Summing Up

Languages rarely get simpler as time goes on. Just look at what's happened to C, Fortran, or Basic. However so far Sun's been pretty good at resisting featuritis. Let's hope they continue.

This is almost already a lost cause. Java just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and no end's in sight. It will probably be necessary to define some subset of the core APIs for embedded applications.

Java may gain templates, a.k.a generics, in the next release or two. Other than that, Java's object orientation is pretty complete.

This is definitely improving thorugh Remote Method Invocation (RMI), Servlets, aglets, and many more technologies. Java is the first truly mainstream language with networking at its core. Many details remain to be worked out, but this is an area of active research.

JITs should get better and more common. Disassemblers, debuggers, and code obfuscators are probably soon reach a stalemate position.

Robustness should improve with time as bugs are found and stomped.

Security should also improve with time as bugs are found and stomped.

This is a question mark. True cross-platform development is going to require Java's rate of change to slow down enough for third parties to catch up. It's also going to require more than lip service from Sun to cross-platform support. However, the gnu Java environment will probably eventually help here.

This is going to improve in the future, particularly in regard to the AWT. Java 1.2 will provide an optional cross-platform user-interface.

This has got to improve. It's so abysmal now.

Many vendors are actively working to integrate Java's thread with host threads so Java can run simultaneously on multiple processors. This is available now in experimental form for Solaris.

Java took a big step forward with JavaBeans in 1.1. However, some cleanup work is likely to be done in the future.

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Copyright 1997 Elliotte Rusty Harold
Last Modified Sunday, March 9, 1997