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Xtend

November 6, 2011

The desire to move beyond Java seems to be growing.  Although Java certainly isn’t going anywhere soon I think Java (the language) has peaked.  The pace of change in the language has been glacially slow over the years and although Oracle are trying to push for a faster release cycle it seems that the pace of change is still too slow.

The vacuum created by this slow rate of change seems to have spawned a glut of new languages.  The newest of these is the Xtend language from Eclipse.  This seems to fill much the same space as Kotlin from Jetbrains.  Both languages seemed to be aimed at reducing the boilerplate of Java without being as complex as Scala.

I can’t help but think this is a niche that Groovy++ seems to be aiming for as well.  There are others too  – Mirah for example.

I think it is kind of sad to see so much fragmentation. Choice is great, but when you start seeing so many nearly identical languages being pushed, it makes you wonder why these guys can’t cooperate on a single effort.

Part of the problem, I think, is that everyone has their own take on what makes the perfect language.  People have their own pet language features and don’t want to give up control.  The result is that everyone loses.  Getting mind share for a new language is hard enough.  When there are dozens competing, it gets that much harder.

Personally I think rather than looking for a language that is Java with nicer syntax we should perhaps be looking beyond a Java.  To something a bit more radical.  I can definitely see the appeal of more incremental changes but  better languages have existed for literally decades and yet remain relatively obscure.  It is time to get a bit more radical and move beyond our comfort zones.

 

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From → Java

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