Nov 02, 2004

J#'s raison d'être...

Jim Fawcette has blogged a piece stating that Sun's law suit undermined Java, stating that the law suit against Microsoft discouraged Microsoft from using Java as its primary development language, but I do not buy this. With this logic, I can only guess that one of the UML vendors has also sued Microsoft, and this is what forced Microsoft to develop their new modeling language?

I am not arguing that the Sun law suit was a good thing for Java, but Microsoft has a long history of developing their own proprietary tools, and there are always reasons behind their decisions. Specifically, J# was late in the announcements, and I remember reading at one point that the reason for this was more that Microsoft was originally not going to provide a Java implementation, but later realized that Java was part of the U.S. college and university curricula as soon as late 1997, and by not providing a Java implementation, new developers would not be exposed to their technologies, and this is the reason that J# was added.

In the case of their proprietary modeling language, we received a demo of Visual Studio 2005 at OOPSLA during Richard Rashid's keynote entitled, “The Future Of Programming.” With such a title, I, along with many other attendees, were expecting more of a discussion in the more distant future than next year. Instead he discussed many of the technologies that Microsoft is presently developing and using in-house (such as PreFIX that should come with 2005) and some observations on the future (such as we are now almost at human-scale storage, where we are almost able to keep everything on a hard disk, without ever having to delete anything), but a good portion of this discussion was a demo of Visual Studio, including the model-zooming functionality. Following the keynote, I asked the demo's presenter two questions, first about cross platform tools and secondly about their choice against UML. Regarding the cross platform, he indicated very vaguely that there is something in the plan that he cannot comment right now (Maybe, or rather hopefully, something with Mono?), and regarding the UML question, his answer was simply that not everything is object-oriented. Regarding the latter comment, I find Keith Short's answer at least more in the proper direction, but I am not sure about the approach. I think I will just have to give it a run to see what they have really done.

Jim appears to make some other comments about what might have been, but without any references, it is hard to know whether these are opinions or what. I am not as certain as Jim is that things would be any different than they are now.

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