Thursday, July 08, 2004

Java, not the next level

S-Bahn Haltestelle Hasselbrook

Maybe one of the reasons why I don't like it, is that in 2000 in school I was thinking OOP is the thing. I didn't know any better, I thought C and C++ were the languages, and anything else was irrelevant. Java is newer but overhyped, and, that's of course very important for someone who had never even written a single C program, slow. But Java didn't challenge, it didn't show me other ways to think about programming, structuring. OO did that, but I didn't get to know OO via Java. And as Java didn't change much, it still doesn't.

But at university I am forced to learn it, I'm forced to do something dull. I am more than a Java programmer, Java isn't and will never be the next level for me.

If you want to listen to something interesting, watch Croquet: A Collaboration Architecture, a presentation given by Alan Kay. He starts off with Croquet, which imho doesn't seem to be that innovative. The Q&A session afterwards is the real gem. To quote Dave Roberts:

Okay, but after that, Kay starts to take questions at the lecture. This was the best part, in my opinion. The questions are very interesting, as are Kay's responses. Simply, Kay has some pretty harsh criticism of computer science education these days. He says that nobody is doing computer science anymore and basically equates today's computer science curriculum with vocational work, simply training legions of Java programmers and not studying any hard problems or advancing the state of the art. He says that he actually looked at writing Croquet in Java originally, but found it sadly lacking on a number of fronts and so they went back to Smalltalk (Squeak). He has high praise for Lisp and McCarthy, saying that it was one of the most impactful ideas ever in computer science. At one point, he blasts Stanford's Bill Gates-funded computer science building, saying it's an oxymoron.

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