The Death of Java

This entry was posted by Tuesday, 24 November, 2015
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For 20 years, Java has been a popular programming language with Oracle claiming it to run over 3 billion devices.  Now, I believe Java is almost dead, and I’ll go into a few reasons why.

First of all, the 3 billion devices claim is misleading.  While Java may be installed on that many devices, it’s really C and C++ that truly run those devices and make them work.  Most people (even developers) don’t realize that Java is itself written in C++.

The main catalyst of the death of Java was Google dropping Java support in its Chrome web browser in September.  Microsoft followed suit with its Microsoft Edge web browser in Windows 10.  Firefox, the last remaining browser with Java support is dropping it by the end of next year, 2016.  At that point, Java web sites will no longer function, so most web sites that rely on Java are being rewritten using the latest web technologies like HTML5 and JavaScript (which is not related to Java at all, except for a similar name).

Now that Java isn’t in use on the web anymore, fewer and fewer developers will be developing Java applications.  We are seeing a decline in server use of Java as well since it doesn’t perform as well as C/C++ and PHP at a large scale.  Java requires a JVM (Java Virtual Machine) to run, which adds an extra layer of software that slows things down.

Finally, the whole point of Java was supposedly to write your software once and be able to run it anywhere.  The reality is that Java fell fall short of that goal by having different JVMs running on different hardware and even operating systems (Windows, Linux, Mac, etc.).  So, each JVM would behave differently or support features that other JVMs would not.  So, now, you’re at the same point as languages like C/C++ where you have to write your software differently depending on where it will run, defeating Java’s sole purpose.  Plus, now, your software is several times slower than it would have been if you wrote it in C++ to begin with.

For example, a Java program for Android is written completely different than the same Java program that runs on the web or on a Windows desktop.  C++ has much better support for different operating systems than Java does, and it’s faster.

The main reason Java took off was because software developers have gotten really lazy and liked the fact that Java did a lot of the work for them that they should do themselves, like memory management.  Skills like that are a must for any good developer to have because it forces them to use good software development habits and to write more stable and secure applications.  Without those skills, we have seen an increase in the instability of software, and our computers run slower because developers are not writing efficient software like they used to.  I believe that our current generation of computers are plenty powerful to run current software at least 10 times as fast as they do now.

While Java may have seemed like a good new thing to some, the reality is that it has only invited poor work from developers and created a generation of inexperienced software developers who don’t have the skills to write solid, stable software.  The Java bubble has finally burst, and it’s only a matter of time before everyone sees it as the COBOL of the 1990’s.


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