java follies [was: PHP vs Perl (Put on flame proof gear)]

Bryan Sant bryan.sant at
Mon Mar 20 17:40:19 MST 2006

On 3/20/06, Jonathan Ellis <jonathan at> wrote:
> Because your pseudocode is always syntactically correct, right? :P


> Dude, you're so emotionally involved that you're grasping at straws
> here.  Only you can't see it.

Say what you will, but I prefer to stick to the facts when comparing languages.

> Sounds nice in theory.  And probably has the desired effect, on newbies.
>  Use java or you'll wipe your hard disk!  Oh noooooooooooooeeeees!
> Now who's exaggerating for effect? :P

Yes, the hard disk things is a dramatic example.  The real world
ramifications are far more subtle and difficult to track down.

> As long as we're hand-waving, it's just as easy for me to picture a Java
> HardDisk class implementing a Deletable interface, and because layers of
> abstraction is always a Good Thing, our hypothetical method will of
> course take a Deletable interface instead of a concrete class type, and
> happily wipe the disk anyway.
> In practice this sort of thing just isn't a problem you find in the
> wild, dynamic language or no.

This is true.  You would have the same problem in your scenario.

> Back when Java was new, the C++ old guard's knee-jerk reaction that
> garbage collection Will Never Work.  Now the java developers are the old
> guard, and they're just as afraid of change as the C++ developers they
> replaced.

I'm not saying that Java isn't being challenged by up and coming
concepts.  The language of the future is coming -- it will replace
Java -- but I haven't seen it yet.  Everything that I've see so far
has some good ideas, but it's not so compelling that I must switch. 
When moving from C++ to Java, that was the case.  Java really had
something to offer that was unique and compelling.  I was a late comer
to Java and that served me well.  I didn't leave C++ until it was
obvious to do so.  I'm just waiting for that to be true of another
contending language.

I honestly like hearing about the up and comers.  It's cool.  I agree.
 But I still have my reservations.  And I'd like as much honesty as
possible when comparing language X to Java.  And let's face it... 
Java *is* the man to beat.

But telling me how productive I'll be once I dump my auto-completing,
refactoring capable, integrated API documentation,
compile-and-warn-as-I-type IDE to switch to language X in vim is
bogus.  My productivity would tank.  And so would the runtime
performance of my apps in most cases.

So where is the value of not using Java with static typing?  I write
code more quickly than otherwise and that code runs faster...  And as
a side benefit, I'm more employable than any alternative.

> Now you're confusing "dynamic typing" with "no typing," but I still
> can't resist pointing out that to sqlite, everything IS a string,
> internally.  And...  it works just fine.

Neato.  And I'm sure that baby screams too.


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