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Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate

21 replies on 2 pages. Most recent reply: Mar 28, 2006 3:30 PM by Isaac Gouy

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Frank Sommers

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Registered: Jan, 2002

Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate Posted: Mar 13, 2006 12:00 PM
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JDJ interviewed [NOTE: Link to an embedded video page.] Gosling in New York City during Sun's World Wide Education and Research Conference. Among the topics were languages that could threaten Java's dominance in the enterprise:

PHP and Ruby are perfectly fine systems, [...] but they are scripting languages and get their power through specialization: they just generate web pages. But none of them attempt any serious breadth in the application domain and they both have really serious scaling and performance problems.[...]

Building systems that have a lot of power just attracts complexity. Because of the way that the world has become so interconnected it helps to have systems where it carries over from one domain to another. You can do web presentation stuff really well in PHP but you couldn't write a library that does, say, interplanetary navigation.

We also tried to work with all these languages, so that Java works with PHP and works with Python, so you can do the web presentation layer in PHP and the analytics in Java. Lots of people do that.

What do you think of Gosling's comments?


Bruce Eckel

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Registered: Jun, 2003

Re: Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate Posted: Mar 13, 2006 4:38 PM
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The best response to that is this:

http://lesscode.org/2006/03/12/someone-tell-gosling/

He has a lot of links to other commentary, as well. Basically shows that Gosling is worryingly out of touch, and is pretending that Java isn't under assault from all corners. His comment about scripting languages: "they just generate web pages" was priceless, and he couldn't seem to bring himself to say "dynamic languages" and acknowledge the power they actually contain. He gives the appearance of someone who doesn't have any experience in what he is talking about, and is just giving the company line.

Martin J Steer

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Nickname: d93mn
Registered: Mar, 2006

Re: Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate Posted: Mar 14, 2006 3:16 AM
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Mr Gosling has written about dynamic languages before, on his blog:

http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/jag?entry=radlab_scripting_and_scale
http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/jag?entry=safety_is_freedom

What I don't understand is why people get upset that the father of Java still prefers Java over other alternatives. His job these days seems mainly to be a Java advocate, what is he supposed to say?

I might be wrong, but it seems to me that all the people that I used to dislike in the Java community [1] have jumped ship and joined the Ruby community. I'm sure that there are lots of very intelligent people doing Ruby, but the community seems to be in exactly the same place as Java were three years ago. If you don't get the hype or if you prefer something else they automatically consider you uneducated or plain stupid and act accordingly. Inside the java community we have the same meaningless discussions around SWT/SWING.

Just use what you feel is best in any given situation. There is a place for C, C++, Ruby, Python, Lisp, and certainly for Java as well. My prediction is that the future will not give us a language that dominates the way Java or C[++] has dominated. If you are somewhat open you will eventually learn several languages anyway.

Just as the Java crowd didn't get any respect from the C crowd and just as older people don't respect younger people until they've proven themselves; It will be some time before everyone respects Ruby.

[1] People that see themselves as "java developers", not "developers".


regards,
martin

Martin J Steer

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Nickname: d93mn
Registered: Mar, 2006

Re: Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate Posted: Mar 14, 2006 3:39 AM
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Found this [via http://www.redmonk.com/sogrady/]:

http://duckdown.blogspot.com/2006/03/large-enterprises-and-why-they-dont.html


regards,
martin

Mark Thornton

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Registered: Oct, 2005

Re: Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate Posted: Mar 14, 2006 4:40 AM
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It looks like I'm in lesscode's 20%. While not an "interplanetary navigator", I do complex optimisations.

One thing I frequently see suggested by advocates of dynamic languages is to do the bit for which the language is unsuitable in some other language and build an interface between the two. My own experience of this approach is that it is an absolute nightmare. It only works when the necessary interface is very small. If the problem definition is complex the interface grows large and unwieldy (and changes are difficult to manage).

Kondwani Mkandawire

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Registered: Aug, 2004

Re: Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate Posted: Mar 14, 2006 10:53 AM
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I honestly think he has some solid points.

I haven't cared to Google but I can't think of a useful
Rich-Client App in PHP (at least the last time I used
it in 2002).

Some guy countered and said Java is still "mainly used
for web-applications".

That was the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

Clearly this guy has never used Google. Looking up
Swing Sightings, J2ME and Java POS for starters will
proove otherwise (from personal experience I work a 9 -5
on Java and never touch webstuff).

