Java as a new software paradigm


   Java was invented for the www
   Software and data dynamically distributed
   Independent of O/S
   Java is as good as the JVMs
   Still many 'growing pains'

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© Cherwell Scientific Publishing 1998

It is sometimes said that Java is just another computer language. This may be true but the important thing about Java is that it was a language that was invented (strictly 'reinvented') for the www. 'Java and the www' taken together represent an exceedingly important challenge for software developers and designers. Java is a modern language and so has lots of good ideas, but perhaps the most important feature is the crucial role of the Java Virtual Machine. A Java program can be 'served' or distributed from any point on a network (the www, an intranet or an extranet) and will then perform at any other node on the network -- provided only that there is a Java Virtual Machine available at runtime. Java is another computer language, but it is crucially important that Java programs could run anywhere, provided that there is a JVM to hand.

A lot of the 'politics' of Java is about the practicality or desirability of maintaining  a 'consistent' Java runtime environment. There are still plenty of 'growing pains', but Java is moving very fast and in our view has enormous attractions for many innovative projects. One of the attractions is that a commitment to Java does not require a decommitment to any other language. Java is very good for some things, but one of its strengths is that Java interfaces and components can complement existing resources. Most of the businesses to which we speak think that Java will be important in the development of their intranets and computing resources, but there is still a good deal of uncertainty about exactly how Java will be deployed. This is not surprising because Java is still growing very fast.