Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen:Basically you need a Java evangelist who can preach, teach and code. That will do wonders if that is what you want to do, plus it will show your programmers the best way through the wilderness.
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.This is a very valid argument. I am still trying to catch up to the latest versions, so I know the feeling.
(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.This is actually what triggered me. There are several languages available for the Java Virtual Machine. These days I would not consider any language which did not run in a modern virtual machine, like the JVM, .NET or similars. The advantages are simply too big. For PHP I believe caucho.com has Quercus which is a PHP-clone written in Java.
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