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Java at 20: The programming juggernaut rolls on

Paul Krill | May 19, 2015
What began as an experiment in consumer electronics in the early 1990s celebrates its 20th anniversary as a staple of enterprise computing this week. Java has become a dominant platform, able to run wherever the Java Virtual Machine is supported, forging ahead despite the rise of rival languages and recent tribulations with security.

While Java has matured, additions such as lambdas and support for other languages on the JVM help keep the platform fresh, Hammond adds.

"From a technological perspective, I think [Java is] going in the right direction, and I think projects like Groovy also helped them make decisions like adding lambda expressions," says Guillaume Laforge, project lead for Groovy, which has had lambda expressions since 2003.

Eclipse Foundation's Milinkovich sees a continued long life for Java, saying it will be around for 50 years.

"Java and the Java platform defined an entire generation of enterprise software development and those systems are going to be around for a very long time," he says. "Millions of developers use Java as their primary development language, and those skills will be with us for many years."

Milinkovich adds that Java has a debt to the open source community.

"Java's owes an enormous amount of its success to the innovation and support that it received from the Apache and Eclipse communities in particular. The professional-quality and completely free Eclipse IDE was a huge part of Java's adoption around the world," Milinkovich says. "Apache's contributions with Tomcat, Commons, OpenJPA, and other projects were a large part of Java's success in the enterprise."

Gupta concurs, saying that Java is bolstered by the strong community around it.

That may be the key for Java's longevity in the years ahead: the work of the community itself.


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