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Just going to put this out there: I do essentially all my solo projects in TypeScript, to the point that I haven't written vanilla JS in close to a year. I find it helps me develope faster, make less mistakes, and refactor with a crazy amount of ease.
That said, I've been using static type systems for years now (mostly with Java, with a little C++), so I think you're probably write about the learning curve.
Funny, I've been a Java dev for over a decade, but TS has subtleties and brain-twisters in its type system which Java doesn't have (well generics can become complicated but that's more the exception than the rule). This article demonstrates some pretty nifty stuff which TS can do.
But, having said that, of course nobody forces you to use the really advanced TS features, and I understand that if you use TS in a less complicated way it can have benefits too. As I said I used TS on one project and I did like it.
Wow, well... You'd wipe the floor with me in Java expertise then. I guess I'll throw that theory out the window.
I guess I'm probably too up close to it TypeScript to make an objective judgement, really.
That's really interesting to hear, though - like, I'm comfortable with the type system in Java, but I've been slowly doing more Java projects at work lately, and trying to come to grips with the ecosystem has been totally overwhelming. I feel like I've scratched the surface of a handful of icebergs in a sea full of them. Even just getting a rudimentary level of skill with Maven has been a months-long process.
Yes the Java ecosystem is big, I guess it's because Java has been around for a while ... are you using Spring? There used to be a war between Java EE and Spring, but the war has all but ended in Spring's favor ... but just Spring as a framework already has a huge ecosystem around it.
And don't get me started about Maven, that's such a beast, I also grappled with that for a long time - back then I even bought a book about it, 200 plus pages thick, ONLY about Maven, can you imagine it?
Later on I started using other programming languages and their build tools/package managers, for instance npm in the JS/node.js world, and I was baffled - HOW CAN THIS BE SO SIMPLE WHILE MAVEN IS SO RIDICULOUSLY COMPLEX?
It often seems that in the Java world people love to make everything as complicated as possible :-)
Something else in the Java world that always seemed ridiculously complicated was Eclipse, are you using that as your IDE? and then the integration between Eclipse and Maven which NEVER seemed to work, and always required voodoo and magical incantations like "perform 'clean projects' exactly 3 times and then click 'update Maven'", something like that (it has got a lot better though with recent Eclipse versions).
But, I think it doesn't have to be that way - Java CAN be elegant and simple, if you can toss out all the baggage ("containers" like Tomcat and so on being one of them) - the language itself was what I always liked, it's just the tooling and the concepts around it (WAR, EAR and so on) that seem overly complicated.
Spring was definitely a step in the right direction when it was introduced - it felt so much more flexible and lightweight than all of the sluggish "Java EE" stuff ... but Spring itself has become more and more complex over time.
Oh and I just came across this dev.to article and was surprised to see how fast Java is evolving now, compared to the old days when there were 2 or 3 years between one release and the next:
So, we're already at Java 14 (!) and look at all that nifty syntax ("var", "record" and so on) ... Java is definitely still alive and kicking!
Wow. So it's kind of always been like this, then?
Yeah, we're using Spring. It's neat, though also really huge. We use OSGi as well, for some reason. I haven't really grappled with it yet, but the looks of dread in peoples' eyes when they talk about it certainly isn't encouraging!
On the plus side, at least we can use intellij. I don't think I'd ever voluntarily go back to Eclipse.
I'm not surprised you picked up a Maven-only book - I picked up a similarly-sized Coursera course a couple of weeks ago!
I think you're probably right about Java as a whole, though! The core language is really pretty nice, and the JVM (from what I've heard/read) is kind of a marvel. I guess the ecosystem is really just built for enterprise needs or something.
OSGi ouch, that's also a beast ... never used it, but what I heard about it didn't make me eager to use it. Eclipse is built on OSGi.
But why don't you try the new Java module system (Jigsaw) instead of OSGi? The lead dev at my Java client uses it and apparently with reasonable success. I think it's much simpler and easier to use than OSGi.
As I said, I think Java can be a joy to use, the more "legacy" and enterprise baggage you can shed and the more 'lightweight' and modern you can make it the better.
For instance, get rid of classical "containers" or application servers and just run your application as a standalone "app" with the webserver embedded, that removes a ton of annoyance. Spring Boot simplifies a lot of things in that regard.
And if you can use the newest Java versions with their goodies (closures and map/filter/reduce and all that), that also makes a big difference.
That's a good question. I guess we're probably still using OSGi because we don't have the resources to justify the lift (competitive, rapidly changing market; big code base, etc.).
Jigsaw looks really nice, though. I've always wondered why it was preferable to make missing dependencies a runtime exception rather than fail on compilation.
I guess because Java doesn't have a static linker? With C++ everything is statically linked at build time, not so with Java, linking/loading is dynamic.
Right... I suppose back when Java was in its inception, long-running, stateful servers, were the only game in town, hey?
I don't know exactly where I got this, but I sort of feel like so much of the promise of the JVM was in its ability to load new code at runtime. I'm not sure if that's true, but I think I can understand the appeal - particularly for embedded devices and the like. I don't know, does that sound sort of accurate?
By the way, I wanted to say thanks for the chat over the last few days! It's been really cool to hear your perspective on things.
You're welcome, absolutely interesting to talk about Java!
I'm amazed to see how much innovation there's still going on in the Java space, all the time they're inventing new GC's (garbage collectors), VM's and so on. Recently I heard about "GraalVM" which is apparently a big deal, and just now I came across this:
Never heard about it but it looks powerful, a "cloud native" Kubernetes-ready non-blocking reactive GraalVM based super Java which supposedly blows all the others out of the water. Amazing, goes to show how far you can take Java and especially the Java VM architecture.
I don't know about those long-running servers, but I do think that "dynamic linking" is an intrinsic part of the Java VM architecture. Just look at class loaders, that's a huge (and hugely confusing) topic in Java land, together with garbage collectors, and I guess it wouldn't work with static linking.
On the other hand (I am not completely sure about this but it seems so) I think that Android apps (which can also be built with Java) do use static linking. But, Java apps on Android aren't compiled to Java JVM bytecodes and don't run under the JVM, it's all handled by the 'Dalvik' VM so it's a totally different architecture, only the syntax (Java) looks the same but under he hood it's something else.
I've heard of GraalVM! It sounds really promising. Quarkus sounds pretty cool, too - 0.008s to launch a Java app is pretty damned good, even if it's just Hello World.
Also, wow - I never realized Android used a totally different VM. That's really cool.
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