Language partisans debate

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-10-29 Print this article Print

Crupi, a respected J2EE architect, said, "I love what they have done with annotations and Web services."

Meanwhile, Hejlsberg, widely known for his language expertise, having created Turbo Pascal, Delphi and C#, said, "I respect that theres a kernel of simplicity in the Java system thats probably long since been drowned out by lots of libraries" like so many other systems.

The independent minded Knight quipped: "Its interesting they would comment on the simplicity because thats the part I thought was missing."

High then took one of the better shots of the day when he said, "I would love to have the benefit, the luxury of only having one platform to support. So if there was anything Id say I like about .Net is it has managed to remain myopic. There is a lot to be said for homogeneity."

The panel made for some lively debate and humor provided by Martin Fowler, chief scientist at ThoughtWorks Inc., who chaired the panel. For instance, both Box and Hejlsberg wore black shirts. Fowler said, "I see the Microsoft guys are dressed in black. Are they taking this evil empire thing a little too seriously?"

Other topics covered during the panel included dynamic languages, the impedance mismatch between object-oriented languages and relational databases, software versioning and Web services standards and security.

Hejlsberg said he is looking at dynamic languages or scripting languages for "some of the things we lost in the move from COM [Component Object Model] to .Net." However, he said, "Dynamic languages are more productive. Sure, you get the program written quicker, but you also get the runtime errors quicker. The code is sometimes buggy. Although, Im not trying to diss dynamic programming languages."

To read about some of the latest enhancement that Sun is adding to J2EE 1.5, click here. IBM has an interest in dynamic languages, said High. He said IBM is looking at making some provisions for languages like JavaScript and others, including Groovy, a dynamic language for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

Crupi said that although there is no plan to add dynamic languages to the Java platform, there is a Java Specification Request for Groovy, JSR-241, "and I anticipate there will be more of these dynamic languages in the future."

Knight said there seems to be a certain amount of confusion about what constitutes dynamic languages. He said one thing these languages do is provide "the ability to execute half-formed thoughts." In response, Box quipped, "Microsoft has been accused of shipping half-formed thoughts" for a long time.

Next Page: Both camps trade barbs.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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