It would be nice for all the zealots to simply proove
us wrong and give us an equivalent to say an application
server such as JBoss that has or can be scratched out
in PHP and have all the greats that JBoss has:

Clustering, Queueing, etc...

Or scratch up an IDE that matches Eclipse or an app to
run on a Mobile device...

When one of the Ruby or PHP users have attained that
feat. I'll cower and start to believe that Gosling
was indeed misguided...

Jeff Ratcliff

Posts: 242
Nickname: jr1
Registered: Feb, 2006

Re: Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate Posted: Mar 14, 2006 11:31 AM
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>
> What I don't understand is why people get upset that the
> father of Java still prefers Java over other alternatives.
> His job these days seems mainly to be a Java advocate,
> what is he supposed to say?

If all he wants is to be is the Java marketing guy who used to be techncial, then more power to him. If he wants to maintain a reputation as a serious programmer, he needs to be less dismissive of reasonable alternatives to Java.

Frank Sommers

Posts: 2642
Nickname: fsommers
Registered: Jan, 2002

Re: Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate Posted: Mar 14, 2006 3:04 PM
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> If all he wants is to be is the Java marketing guy who
> used to be techncial, then more power to him. If he wants
> to maintain a reputation as a serious programmer, he needs
> to be less dismissive of reasonable alternatives to Java.

My take on this is that a language/environment needs to suite the development and design style of those working with it. Other than that, most environments can scale up or out - PHP, Perl, Ruby, Java, even VB.

Such scaling all depends on the resources available to those working with an environment. But I suppose those who really need to scale up an application, e.g., to handle large loads, will have some kind of business model that allows them to purchase off-the-shelf tools that let them scale their app. Perhaps Java has more such frameworks and tools than some of the other environments do. That's not really due to Java being superior in some way, but just to the fact that vendors saw opportunities in developing commercial tools that allow scaling, etc. And since Perl, Ruby, etc., tend more towards an open-source culture, whereas Java tends to be at least as commercial/ISV-driven as it is defined by open-source, vendors may have chosen to target Java with their commercial tools. So to say that Java allows you to scale your applications more than other environments do is really just a statement about the Java ecosystem, and not about the technology.

Another note is that it's important to differentiate between degrees of scale, and I don't think that interplanetary navigation is a good benchmark for that. Most open-source/free/community-driven projects don't really need the scale available in some top-end commercial products. (I say most, because some may do.) Postgres or MySQL, and free versions of Oracle, DB2, MS SQL Server, for instance, already let you manage tens of gigabytes of data for free. All the open-source Web servers can scale up to tens of millions of request per month, etc.

When you need to go an order of magnitude beyond that, storing, say a terrabyte of data or handling 100s of millions of requests a month, you surely must have some commercial model to support purchasing products that can achieve that scale. Not to mention, at that level, you will have costs beyond software, such as bandwidth, servers, etc. Perhaps Java has more such tools than other environments do, simply because Java was marketed more into the enterprise (thanks in great part to IBM), and enterprises tend to be able to pay vendors for such products.

Joao Pedrosa

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Nickname: dewd
Registered: Dec, 2005

Re: Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate Posted: Mar 14, 2006 11:47 PM
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I think his view is too "pragmatic".

Today I just found out about a little piece of the future, and it's a bridge between Ruby and CLR (.NET):
http://www.iunknown.com/

I think Gosling's view of things is "top-down", from GUI to low level code, from proven results to possibilities.

I think the other point of view is interesting, though, with "bottom-up", from low level code to GUI, from possibilities to proven results.

Language-wise, I think a "bottom-up" example would be Ruby, which is proud of its expressiveness and flexibility. Maybe Java is a "top-down" example, with static typing and Swing GUI.

Let's see what the future holds for the different approaches. :-)

Isaac Gouy

Posts: 527
Nickname: igouy
Registered: Jul, 2003

Re: Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate Posted: Mar 15, 2006 10:48 AM
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JDJ interviewed [NOTE: Link to an embedded video page.] Gosling ...

The page you've linked to does not show the quoted text.
Are you saying the quoted text is spoken on the embedded video? When?

Isaac Gouy

Posts: 527
Nickname: igouy
Registered: Jul, 2003

Re: Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate Posted: Mar 16, 2006 4:02 PM
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> > What do you think of Gosling's comments?
> The best response to that is...

