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Forrester's Take On The Future Of Java

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Forrester have released their latest report on the future of Java, with the headline that "Java's future will be constained by the bounds of Oracle's business model". This post summarises the report into five key points. There is one key point I'd like to discuss here - Java in educational institutions.

"Fewer young developers will learn Java first. One of Java's greatest strengths has been the number of young developers who learn it as a first language. As Java becomes less and less of a client-side language, we expect to see educational institutions switch to other languages for primary education, ones with stronger client-side representation such as JavaScript and HTML 5. Over time, developers will begin to view Java as a server-side language for enterprises — like COBOL."


Really? I'm not sure that the fact Java is seen as less of a client side language has much bearing on whether it is taught as a first language. Using a "real" language rather than HTML5 or JavaScript brings huge advantages. Teaching programming through Java brings a proper appreciation for the structure behind programming. What's more, the evolution of IDEs over the past ten years has made it even easier for young developers to pick it up. And there are specific IDEs for Java in education - BlueJ and Eclipe's IDE For Education project. If you want to teach real programming, is there a better alternative to Java?

There are some other interesting points brought up from the report. Forrester's take on demise of the JCP speculates that Oracle will "formulate an alternative that ends the fiction of the JCP as an open process", leaving IBM and Oracle in total control of the future of Java. Perhaps that's not such a bad thing. The OpenJDK still allows for contributions that can still have enough impact to gain acceptance to official Java releases.

ReadWriteWeb published this interesting infographic from the report, showing the companies that influence the direction of Java.

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