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8/2/2015
12:06 PM
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Java: 7 Powerful Features For The Future

Java, unleashed in 1991, has become one of the world's most-used programming languages. Here are seven key features that will keep it viable in a world of supercomputing, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.
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(Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

(Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Java. No other language defines the Web age of applications quite as thoroughly as this programming tool, which came to life alongside the World Wide Web. From its birth in 1991 at Sun Microsystems (which was purchased by Oracle), the language designed by James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton has been a key part of many enterprise application efforts. Nearly 25 years on, does Java still deserve to be part of your development plans?

Java's main benefit has always been the promise of WORA: Write Once, Run Anywhere. In simple terms, this means a development team could write an application in Java and compile it into executable form, then have that executable run on any Java-enabled platform. It's a very, very efficient way of programming, but that efficiency does carry a few costs.

One of the major costs is that access to low-level machine hardware must be limited in order for WORA to work. Universal compatibility requires abstraction, and abstraction tends to be paid for in the currency of performance. Java's distance from the hardware is a key reason that C++ remains a major development language, often alongside Java. But that's only one cost. The other big cost might well be one that places major limits on Java's future.

[ The legacy continues. Read Fortran: 7 Reasons Why It's Not Dead. ]

Java applications often run in a browser window, and that familiar browser interface is one of the reasons so many enterprise developers use Java for their applications. The problem is that Java becomes part of browsers through the plug-in architecture, and that architecture is going away. The new Microsoft Edge browser doesn't allow for any plug-ins. Chrome now severely limits plug-ins. Other browsers are likely to follow suit. So does this mean that Java is over?

No, Java isn't over. Java applications will still run fine as separate, stand-alone applications. The sheer tonnage of existing Java code means that thrifty developers (and development managers) will be using Java for a long time to come. What do you need to know about Java, then?

Software development and the languages used for programming constantly evolve. Java is part of that evolution. Let's take a look at some of the major issues surrounding Java today and see how they might affect your development efforts.

Are you coding in Java? What do you think about its future? Let me know what you think -- and what you think I missed in my list. I'll see you in the comments section below.

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

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javabeans
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javabeans,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/14/2015 | 10:01:10 AM
Java did not appear in 2001 ....
It first appeared in 2005. This year is the 20th anniversary of Java. 

 
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2015 | 3:43:58 PM
Re: Java and Web Base Development

Thanks everyone for their insight into Java past, present and future.  I will keep plugging away !  ( No pun intended ! )

Wolf29
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Wolf29,
User Rank: Strategist
8/3/2015 | 1:46:13 PM
Re: Java and Web Base Development
Java has a lot of adopters, and it is probably not going away soon.  I would like to see the Oracle folks hard-EOL the versions of Java, as apps that use it get more unsafe with age, and they are kept, in some cases, for a very long time.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2015 | 1:30:57 PM
Re: Java and Web Base Development
@Technocrati, could not agree more interesting info about Java...
Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2015 | 1:20:24 PM
WORSA
In the 90's, we used to call it Write Once Run Slow Anywhere. My main gripe with java is how verbose it is compared to other options. A secondary one is that it seems like one needs about 17 different frameworks to even start building anything.

Having said all that, I actually like Java quite a bit. With its use in mobile and IoT, its definitely not going away any time soon. This coming modularity will bear watching.

Love these programmer-centric articles lately!
mtrenzi
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mtrenzi,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/3/2015 | 11:14:57 AM
Plugin Shmuggin - Java's Sweet Spot is in Backend/Server Apps
The original intent for Java was as an applet technology for the browser, but those apps have played a minor role in the use of Java as a programming language.  Developers have for a long time moved way beyond that and toward web applications - where the java application is deployed in an appserver such as Tomcat, JBoss, among many others.  Using frameworks such as Struts, Spring, and Hibernate, give developers great flexibility when designing scalable applications.   Java code for non-trivial applications lends itself to well organized packages. 

I have routinely developed enterprise applications on Windows platforms and easily - without code changes - deployed the same applicaiton on Linux or other OS platforms. 

 
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2015 | 10:54:55 AM
Java and IoT: Lucky or Cunning ?

@Curtis    Did Java luck out in the IoT realm or Were they position themselves for this all along ?

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2015 | 10:52:08 AM
Java and Web Base Development
Very interest review of Java 7.  As someone who is in the process of learning Java, I have to sometimes wonder if it will work as a efficient solution for web based app development  

I have since decided to concentrate on HTML 5 for web based mobile app development but it is good to know that even though Window 10 will not support it in the browser - there are tons of useful applications for Java and still reason to invest the time in learning the language as well.
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