Doing Java Without Java
By webmink on Mar 15, 2005
I have been a fan of Robert Tolksdorf for many years, even though I have never met him. He has been the maintainer of the Languages for the Java VM list since the early days - I first linked to it in 1997 when I was at IBM. I remember all those years ago feeling that, while the Java language was great, it would be wise to place am emphasis on the power of the virtual machine approach. The power of WORA is decoupling from the platform and from the vagaries of system upgrades, not (just) platform portability.
Fast forward to 2004. It seemed to me that there was now a serious need to do something. Graham Hamilton had pointed out that it would be better for future language evolution on the Java platform to happen in other Java-compatible languages rather than burden the Java language further. James Strachen and others had navigated the Groovy language through the JCP to approval. Sean McGrath was telling me every other day how great Jython was. Tim Bray was persuading me that a scripting language was an essential tool in the toolbox of even the most hardcore Java developer. So I started asking whether it was time for Sun to start helping developers use scripting in the Java environment.
Scripting is high on the menu today - just the JavaWorld article and associated TSS thread are evidence. Not the least, it provides a great way for VB6 programmers to finally cut the bonds of being in the thrall of an unaccountable master and come over to the worlds of open source and the Java platform - the petition won't work, folks, it's the system that's broken, not the schedule. Tim has given credit to many of the folks who took risks to make it happen; I am delighted that Sun has taken steps to help the synergistic and essential scripting communities succeed even more in the dynamic and evolving Java community.