David R. Heffelfinger

  Ensode Technology, LLC

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Reports of Java's Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

It seems like every other day a new article or blog post comes out declaring Java as a dead language. Every time I read one of these articles, I scratch my head in confusion. Are these people serious? If Java is so dead then why is there so much demand for it?

What does it mean for a language to be dead anyway? Is it that there is no demand for programmers with expertise in the language? If this is the case, then Java is definitely not dead since I routinely get emails out of the blue from companies looking for Java developers. I have been doing contract work since the late 1990's, and I move from one project to the next with ease, in most cases I have several offers before my current project is over. Therefore in this sense, Java is not dead.

Is a programming language dead if it's not evolving? If that's the case Java is certainly not dead.  JDK 7 is just around the corner, and there are so many Java libraries out there, which release new versions periodically. Java is still very much evolving and improving, therefore in this sense Java is definitely not dead.

I can't think of any other reason why a programming language may be considered "dead", other than lack of demand for expertise or lack of evolution, therefore I'm pretty certain that Java is very much alive and well.

Perhaps the bloggers and reporters declaring Java's demise are actually doing us Java developers a favor, the less Java developers out there, the less competition for Java projects, which would in turn increase the demand (and billing rate) of us Java programmers. Keep stating that Java is dead folks, me, my colleagues (and our bank accounts) will thank you.


I think the question of what "Java is dead" means has been discussed thousands of times already.

Sure, Java is so popular that people will never stop using it, like COBOL.
But like COBOL, Java isn't the place anymore where innovation is happening. That's what meant when people say "Java is dead".

On the JVM, Scala is the place were all the impressive and interesting stuff is brought from academia to mainstream.
Think of Scala as a better Java, without all the legacy problems and the design mistakes, fully object-oriented unlike Java, with a very clean and concise syntax and well ahead of C#, "Java's competitor on .NET".

People will still develop Java in hundred years from now, like they will do in COBOL, ABAP or C.
But there is no reason to start a green-field project in Java anymore, it is just a waste of time and manpower.

Posted by steve on March 17, 2011 at 11:20 AM EDT #

Yes, Java is evolutionarily dead. It cannot move too far beyond constraints built into the language itself without adding a burdensome level of complexity, as witnessed in the difficulties producing Java 7.

Posted by on March 18, 2011 at 05:46 PM EDT #

While Java the language could be argued to be stagnating, the JVM is alive, well and vital. Clojure for example.

People like Steve associate themselves with some other programming language that they, of course, think is superior. Therefore it makes them feel superior to knock Java down a notch. It is immature, but we have to deal with a lot of different types of personality defects in the career path we have chosen.

Posted by rj on March 20, 2011 at 02:07 AM EDT #

You should look at what Forrester Research has to say about Java.

You can download their presentation for free.


Posted by Nervous Cat on March 30, 2011 at 11:21 AM EDT #

cause i couldnt find the proper subject i wrote it here...thnaks for the unlocker for excel spreadsheets..:)

Posted by manos on April 06, 2011 at 01:23 PM EDT #

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