Java hurdling early performance barrier

Java was first touted by its backers as the answer to many IT issues -- it was a powerful development platform, an open technology and was a possible alternative to the Windows hegemony.

But, of course, Java failed to live up to its early promises; by the start of 1998, some experts were describing Java as just another programming language for building small applications. It was widely held that Java lacked the performance needed to build large-scale, mission-critical soft- ware. Worse, it was controlled with an iron hand by a single vendor -- Sun -- whose goal was seen to simply use Java to stem the Microsoft juggernaut.

It appears today that Java's status has almost come full circle again. Key software giants like IBM and Oracle Corp., along with hundreds of smaller suppliers, have made huge bets on Java technology. And Sun has listened to critics and somewhat opened the Java development process and significantly improved performance. Corporations have started numerous Java projects for many reasons, not the least of which is that much of the universe of top software developers want to work with the technology.

This issue's Spotlight Report looks at the state of Java performance (Java Brewed to perfection?"). Special Projects Editor Deborah Melewski talked to corporate developers, partners and Sun officials to find out about the latest Java implementation. Melewski found that though Java may still not be best for building the largest, most complex applications, corporations have started building some key moderate-sized systems using the technology. Java is still not an IT silver bullet, but Sun and its partners appear to be moving in the right direction.

The report also includes an extensive Buyers' Guide of the ever-increasing slate of Java development tools.

On a personal note, I'd like to welcome our newest columnist, John Williams, the former editor of Component Strategies. The September issue of Application Development Trends marks the integration of our two magazines. Williams takes over our back pages each month with his column,On Component Strategies. John's insights as an IT development manager will help managers wade through the ever-changing technology waters.

About the Author

Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.