Java forever! 12 keys to Java's enduring dominance

Haters and hipsters beware: This cross-platform curly-bracket relic never lost its app-dev mojo


Sun finished releasing most of the code under the GPL in 2007; since then, the company and its eventual new owner Oracle have tried to be what it thinks of as a good steward of the language. Oh sure, that public façade didn't stop Oracle from dragging Google into a legal mess, but otherwise, the platform is largely open and free.

Haters abound, but Java rolls on

Java certainly has its share of problems and Java haters will abound, spilling their blood all over online comment boards. The garbage collector can cause hiccups and jitter. The typing system is a chore and can't stop truly bad code. The annotations are too complex. The features don't evolve as quickly as they did in the past. Curly brackets add clutter. The list is long and often justified.

Yet no one has come along with enough breadth and depth to serve as a strong competitor. While it is easy to fix some of the complaints, the fixes usually introduce problems of their own. The closest may be JavaScript, which is finding new traction on the server through the lightning-fast Node.js. The ideas, though, can be translated and programmers can use them to write lightning-fast Java, too.

In the end, this is one of the advantages of Java. It runs everything and is open to change. You can replace most parts of the libraries with your own code if you need different functionality. The language is open source and very flexible. Whatever limitations the language and the platform have can be solved relatively easily. This means that Java programmers continue to be some of the most productive. Even though the books no longer dominate the best-seller list and the software updates don't come as frequently, Java continues to live and even thrive.

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