The Rise of Java

I finished reading Beyond Java by Bruce Tate. Bruce Tate has written some excellent Java books like Better, Faster, Lighter Java. The Beyond Java book starts looking back at what made java the number one programming language it is today. The book lists 4 external factors that at the beginning of the 90’s made the way for Java:

  • C++ backlash
  • Object Oriented programming emerges
  • Internet takes off
  • Microsoft backlash

Combined with advantages java had (particularly over C++):

  • Better inheritance model
  • The virtual machine, enabling portability and good security (no more segmentation faults)
  • No pointers and Garbage collection to clean out abandoned references
  • Meta model, including Class objects and reflection

I started serious programming in 1993 and used C and C++ until 1998 when I first started some serious development in Java. So I recognize most of the things that made Java big.

I remember that one of the key advantages of Java for me was that the Java environment came with a lot of abstractions for basic stuff like Strings, collections, network programming and UI. In C++ those were things you either had to build yourself or buy from a third party. So you would always end up learning and using new stuff when starting a new project.

Java certainly made its way in server side programming. However maybe the successor of Java is already known. In a next post I will comment on the biggest part of the book and why it is called Beyond Java.


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