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the bogus Java-vs-everything argument


"Java is done for! Ruby will take over! PHP will rule! Perl wins!" ... and so forth. I have seen discussions on this topic for the last few months, so many that I won't even bother linking to them. If you read news, or, work in the tech sector and are, well, alive in any way, you'll know what I'm talking about.

The extreme argument goes like this: Java is becoming irrelevant, soon to be replaced by scripting languages such as Ruby and PHP.

The more measured argument says that Java is no longer on "the leading edge" of languages and has ceded that position to Ruby and PHP and so forth.

The extreme language is of course ridiculous. Java is not going to be "replaced" by Ruby or PHP anymore that Java "replaced" C++ or C in the mid-90's. Will Ruby, PHP, etc, replace Java for lots of tasks, including rapid web app development, prototyping and such? Sure. Is that one language "replacing" another outright? I don't think so.

In my view, Java has evolved into its current position as the new "systems language". Other languages (yes: Ruby, PHP, etc) are taking precedence in the building of new lightweight web apps for various purposes. It's probably fair to say that the leading edge of development exists in these web 2.0-ish style of apps, which puts Java in the backseat a bit in that category.

In other areas, such as advanced IDEs for the language, Java wipes the floor with pretty much any language, which helps for many types of development.

But so what? Each language and tool has its place. Instead of useless pissing contests, we should be focusing on how to make these various languages and tools interoperate and complement each other better.

Update: Python! Damn, I forgot about Python. Blame the lack of sleep or something. The magic trio these days is definitely Python, Ruby, and PHP. Thanks Joe for the reminder! :) And while I'm updating, what is up with reporters comparing Java, or Ruby, PHP, Python, etc, to AJAX? I don't get that at all. Do they not understand that AJAX is a client-side scripting technique?

Acme coffee challenge update: 12 hours, 24 cups. Not bad.

Posted by diego on January 9, 2006 at 5:07 AM

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