I often wonder what proportion of Java developers make an effort to keep up with the latest developments and trends in the Java world. After all, things have been changing pretty quickly, and what was yesterdays accepted standard is todays antipattern.
There was a post on The Serverside this morning by a contributer who claimed he had found a ‘fundamental flaw in Java compared to .NET’, and then subsequently was flamed to within an inch of his life by the masses who were all too willing to let him know he was living under a rock.
His claim was that J2EE APIs are only available to Java applications running in a J2EE container. While this might have been true 5 years ago, it is definitely not true today. There are plenty of implementations of all the J2EE APIs that can be used out of container – his main example was JTA, the Java Transaction API. JOTM, Java Open Transaction Manager is a JTA implementation that is standalone and can be used by applications running outside an app server. Also, the major trend setter in this area right now is of course the Spring Framework – Rod Johnson and Co and done an awesome job convincing the Java community that there is an easier way to develop J2EE applications, avoiding the complexities and drawbacks of the J2EE approach but still retain usage of all the benefits.
With JBoss ploughing ahead with their implementation of the EJB3.0 spec, they even have (I believe) a version of their implementation that can be used outside of the JBoss App Server.
The point to my rambling is that it is all too easy to get trapped in a rut, and to become so focused on your current tasks that you become blind to what is going on outside of what you are doing. Spend some time each day to read some websites that are related to the area in which you work, and occaisionally some that are unrelated to the technologies in which you work to get a broader picture. It’s a dangerous trap to fall into to become oblivious to what is going on around you, and yet doesn’t take much effort to keep in touch with what is new and what is happening elsewhere.