After my family and I moved to Seattle, my friend Barry visited us with his wife, Mary, and their beautiful daughter, Julia. We hadn't visited Mt. Rainier so we thought it would be a good idea for all of us to drive there together. We weren't even half an hour into the trip when Julia asked, "Are we there yet?" That wasn't the only time she asked. The trip turned out to be excellent, but I didn't know then that I would soon be asking myself the same question for a different reason.
Barry is a technical writer turned developer at a reputable software company. During his visit, our discussion turned to the industry's adaptation of Java as a language and platform. He asked me if "Java was there yet" - if Java had industry support and wasn't just hype anymore. I was a little hesitant in answering that question, especially since Java had just celebrated its third birthday. So I decided to apply my trusted "dependency requirement algorithm" recursively to the problem at hand.
How does one determine if the industry has adopted a new standard? Look for adopters! My Internet search generated hits in excess of 4,092,640 for Java companies ranging from software giants like Microsoft, IBM, Sun, Oracle, Symantec and Computer Associates to minnows like 4thpass, WoodenChair and ObjectSoft. Well, I thought, these are the software companies and they're likely to adopt Java earlier. Upon further digging, when I found that corporations like Siemens, Xerox, Volvo and Citibank were using our product, SourceGuard, it was hard not to notice an emerging trend in the corporate development environments. Also, the fact that more than one third of the SourceGuard downloads were from outside the U.S. indicated that the adoption of Java was not just domestic but global.
In order to adopt Java, what do these corporations need? First and foremost, they need personnel with domain knowledge. My Internet search revealed Java-related job hits in excess of 6,008,332! Not a small number, even if you consider those that repeated, cross-referenced or were out of date. I came across sites solely advertising Java jobs (
www.javajobsite.com) to online recruiting services like www.dice.com. Almost all the printed and online magazines I came across advertised Java openings. Who caters to the needs of these personnel? From JavaSoft (www.javasoft.com) to IBM's JCentral (www.ibm.com/java), many thousands of dedicated and nondedicated sites provide users with up-to-date information on Java-related topics. Then there are Usenet newsgroups for discussing Java topics (comp.lang.java.*) and private newsgroup postings and forums like the one hosted by Java Developer's Journal
(JDJ) online magazine (www.JavaDevelopersJournal.com). These resources are the tip of the iceberg. You just can't overlook printed and online dedicated magazines like JDJ and other nondedicated magazines. On top of these, Java books fill up shelves in major bookstores. In an online bookstore, Amazon.com (www.amazon.com), a simple search revealed some 400+ books on Java.
After completing my search for resources for personnel, I decided to check tools necessary for a productive environment. I found tools required for various stages of product development, ranging from requirement analysis, design, development, debugging, protection and installation to marketing. Searching for the right tool was a matter of visiting JDJ's online buyer's guide, JavaSoft's Java Reel and Java Solutions Guide, not to mention scores of online e-commerce stores.
If available resources are any indication of the adoption of Java, the answer is clear. This is without even touching the embedded market segment! Just as with everything else in life, there are issues that need to be addressed - Sun versus Microsoft, JFC versus WFC, Java standards body versus JavaSoft and many more.
Well, at least I'm clear about my answer to Barry: "Yes, it looks like we're almost there."
About the Author
Samir Mehta is chief technical officer and cofounder of 4thpass LLC, a market leader in Java bytecode protection. He can be reached at [email protected]