I just finished going through a class I run into the future of programming languages by reading Beyond Java by Bruce Tate. In Beyond Java, Bruce makes the point, repeatedly, that Java will not be the reigning programming language of choice for ever. Bruce ‘predict’ that developer will move to more consistent dynamic languages such as Ruby and simple frameworks such as Rails. The book is pretty much a treatise of why static strong-type languages like Java suck. I agree with Bruce that Java will eventually be replaced with something else, I mean that is just that nature of evolution but I also feel that this book was 100 pages to long and $25 overpriced. He just repeats what nay sayers have been saying for a long time. His main arguments against Java are that the language is not as productive as alternatives, that Java is not a complete OO language because of primitives, and that there is simply too much to learn to develop an interesting web app. Basically his argument is that Java is a strongly type static language and we ought to be looking into more dynamic alternatives. I agree with all his points. I started this blog because of all the things I need to know and remember in a typical day at work, everything from JUnit, Ant, XML, CruiseControl, Hibernate, Spring, libraries and on an on.
Bruce himself writes that “the whole premise of this book is arrogant beyond belief.” I agree with him there also but only because Beyond Java is priced $24.95, a book that repeats itself a little too much and provides no new ideas. There are way to many bandwagon technical writers these days and solid tutorials on Ruby on Rails that I feel that this book should have been at least 100 pages shorter and made freely available online. After reading Beyond Java, all I have to say is that I really hate popular programming writers. Let me save you $25 and tell you that Java will not last forever, that you should looking into dynamic languages such as Ruby and start developing web applications on Ruby on Rails or continuation servers such as Seaside. In a sense start programming using The Hype Framework.
I once heard a joke that a consultant will tell what books programmers are reading by looking at the code. Consultants will know you read this book, or any of Bruce’s other books for that matter, just by one comment.
// Programming is like Kayaking.