Being who I am, and having the job I do, I find myself thinking about development often. Some of these thoughts graduate to become full-fledged articles here on Builder.com, but most remain stuck in my head in “thinking” state indefinitely. But they’re good thoughts nevertheless, and I hate to waste them. I’m not sure how many more I’ll get. So the other editors and I cooked up this new feature, “Live from LA,” where you’ll have a chance to get an unfiltered look at those (mostly) programming-related thoughts knocking around inside my head. You'll also be able to share some of your thoughts with me in kind of a group-think experience on an almost weekly basis. Let’s get started with my current thoughts for this week.
Trouble at Sun = trouble for Java?
I think that Java developers might have a little something to worry about in the recent reshuffling and turmoil at Sun. As one Builder.com member rather sarcastically pointed out recently, Java isn’t open source and belongs specifically to Sun. Should anything untoward happen to the company, it’s unclear, to me anyway, what the future of the language would be. I wouldn’t be surprised at all by a splintering of the Java community in that event, which couldn’t be a good thing. I doubt whether anyone out there is wishing for the likes of IBM to take the reins of the JCP, so what happens if Sun goes under?
I think that Microsoft’s most recent attempt to lure Java developers over to the .NET platform (J#.NET) and subsequent claims that the platform now supports Java are pretty pathetic. It should be blatantly obvious to everyone that J#.NET is nothing but a warmed-over J++ complete with the API extensions that got Microsoft in trouble in the first place. Is there really anyone out there who’s lining up for a chance to write applications using a two-year-old version of Java? And since when does supporting a language’s basic syntax and nothing else constitute platform support? Give me a break.
I think that, despite my previous comment and the fact that I’m still not quite sure how best to explain what .NET really is, I still like it as a development platform, and I think it’s still the best option for Windows development. With .NET, Microsoft has finally hit upon a coherent, consistent plan for building tiered applications on Windows, and it's finally insulated the operating system from the ill-behaved apps that run upon it. Of course the platform’s support for Web services finally opens up the possibility of language-agnostic front and back ends of an application, despite the fact that…
Web services: Where’s the beef?
…no one seems to be using them. I think I’m going to contradict myself again by saying that, so far, the promises made by those hyping Web services have amounted to only so much hot air. There’s still a lot of excitement surrounding them, but not many people actually appear to be working on any major projects yet. The promise of “dynamically built applications,” where an app examines the services available and chooses the best one to use under the circumstances, hasn’t been fulfilled yet either, largely due to squabbles over security and transaction control standards. I hope this doesn't turn into another “Beta or VHS.”
The curse of Bambi Francisco?
I think CBS MarketWatch columnist Bambi Francisco has a singularly nasty power. I’ve noticed that both previous announcements of layoffs here at CNET were preceded by a mention of the company in Ms. Francisco’s column. I can think of a few other companies for which a similar coincidence has occurred. If I were you, I’d be worried if she happens to mention your employer.
I like getting feedback
Hey, you, behind the monitor. Let me know what’s rattling around in your head. Send me an e-mail or post to the discussion below.