006-01-24 01:24:38
Right on, man!
"Java is better than all other languages because everything I could ever want is in open source - no matter what problem I run across."

So where's the Java equivalent of CPAN ( then?


2006-01-24 04:22:39
Itís all available and 99% open source in Java! As opposed to the hackish scripting languages! Where itís 100% open source!

Letís see a Java guy replicate cpan -i Log::Log4Perl; perldoc Log::Log4Perl

2006-01-24 07:34:27
Re: CPAN is for perl as Maven is for java.
CPAN is for perl.
as Maven is for java.

The Main site:
The repository:

2006-01-26 15:08:58
I just ripped through the "Agile Develoment with Ruby on Rails" book. Spent some time lurking in their forums and mailing lists... And I gotta say there isn't anything in RoR that isn't borrowed from J2EE and the advantages ( and disadvantages ) that come with with weak typing. RoR is basically Tomcat, Hibernate, JUnit, Ant, and JavaDoc ( on crack ) without having to figure out that you need all these technologies, then having to download and configure them, and learning them the hard way.

The only advantage that I see in RoR is it's Evangelist community. There are some very smart, and more importantly, enthusiastic and freindly people leading the RoR community. Ruby is fun because it's advocates are fun, while Java is boaring because, well let's face it, the Java community is about as dead and dry as dirt.

A smile and a few beers could sure do alot for J2EE.

As far as Perl goes... anybody writing web apps in Perl these days really needs to rethink their strategy. Great language, but it's still pretty much WRITE ONLY.