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Javva The Hutt April 26th, 2002

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Virtual JavaOne

Did you know there are three and a half million of us? Java developers, that is. About 10,000 to 15,000 went to JavaOne. That means, that about three and a half million of us Java developers didn't go. So if, like me, you didn't go, you are a member of the more than 99% majority. We majority are heavily catered for though. We had day-by-day breakdowns of everything that went on. Day after day. At site after site.

I sent off a few emails to some people who went, saying how nice it was to meet them there, and did they like X's talk, and how about Y's event, not to mention did they get to Z's party. Without exception they all replied how nice it was to meet me too, etc. So there you are guys and gals. You too can be a virtual attendee of JavaOne. All it takes is sifting through a whole lot of repetitive day-by-day accounts.

Next year I'm going to schedule some meetings at JavaOne, only I'll have to cancel at the last minute, or send my excuses for missing, because I'll be delayed by someone's unmissable talk. Boy, what a great alibi. I can probably get twenty people to swear I was there... okay, maybe I should get a life.

Class, discuss why Java is too slow for games.

Why is it that every time I tune into a discussion about whether Java can be fast enough for games, the same brain-dead arguments against always turn up. The latest was over at Slashdot. "It can't be fast enough because its interpreted". "The virtual machine is an extra layer that means it must be slower". "Nothing is going to replace C/C++ because they let you do ...".

YO, MR. BRAIN-DEAD. HERE IS THE NEWS. JAVA IS NOT INTERPRETED ANY MORE. THE JVM IS NOT AN OVERHEAD, IT ALLOWS OPTIMIZATIONS THAT A C-COMPILER CAN ONLY DREAM ABOUT. C REPLACED ASSEMBLER EVEN THOUGH ASSEMBLER PRODUCED FASTER CODE, BECAUSE C WAS MORE PORTABLE AND MORE PRODUCTIVE. JUST LIKE JAVA IS REPLACING C/C++ BECAUSE JAVA IS MORE PORTABLE AND MORE PRODUCTIVE.

Of course, I'm shouting at the wrong people. Mr. Brain-Dead doesn't come here otherwise he would already know these things. But it made me feel better.

Its funny really. I remember in my first job looking at all this C code and thinking "whoah, this is an accident waiting to happen". And I meant that literally, the company produced medical tools. Then later I had a chat with one of the guys who wrote the embedded chips. He told me how every time he used to move jobs, or even change chips for the same firm, he had to pretty much learn a new language. It was still ASM, but every chip had its own instruction set and foibles, and the ASM was always different. His skill wasn't assembler the language, instead it was chip programming. So when C came along and you could transfer the language skills, he and almost every other chip programmer dived in head first. And it was only then that I understood the popularity of C--it was driven by systems programming. Then it snowballed, because if you start with a huge base like that, then lots of tools and training and books become available and then it spreads out. And a huge chunk of people mistakenly thought that it was good for application programming because of the momentum.

So all those people desperately making their last stand defending a standardized assembler language are really geriatric, only they seem to have missed out on the wisdom that comes with age. I really think of C and C++ as the COBOL of this decade. And there isn't going to be another Y2K for all those C/C++ programmers to boost their retirement funds in the upcoming twilight years.

That's not to say that I think C/C++ is dead, not at all. There's still lots of COBOL out there, but its not really a good idea to plan your future on becoming a COBOL programmer.

Diary of a Hutt

March 26. Parsons pops his head round my cubicle and asks about the server performance. Tell him not to worry, its all under control. He goes away looking happy. I go over to bigmouth and ask him what's the problem with the server. He tells me we had a level-SEVERE crash and the admin guys are blaming it on last week's performance patch. Uh-oh. Decide I'd better QA the patch.

March 27. Emergency 7.30 meeting called by Frezian. Scapegoat time. I demand to know who authorized applying the patch to the production system before it had gone through QA. Frezian claims I had okayed the upgrade. I remind him that I signed off the patch to him, then started analyzing his J2ME proposals for performance feasibility. Played a couple more rounds of scapegoat before he recognized that I wasn't backing down and only his signature showed on the audit trail. Meeting resulted in a memo requiring increased communication procedures between development and production. The memo clearly insinuated it was production's fault.

April 8. Weevil gets back from JavaOne+holiday. I tell him all about the keynote speeches, and some of the more interesting talks. When Frezian passes, I loudly ask Weevil why he wasn't at the Monty talk. He mutters something about having a tummy bug from the awful hotel food. Yeah sure. Checking out the local bars is more like. Smirk when Frezian requests a full JavaOne presentation from Weevil on Thursday.

April 11. Bastard Weevil got away with it. He spent the last three days going through the online recordings. He brought in all the freebies to show off, and even covered Monty as if he'd been there.

April 12. Bastard bastard Weevil showed Frezian where protocol requires patches to have been QA'd before signing off to him. Frezian tells me he won't pursue the matter this time, but I'd better get it right in future. Ha! He can't screw me this time because he's already had the post mortem.

(Note: all names have been changed to protect the guilty).

BCNU

Javva The Hutt.


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