Java Spotlight Podcast 12: Adam Bien

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Interview with Adam Bien, Java Champion, consultant, lecturer, speaker, software architect, developer, and author of Java books, on just about everything related to Java.

Joining us this week on the Java All Star Developer Panel is Alexis Moussine-Pouchkine, Java EE evangelist.

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Show Notes

News

What's upcoming in the GlassFish Webinar Series

2011 is kicking off with the return of the GF Webinar series as you've never seen it before. It's going to be packed with information about Java EE6 and how simplicity, testability and convention-over-configuration is winning the hearts and minds of enterprise Java developers. Don't miss these industry leading speakers and topics reviewing the cutting edge of Java EE6 implementations, tools, and much more.

Running Roller 5 on multiple Java EE AppServers

Quick update on GlassFish 3.1


Events

January 20:Web application development with Java EE 6, GlassFish and NetBeans - Free Webinar with Live Q&A. Register here.

January 20-21: Java EE 6 = Less Code + More Power with Arun Gupta in Budapest, Hungary.

January 24-26: Oracle User Group Leader Summit at Oracle Headquarters, Redwood Shores California.

January 27: Building a Simple Web Application with Java EE Webinair


Feature interview

Adam Bien (blog.adam-bien.com) is a Java Champion, consultant, lecturer, speaker, software architect, developer, and author of Java books and articles including Real World Java EE Patterns: Rethinking Best Practices (lulu.com, 2009). He was Oracle Magazine’s 2010 Java Developer of the Year.

Recent article in Oracle Magazine January/Februray 2011 - Simplicity by Design


Mail Bag

10 Things Java Should Steal from Ruby. What you think -> Java has a lot to things from the Ruby rails lang in terms of simplicity? Dramil Dodeja, Reading, PA

10 Things Java Should Steal from Ruby by Bruce Tate, August 2006.

Supporting quotes for number 10: Embrace beginners. Java’s no longer approachable.

Java is certainly approachable - it just isn't being presented for beginners. We're still teaching it as if people are coming to it from C. Teach it for Rubyists and Python programmers, teach it for newbies. I'm a teacher though. I think Calculus is great for newbies. - Daniel Steinberg, JavaSpotlight Editor, IPad and Cocoa Instructor for DimSumThinking

I don't think Java is not approachable. But, Java is today a large ecosystem, so, it is true that Java has become so big, with frameworks, tools and platforms, that it is hard to know where to start. If you get a specific part of java, then I don't see a big issue for new users. For example, JEE 6, is accessible; or JavaME, its pretty easy, or even web development with Java. But, when you start, you hear about ME, EE, desktop, servlets, frameworks, hibernate, JPA, netbeans vs eclipse, JCP, apache harmony, plan a and plan b, etc, etc, etc. If you don't focus, it can become daunting. Although you can spend your entire career doing EE or only servlets and never hear anything about ME or desktop, once you enter the Java world, people sometimes expect that you to know it all. If you look at it as you don't have to know it all, but that you can expand your career if you want, then, I think it is very accessible. Bruno Souza, Java Champion, Brazilian Java Man

Is it hard to learn Java? Depends, depends, depends. Depends on how much you want to learn Java, depends on how much experience with other languages or OO you have. Depends on what do you want to do with Java (JavaME, Desktop, Web, Enterprise, ...)

We have successfully trained more then 4000 students on our 128 hours training "Academia Java"

  • Syntax,
  • OO
  • Core APIs: Collections+JDBC, Date, some other APIs
  • Advanced APIs: Threads and Swing
  • Web Basics (HTTP, JSP, Servlets)

Instead of doing it in 4 weeks we do it in for months, so the student can study and breathe. Do you think 8 hours per week in the classroom for 4 months plus studying another 4 to 8 hours independently is too much for learning Java? It's also very important to start from the right point, not jumping directly on the point you want to work with, like, going from zero to EJBs... or to JSF. Yara Singer, Java Trainer and Owner of GlobelCode

Short answer: No.

Long answer:

Java is getting more complicated (as a language and a set of core APIs) and hence less approachable; indeed it was quite complicated in the first place. But its near-universal applicability and the wealth of materials and tools available ensure its continuing dominance in education, for now.

This issue is related to something we were talking about at JavaOne: adding a new feature to the Java language raises the "barrier to entry", especially for beginners, which certainly makes Java less approachable.

That's particularly true when a new feature gets retro-fitted into areas of the standard APIs where beginners are going to come across them (i.e. it's in their faces). For instance, when generics were introduced, the following was added to the description of java.lang.Object.getClass() method: "The actual result type is Class<? extends |X|> where |X| is the erasure of the static type of the expression on which getClass is called", which I'm sure most professional Java developers couldn't explain, let alone beginners. In fact that note doesn't matter, but there's no way a beginner can tell whether it does or not.

There may come a point when this accumulation of in-your-face new features becomes too much for beginners (closures, anyone?), but I don't think we're there yet, and I don't see much evidence that others are thinking it either.

But Computing education is a broad church. There are some who believe that any language more complex than Scheme is unapproachable, and others who think that C++ is simple enough for beginners. Java's still close to the middle of that spectrum. Ian Utting, University of Kent, BlueJ and Greenfoot


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Show Transcripts

Transcript for this show is available here when it becomes available.

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The Java Spotlight Podcast will be relaunching in December with a new host (@steveonjava) and format. Please be patient while we work through the changes.

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