Former CNET developers Dan Seewer and Kevin Cobb debate the future of their favorite programming language, Java, and the value of Visual J#.NET. They also disagree over which language is best for up-and-comers to learn. Dan has more than 17 years of experience in software development, including Perl, C, Java, and C#. Kevin has more than five years of experience and is a Sun-certified Java programmer.
Builder.com: On the subject of the future of Java: Some, including Builder.com's Lamont Adams, have suggested that trouble for Sun means trouble for Java. Agree, disagree, and are you worried?
Dan: I saw that statement. First, Sun has $4 billion (in the bank).
Kevin: I don't think there is much that Sun could do to hurt Java.
Dan: Sun isn't going anywhere, but it does need to change. The company needs to become more like IBM in the services arena if it wants to thrive.
Builder.com: Where does Visual J#.NET fit in?
Dan: It doesn't fit in anywhere. In my opinion, that language will be worthless.
Kevin: It appears to be a translator of sorts between Java and C# and to be a poor attempt to get Java shops onto .NET.
Builder.com: And this is a bad idea?
Dan: They're targeting the Java developers to jump back on the Microsoft version of the language. It's not going to happen.
Kevin: In my opinion, it's just another layer in the development process where something can go wrong.
Dan: If you're in a Microsoft shop, you aren't going to consider that language. You'll use more mainstream ones (such as C# and VB). I'd like to hear from any Builder members if they're using this "tool."
Builder.com: If you had to advise an aspiring developer, what would be the one language you'd tell that person to learn?
Kevin: I tell aspiring developers to learn VB first. It's easy to grasp, and you can get something coded pretty quickly. This gives coders immediate gratification.
Dan: I would tell that person to learn an object-oriented programming language—Java, C#, or C++—and to get Web development on their resume. I disagree with the VB statement, Kevin.
Kevin: I recommend VB because it's a fast way to determine whether you're going to like programming.
Dan: I guess you're allowed your opinion.
Kevin: Why put the effort into learning Java, C++, etc., if you're not going to like the profession?
Builder.com: Which pays better, Java or VB?
Kevin: Java. VB programmers are a dime a dozen.
Dan: I doubt many universities are teaching VB as part of their curriculum these days.
Kevin: I'll bet you're wrong. I'd be very surprised if they aren't teaching VB.
Dan: I'm thinking more about as a requirement for a CIS degree. As an elective, [universities] may offer VB, but not as part of their core curriculum.
Kevin: I might give you that last one, but I'm still skeptical.
Do Sun's problems mean big trouble for Java?
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