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"Crispen, Bob" <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 5 Mar 2001 13:57:49 -0600
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John McCormick [mailto:[log in to unmask]]

>This semester I learned through a student taking the
>Algorithms course that no student is using Java.  A few
>are using C or C++ , one is using PERL , and the rest
>are using Ada.

What?  No PHP/MySQL?  ;-)

>I find fact that none are using Java particularly
>enlightening as Java is the last language with which
>they had significant programming work.

I wanted to like Java.  God knows I did.  And for a
while I held onto the hope that the Java runtime would
improve or the state of computers would improve to the
point where it wasn't buggy, crash-prone, incapable of
doing what you need, and slooooooooooooooow.

Java borrowed a number of very good things from Ada:
interfaces and array bounds checking are notable standouts.
Java avoided some of the worst pitfalls of that patchwork
of a language C++.  They didn't borrow enough, and perhaps
they didn't avoid enough, but that's neither here nor there.
When a more mainstream, more heavily hyped language than
Ada ever was uses language features based on sound software
engineering principles, everybody benefits.

That Java (and PHP and perl and ECMA-262 and...) sorta
look like C instead of sorta looking like Pascal is a
*huge* don't-care for me.  All the really interesting stuff
is in the library calls anyway.  That it uses C++'s soggy
inheritance instead of (what seems to me) Ada's crisper
model is a shame, but not something you can't work around.

That Microsoft muddied the waters with Visual J++ is a
tragedy on a micro scale (I could almost hear the sobs on
the other end of the email as I told some poor kid that
he'd have to port his VJ++ code to Java to get it to work
where he needed it to), but on a macro scale, it was a nop.
Not even noise.

And Java zealots make the most rabid of Ada zealots look
like rank amateurs.  Perhaps they're so fanatical *because*
the future hope of Java is so far from the reality, while
Ada fans generally got some immediate gratification -- Ada
compilers have always been pretty good -- to cool their
fires.  Java fans have been wandering in the desert for
years and years without a drop of water in sight.

But at the end of the day, you just gotta face it: java as
it exists here and now doesn't just suck, it blows chunks.
It crashes your web browser -- I run 3 web browsers, and
java that two of them like will crash the third; it fails
for mysterious, inexplicable reasons (one of my favorites
is the number of people who've had to load the JDK *and*
the JRE); and did I mention that it was mind-numbingly,
frustratingly, maddeningly sloooooooow?

So nobody's using Java is far from a surprise to me.

That they're using Ada is a tribute to you, and you should
be proud of your work in turning out people who'll be able
to write software that doesn't suck.
Bob Crispen
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