Ashton Kemerling

AK

Java Doesn’t Deserve Half the Shit We Give It

It’s very popular among programmers to diss Java on Reddit and Hacker News. But Java really isn’t that bad of a language, and I really think there are other reasons why people hate it.

While we like to pretend that programming language choice is purely about practicality, there is a very large social aspect to it. Nobody wants to admit to liking Cobol or VBA, and being at the forefront of a new, exciting language can bring a type of prestige in programming circles. Thus to some degree, our choice of programming language reflects on how we wish to see ourselves. Haskell programmers think of themselves as highly skilled mathematicians, python users think of themselves as massively productive, etc.

Personally, I think the easiest way to sum up the design decisions behind Java is thusly: You have a large number of average programmers, how can you get them to design large and complicated systems reliably. This is not the most exciting idea in the world, but it’s thoroughly realistic. Your average programmer is, well, average. While this may be reason enough to not bother with Java in your hobby projects, I don’t really see this as a reason to heap scorn upon it. It may not be exciting, but Java really isn’t that bad.

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