Welcome to a week of Java

To celebrate Java's 20th birthday, we've lined up a series of new articles, along with a guide to some of the best Java content we've offered in recent years

Java programming language

Check the Tiobe Index, the widely accepted barometer of programming language popularity, and it's right there for you to see: 20 years after Java debuted, the language enjoys a place of honor at the top of the list.

That extraordinary staying power is one reason we've decided to make a big deal about Java's 20th birthday. We all know that JavaScript and its variants, led by Node.js -- along with Python and hip new languages such as Google Go -- get most of the attention. But Java keeps plugging away and remains the heart of much enterprise application development, particularly for mission-critical systems. More recently, Oracle and the Eclipse Foundation are making a high-profile effort to give Java a second life as the language of choice for the Internet of things.

We kick off this week with Paul Krill's feature article, "Java at 20: The programming juggernaut rolls on," which provides a capsule history of Java plus an assessment of its current state and a review of its various legal and security tribulations. As Paul notes, Java completely missed the boat on mobile, but has defended itself on other fronts by continually adding features -- such as the support for Lambda expressions, streams, and functional interfaces in Java 8. For a preview of what Java 9 may hold, see Paul's slideshow: "9 proposed Java 9 features devs will love."

Arun Gupta, who worked on the Java team at Sun in the late '90s, notes in Paul's feature article that "the biggest success of Java is the platform, the JVM itself." InfoWorld's Serdar Yegulalp explores that angle tomorrow, May 19, when his story "Java at 20: The JVM, Java's other big legacy" goes live. In it, he examines the JVM's HotSpot engine as well as the Java alternatives that have made a name for themselves running in the JVM, including Clojure, Scala, and Groovy. On Thursday, May 21, Elliotte Rusty Harold, a Java developer and author of a dozen Java books, offers his own in-depth tribute to Java.

How much do we love Java? Enough for me to point to a bunch of other great long-form content we've published recently. Have a look at:

"Review: The big 4 Java IDEs compared": Less than five months old, this comparison of Eclipse, NetBeans, JDeveloper, and IntelliJ IDEA stands among the most popular reviews we've published. Java developer and InfoWorld contributor Rick Grehan pulls no punches as he weighs the pros and cons of the four best-known IDEs.

"Java forever! 12 keys to Java's enduring dominance": InfoWorld contributor Peter Wayner offers his take on the political as well as technical factors that have kept Java in the limelight for so many years.

"Java vs. Node.js: An epic battle for developer mind share": More recently, Peter analyzed the server-side challenge Java has faced from the JavaScript upstart Node.js. Java emerges as the rock-solid stalwart, though Node.js gets a few licks in as well. (Read the many comments to this story for further enlightenment.)

"15 things we hate about Java": Yes, we also have a sense of humor about Java, with Peter Wayner providing the snark in this case. Check it out and judge for yourself how much you think is fair and how much is simply bait for the Java fanboys.

Finally, for everything Java, allow me to point you to InfoWorld's sister site, JavaWorld. Relaunched 18 months ago under the able management of editor Athen O'Shea, JavaWorld has held its position as the No. 1 source of news and information about Java for nearly as long as the language has existed -- with a classic series of tutorials that remain a mainstay of the site -- plus lively contributions from the likes of Jeff Friesen and Dustin Marx. For a look at the future of Java and the Internet of things, it's hard to beat Cameron Laird's JavaWorld article "Java: The once and future king of Internet programming," which delves into the relationship between Java and embedded systems.

Java has had a long and productive run, with no end in sight, particularly in hardcore enterprise development. We hope you find this week's InfoWorld tribute to Java productive and fun.

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