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. On the subject of the future of Java: Some, including’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. 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. 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.” 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? 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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