Levi Pearson levi at
Tue Feb 13 14:11:59 MST 2007

Since you didn't reply to the other points I made, I will assume that
you now realize that the Java tools, although they are really very
nice and possibly the most advanced available tools of their kind, are
not revolutionary.  Most of the features you listed above existed in
Smalltalk systems, some of them going back to the 80s.  The HotSpot
technology that makes Java so fast was borrowed from Smalltalk-related
code, too.  The success of Java was due to a marketing coup at a time
when the Smalltalk vendors made poor business decisions, not any real
technical superiority.  It has since developed tools beyond where
Smalltalk was, but the language is still not as nice as Smalltalk, at
least in my humble opinion. :)

On 2/13/07, Bryan Sant <bryan.sant at> wrote:
> On 2/13/07, Levi Pearson <levi at> wrote:
> > Java is indeed a rather nice language for a lot of uses, and if I had
> > to use it for something, I wouldn't complain too loudly.  And I find
> > Eclipse to be a pretty nice environment for writing Java code.  But to
> > suggest that Java is somehow the pinnacle of software engineering
> > technology strikes me as absurd.
> I'm not trying to argue that Java is the best.  My argument is more
> like, "Java is as good as any other when using an IDE, and it'll
> likely run faster."  If you're looking for Lisp, you'll obviously not
> find it in Java.  But, you're assuming that people want Lisp.  Most
> don't.  People want an easy to use and understand language with an
> intuitive IDE to code and debug with.  They want a runtime that is
> fast.  They want a comprehensive library.  They want popular, well
> understood frameworks.

You say you're not trying to argue that Java is the best, but it
certainly looks like you are to me.  Go ahead and protest if you like,
but no one believes you.  As for me, I've never said anything to
suggest that I think people want to use Lisp.  Clearly, most people
don't, whether out of ignorance or preference.  Really, that's fine
with me, though I'd be happy to talk Lisp with someone who wanted to
learn it.  And, by the way, Common Lisp runtimes are very fast.

> They get all of these things with Java.  Is Java perfect, or even the
> "pinnacle of software engineering tech"?  No, but it meets all of the
> needs of most professional developers and then some.  Can Java be
> improved?  Yes, it currently is, and will continue to be in the future
> (GPL).
> Don't like Java syntax or paradigm?  Great, use Groovy, or JRuby, or
> JavaScript, or BeanShell.  They'll likely outperform your C-based
> runtime and you get to leverage most of the advantages I listed above.

The JVM, thanks to HotSpot and the other new dynamic optimization and
garbage collection technologies, is indeed a very nice platform for
statically-typed languages.  Hopefully it will evolve into a very nice
platform for dynamically-typed languages, too.  I've got nothing bad
to say about it, aside from the fact that it's still rather
Java-centric.  But this, again, is an incremental improvement.  I'm
happy that the technology is being used, though, instead of just
rotting in some old codebase somewhere, and I hope that it grows
better support for dynamically-typed languages.


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