Sunday, November 8, 2009

Java on the Decline?

I attended the No Fluff Just Stuff conference in Reston, VA this weekend (, and once again it was excellent. One fact that is becoming clearer is that Java really is on the decline. With languages like Groovy and Scala (and Clojure - though I have no firsthand experience with that so I can't give much input there) on the rise, why should we still use Java?

I've been using groovy for the last year or so and use it in both tests and production code. Groovy is growing in popularity very quickly since it is just a dialect of Java, and all Java code is valid in Groovy. Developers can "groovify" code as they become more familiar with the Groovy idioms.

Scala is a bit newer to me, but I'm becoming familiar with that as well. At first I wondering why I needed language that could be both functional and OO, but it quickly became familiar. The functional aspect of Scala (and some of these operations are available in Groovy too) works magic on collections. Mapping operations to collections is a really nice feature. Think of all the times in Java you write code that looks something like this:

List myList// assume this is initialized
for ( MyObj o : myList ) {
System.out.println("o = " + o);

whereas in scala, the same code can be written as:

myList.foreach(n=> println(n))

This is a simple example, but any function can be mapped to every element in the list, which can be a real space saver.
I'm not going to try and write a Groovy or Scala tutorial here since there are already so many of those, but my takeaway is that these languages are on the rise, because they offer everything Java has to offer and more (with less code).

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