Perhaps the most overwrought response.

imo The best response would be to ask if anyone has a full transcript of Mr Gosling's comments.

afaict "the comments" are not included in the video of "Jeremy Geelan's exclusive interview".

afaict something not-completely-unlike part of "the comments" appears in an answer Mr Gosling gave in response to an audience question at the end of his keynote - and I've already seen 2 different reports of that answer.

I simply can't tell when others parts of "the comments" were said or recorded.


Even if we had a full transcript of his comments, the personal attacks - "worryingly out of touch" "doesn't have any experience in what he is talking about" - say far more about the speaker than Mr Gosling.

Devin Mullins

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Nickname: twifkak
Registered: Jan, 2006

Re: Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate Posted: Mar 16, 2006 7:17 PM
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Isaac, your points are valid, so don't take this as a response to this particular post of yours, but as a reponse to a trend I'm deriving from an observation of your behavior, in general:

Are you this critical of proponents of other languages?

Isaac Gouy

Posts: 527
Nickname: igouy
Registered: Jul, 2003

Re: Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate Posted: Mar 16, 2006 9:42 PM
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> Isaac, your points are valid, so don't take this as a
> response to this particular post of yours, but as a
> reponse to a trend I'm deriving from an observation of
> your behavior, in general:
>
> Are you this critical of proponents of other languages?

"a trend"
I'm critical of generalizations without data.

I don't know which languages you assume I favour when you ask "Are you this critical of proponents of other languages?", which "other languages"?

Bill Venners

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Nickname: bv
Registered: Jan, 2002

Re: Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate Posted: Mar 17, 2006 3:27 AM
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> imo The best response would be to ask if anyone has a full
> transcript of Mr Gosling's comments.
>
> afaict "the comments" are not included in the video of
> "Jeremy Geelan's exclusive interview".
>
I just watched the whole thing and he did not in the video say these things.

> afaict something not-completely-unlike part of "the
> comments" appears in an answer Mr Gosling gave in response
> to an audience question at the end of his keynote - and
> I've already seen 2 different reports of that answer.
>
Yes, there are two links from the page Frank linked to above in which he is saying something like this, but they are two very different reports:

This is the report Frank quoted:

http://www.sys-con.tv/read/193146.htm

The other version is in Jakov Fain's blog, which is at:

http://www.sys-con.tv/read/193008.htm

Jakov writes:

Q: There are many new programming languages these days. Do you feel that Java is in danger?

A: No, Java is not in danger. Scripting lang like PHP and Ruby get a lot of power in specialization. If you need to develop a Web page, they are good, but they do not scale. a+b+c in Java has huge lead in terms of performance over all these languages. Sun is trying to develop tools for simplicity while maintaining the power.With PHP you can write a Web presentation layer, but not interplanetary navigation.C# it’s hard to criticize, they just copied the Java spec, and hopelessly stuck in the only platform.


> I simply can't tell when others parts of "the comments"
> were said or recorded.
>
Nor can I. I'll send an email to Jakov to find out what he knows, and ask James Gosling to clarify. Sorry about this. There is a lot of noise out there and my desire for Artima is that we'll help filter out the noise so you can get to the signal.

>
> Even if we had a full transcript of his comments, the
> personal attacks - "worryingly out of touch" "doesn't have
> any experience in what he is talking about" - say far more
> about the speaker than Mr Gosling.

I agree.

Yakov Fain

Posts: 2
Nickname: yfain11
Registered: Mar, 2006

Re: Gosling: Java vs PHP a Moot Debate Posted: Mar 17, 2006 4:40 AM
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Originally I made this post at my blog over here:
http://yakovfain.javadevelopersjournal.com/todays_talk_by_james_gosling.htm

Then JDJ decided to republish it over here:
http://www.sys-con.tv/read/193008.htm

They've also attached some interview with James Gosling.
My blog is just quick notes that I was taking on March 9, sitting at the Sun's education conference at Waldorf Astoria, NYC. Gosling talked in front of about 200 people. At the end of his talk I've asked him this question about Java being in danger...

I guess the confusion is caused by the fact that JDJ attached to my post some Gosling's video interview that was shot at a different time/place. But, JDJ had their video crew at Waldorf as well, and they were videotaping the entire Gosling talk. I'm sure they'll publish it at sys-con.tv soon.

HTH

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