Java: Friend or Foe?

Douglas C. Schmidt
C++ Report
January 1997

I recently attended the SIGS 1996 C++ World conference for the 4th year in a row. Each conference has had a different set of ``hot topics.'' The hot topics at the 1993 conference in Dallas were exception handling and templates; at the 1994 conference in Austin the hot topic was STL; at the 1995 conference in Chicago the hot topic was componentware (e.g., CORBA and COM). Not surprisingly, the hot topics this year in Dallas were Java and the WWW. SIGS devoted 1/6th of the conference to sessions on Java programming and many vendors on the exhibit floor were promoting their Java tools, books, and training services.

In addition to the sessions on Java at C++ World, I participated in a panel entitled ``Java: Friend or Foe,'' which attempted to pit the languages and language communities against each other. Although these debates make for great theater, I believe that framing the discussion as ``C++ vs. Java'' misses the point for the following reasons:

During the past year I've received many requests to include more coverage of Java in the C++ Report. Many developers are interested in answers to questions like ``is Java really as easy to use as it looks?'', ``how does Java's run-time performance and programmer productivity compare with C++?'', ``will Java's popularity stunt the growth of C++?'', and ``what's the future of the C++ programming language and C++ programmers?'' These are important issues for readers of the C++ Report.

To meet this demand, several articles this month explore the relationship between C++ and Java. Robert Martin critiques the key features of the two languages, Prashant Jain and I present our experiences converting a large communication software framework from C++ to Java, and Graham Glass describes how the C++ STL library has been ported to Java. I expect you'll be seeing more discussions and comparisons of C++ and Java during the coming year. As always, the C++ Report will bring you objective, leading-edge coverage of the strengths and weaknesses of these important languages and development environments. In particular, look for columns by John Vlissides and others that explore relationships between design patterns that are common in C++ and Java.

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Last modified 18:06:19 CST 25 January 2019