Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen:

A major reason for Java being hard to use is
the enormous size of the runtime library, which
just grows and grows and grows.

We may be in a somewhat unique situation, having been an iSeries COBOL shop for many years, but the three main obstacles to our shop adopting Java are:

(1) An OO hurdle. None of our most senior programmers are OO programmers. They have coded mainly in structured COBOL their entire careers. Our new hires generally have a semester of Java from their academic programs, and some of the intermediate programmers like myself have been using OO in PeeopleCode development. But our managers are not ready to adopt a language that makes our most senior programmers novices in the language and our most junior programmers the experts in the language.

(2) An API hurdle. The J2EE APIs are numerous and often complex. This is a good thing in terms of making Java powerful. And developers don't need to know all the APIs to make good use of Java. But, to a shop of Java novices (one semester or less), knowing which J2EE APIs to use in different situations and how to use them effectively is daunting. This may arguably be more an issue of perception than training. But a perceptual issue is a real issue when it comes to management decisions.

(3) A competing language issue. As long as our shop can find an alternative language that lets us continue coding in a structured manner and does a "good enough" job providing solutions, we will probably adopt the alternative language. PHP on the iSeries is very likely to become an argument for not using Java in the near future.

I'm open to listening to anyone's suggestions about ways to overcome these obstacles.


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