Last week, Java became the dominant language on the SourceForge site for the first time, surpassing C++ in the number of projects on the repository of open-source projects site.
As of last Thursday, Java surpassed C++ with 16,738 projects versus 16,731 for C++.
Officials at Sun Microsystems Inc., the creator and steward of the Java platform, called the achievement “a clear sign of vibrant growth” and participation in the Java developer community.
In an interview with eWEEK, James Gosling, a Sun fellow, vice president, chief technology officer of the companys developer products group, and “father” of the Java language, said it is surely significant “when C and C++ drop below Java usage in SourceForge, which is actually like the Galactic Home Central of the Linux crowd.”
Gosling said he thinks changes in the Sun licensing model to open-source many of its developer technologies has helped to boost Java usage. “Changes to the licensing to make all this stuff freely available” has helped, he said. “The pattern is you make these things freely available and experimenters will try them out,” and maybe begin to use them regularly, he said.
“The Java world has been pretty entertaining,” Gosling said. “The momentum is still hard to fathom at some level.”
Meanwhile, Gosling said Sun is doing its part to address developer demand for lighter-weight programming models and to support development for the Web 2.0 craze. He mentioned support for AJAX (Asynchronous Java and XML) in Suns Java Studio Creator tool, and support for rapid development strategies in the Java Enterprise Studio toolset.
Moreover, Sun and the Java community are working to give developers more choice, not only through lightweight programming models like Spring and Hibernate, but also through enhanced tooling.
“Its a complicated thing,” Gosling said of the dilemma the community faces over continuing to support the heavyweight J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) technology while also taking advantage of simpler solutions.
“J2EE was set up to handle these very sophisticated large-scale sites,” but is not for everybody or every task, he said. “So one of the reactions has been these simpler frameworks,” he added. “But another is to do more with the APIs and the tools,” Gosling said.